“I started making jewelry the August before my junior year. My mom used to make jewelry, so she had a bunch of old stuff. She used to make charm bracelets and whatnot, which is nothing like the stuff I make today. She had all these pliers and random beads stored away, so one day I was just bored during the summer and went through her stuff.
I made a couple of chokers because that [was] when chokers were becoming trendy. I made a few and a couple of my friends loved them and were buying my extra ones off of me, and they told me I should make an Instagram for them, so I did. Nothing really happened at first. I was following people from nearby and my friends from school off of the account, but it didn’t really gain any momentum. But then I tweeted about it and I got a bunch of orders in immediately, and that’s where [my jewelry-making business] all started.
My parents think it’s really cool I’m doing this. They weren’t doubtful about the idea to start a business, and at first they thought it was just a hobby and something to do for fun, but now they are impressed with me because I’ve gotten really big and now ship nationally. They are proud of me.
It’s hard to balance school and my jewelry; sometimes I don’t even sleep. Especially during finals, because it was right before Christmas, and my Etsy was getting four orders a day and at the same time I had to study for my tests and write papers. What I would do was just not procrastinate at all, and I set aside time for jewelry and homework. I really had to learn to prioritize my time, but I always put my grades first and never let them slip. It’s my parent’s one [expectation] with the business: if they see my grades slipping, they tell me I need to cut it down with the jewelry, so I make sure to keep it all under control and not to get too stressed about it.
I’m majoring in business at Michigan State next year, and I’m not saying I want to expand my business, but I definitely hope I learn a lot about the aspects of selling, consuming and producing [to add to] what I already know. Majoring in that might help me keep the business going on the side. I never want the business to die—I love my jewelry business. I definitely want to learn stuff to get it bigger, because that is the dream, to have it be my job, but I’m not saying it’s what I’m putting all of my hope in, because it seems a bit far fetched. Jewelry is something I love to make, and I’m sure I’ll always love to create it, but it’s okay if I move on to other things in my future that I can pursue as a job.”