Carissa Wolfovitz Yaffe is a gemologist, designer and stylist who was born and raised right here in Schenectady! She graduated right down the street from Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons High School!

In 2000, Carissa began her studies at GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in NYC, and worked for Northeastern Fine Jewelry in Schenectady.

A while later, Carissa relocated to Manhattan to work for several international fine jewelry brands, and soon after that, she married Haran Wolfovitz Yaffe, her long time crush.  Now the couple has a daughter named Olivia and a new business venture that's about to take the toy industry by storm.

Carissa and her husband, Haran, now have a toy company, Ollies Wooden Blocks, based in Schenectady and Israel.

You see, Haran is from Israel and his father designed toys when he was younger. He and Carissa have been disappointed with the lack of cool, inventive toys on the market today, so they decided to revive Haran's father's vision!

And now, there are Ollies Blocks, named after the couple's daughter. They are the interlocking building blocks designed to inspire creative development through play using eco-friendly material with a nostalgic design. They're already being used by some lucky students in Schenectady!

Haran and Carissa are currently raising money to open a factory and officially launch Ollies Blocks. They hope to raise $100,000 through Kickstarter to make Ollies Blocks available to kids worldwide!  Everyone here at 'GNA wishes them the best of luck!

Click here to find out more about Ollies Blocks!

Click here to donate to the Kickstarter campaign (they are almost there).

Photo: Ollies Blocks