This Drexel Grad Makes Henna-Inspired Products, and We’re Obsessed

Drexel alum Leia Johnson has always dreamed of being her own boss. With her creativity and innovation, and a little help from Etsy and pop-ups like the Drexel D&M Shop, she’s been able to turn this dream into a reality post-graduation.

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Leia has been using her artistic skills to make henna her whole life. Eventually, she realized that she could use her talents to hand-paint everyday products with henna-inspired designs. And with Leia’s skilled touch, they were sure to be a success! Just look at her Etsy to see how gorgeous the organic, curvilinear designs translate into candles, ornaments, and even phone cases.

Image Courtesy of Etsy

Leia’s shop, PaintWithPurposeUS, started from humble beginnings: “It started as me doing manicures in my dorm at Drexel (hence ‘paint’) and evolved into doing henna.” But since then, it’s turned into more than a hundred sales just through her Etsy platform alone.

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Leia has some advice for potential entrepreneurs: “Never give up. I am still building my business, and believe me, it’s HARD SOMETIMES. I find myself sketching a lot, staying up late working and creating, and stressing on occasion, but in the end it really is worth it. Just keep going, everything worth having is worth working for.”

Image Courtesy of Etsy

Despite a killer design concept, and a clear passion for the craft, Leia’s journey has not always been easy. “Unfortunately, I have been denied from quite a few craft shows. I was told that my products are ‘too ethnic’ or that they are not what the event directors were looking for.”

Image Courtesy of Etsy

Lucky for us, Leia’s beautiful products were exactly what the D&M Shop at Drexel was looking for, so we’ll still be able to snag some of her ornaments and gifts for the holidays (and you should, too!) As Drexel students, it will make you feel good to be able to support another dragon trying to achieve their dreams. Be sure to check out Leia’s work in person at the URBN Center on December 5th from 2-5PM--we sure will.