I found What’s Your Passion Jewelry purely by chance one night while looking for S.H.I.E.L.D. props. I knew when I looked over the site (www.comicbookjewelry.com) that I’d found something special, this was no ordinary “comic book jewelry” this was quality stuff! What I DIDN’T know that day was that I had also found a close friend.

You can’t talk about WYPJ without talking about Ari Kathein. We had spoken a bit online

Ari and company at Fanfest Orlando
Ari and company at Fanfest Orlando

and on the phone initially and I knew he was a good guy, it wasn’t until we arranged to meet at FanFest Orlando that I found out exactly who he was. The convention was a Saturday only show and due to an oversite on my part it wasn’t until the week of that I realized it fell on the day after I was already supposed to be in Orlando with family and there was no way I’d be able to make the drive out back to back days in my condition. I reached out to Ari to find out his travel plans and found that he was willing to be there Friday night and would graciously allow us to stay with his family in their suite. Great news!

Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can go sideways and that Friday turned into one of those “if it can go wrong it will” type days. Ari had an early morning set for Saturday at the convention as he was going to meet with the show runners to donate a piece to their fundraiser (this is the kind of guy he is, the con was to benefit pulse Orlando and he not only offered his jewelry for free but paid for passes in as well!) Jump back to my family and I trying to leave the magic kingdom as the last bus drove past us leaving us stranded at 1 am as we tried to keep, a far less annoyed than he should have been, Ari updated on when we would be showing at the room. We finally ended up getting our own room and apologized to him profusely as he assured us it was no big deal. The following day I was laid out from the exertion of the previous day and the late night and we didn’t connect with Ari at the convention (this is primarily because the “convention” turned out to be a single room with not a lot to see or do and not more than maybe an hour to kill. We finally connected back at his room and immediately knew we had found a kindred spirit. Ari was accompanied by his wife and son who immediately hit it off with my wife and daughter as well. The girls ran out to downtown Disney after munching on cookies both of them brought and left us to watch the kids play and allowing Ari to catch up on his Marvel emails. We had a low key night and planned to spend time the following day at the Disney parks with the

Grifter and Sonny... go ahead and say it "awwwwwwwww"
Grifter and Sonny… go ahead and say it “awwwwwwwww”

family, his boothmate Alexander “Grifter” Priddy (if you’ve seen any of Ari’s marvel videos or caught him at a convention that would be Deadpool at his booth), and Grifter’s girlfriend Sonny (a lovely girl who my daughter took to immediately).

Typically people who run “nerd merchandise” companies are businessmen looking to tap a market but to say Ari is a geek is a massive understatement. He was adorned head to toe in marvel gear and had just gotten his Pokemon go plus wristband and would not stop talking about it… his favorite part was that it allowed him to catch Pokemon while simultaneously battling in his Digimon app at breakfast. (seriously, he must have told everyone the plus band was a “game changer” at least 5 times lol, he was excited). We talked comics and movies all day while getting his son a lightsaber (he 14317582_1214833585203320_3252554834166869080_nchose RED initially making Sonny and I very proud, but settled on a green saber to be more like uncle Grifter), I gushed over the shield ring I had gotten from him previously and dropped some subtle hints that I wouldn’t be opposed to a blue arc reactor style ring (it is a thing of beauty) or a Spider-man ring (full disclosure… I would eventually like to own everything he makes. choosing what to get is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do). Ari walked me through some of his future plans and things that may or may not come to fruition one of which is the Marvel Infinity Bracelet (the charms and bracelet will be compatible with other high-end charms currently on the market that rhymes with mandora so if you happen to have a bracelet already or are shopping for someone who does keep an eye on his page as many many beautiful geeky charms are coming soon). He showed me the Captain America charm

left to right: Mickey Mouse, Jaina, Chris, Alex, Ari, Anha
left to right: Mickey Mouse, Jaina, Chris, Alex, Ari, Anha

and rings he made for NYCC and hey were mind blowing. As cool as it was to see his artwork in person, the true joy was getting to meet and spend time with Ari and his family (unfortunately, his sister Avital was unable to make is but I look forward to meeting her soon).

If you are stuck for what to give a Marvel fan in your life or just want high-quality fine jewelry I cannot recommend Ari enough to anyone that’ll listen, he LOVES what he does and it shows through in his work. On top of that, he is truly one of the most decent guys I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in this industry and his customer service skills for buyers is top notch. It is a point of pride for him that people want to wear his jewelry, he’s a humble guy. Head over to his site, have a look and maybe pick something up… he is currently running a 10% discount on all purchases through Christmas with promo code Cyber!

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