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Conversations With Dalia: An FSU Small Business Owner

Today I had the privilege of talking to Dalia Handoush, a student at Florida State University (FSU), a member of the Phi Mu sorority and a small jewelry business owner. Dalia is independent and has a passion for helping others; she is very outgoing and tries to be there for her friends in more ways than she can think. She stays away from negativity and tries to be that positive person for others and remembers to be that for herself. She is one of the sweetest girls I have met, a light in a world that needs her. Thank you for being who you are, Dalia. 

Her Campus (HC): When did you start your small business? What inspired you to get started? 

Dalia Handoush (DH): I started my jewelry company in 2017 when I was still in middle school. A friend inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and do something I thought would be a fun hobby. I went to Joanns and got beads to make some bracelets. It became a routine of mine to go there once a week and make something new and fun every night; it was the perfect way to end my nights. Wearing everything that I made gave me so much joy, especially telling people I did it, I felt proud of myself for it and accomplished. I was inspired to do this and keep doing it because of the encouragement from my friends and also the happiness that came from others when I saw my friends wearing the jewelry I gifted them. I wanted to make jewelry that was good quality and cheap for kids to buy, especially at the age I was, where I could buy everything I wanted. Most importantly, seeing people wearing my jewelry and the happiness it gave me was the best feeling. 

HC: What was it like starting your business? Which marketing strategy worked best for you?

DH: In all honestly, starting my business was stressful. I constantly thought about what others would think of me and if they would judge me. But it was also something fun and exciting. It got me out of my comfort zone and became something of an escape. If I was feeling sad, anxious, or bored, I would just make jewelry and put on some TV and I was in my own world. It eventually became something I could be proud of myself for that I did all on my own. It taught me so much and made me who I am today. I learned how to market on social media and how to handle my money. It made me from a shy, closed-off girl into someone who is outgoing, bubbly and tells you all of her business. It made me connect to people more than I used to. I made connections with people I will remember forever. Connecting with people is the product. 

HC: Do you find it challenging managing both school and your small business? How do you cope with that? 

DH: It is honestly challenging to manage this with school. Coming into freshman year, I was so overwhelmed with the new surroundings that I took a break from the business. It was only this year that I found the connection to my business again and it was my friends and all the girls in my sorority who encouraged me to reconnect to that part of myself. When I had my first table opening at Phi Mu, I was so anxious. Making everything in a short amount of time while trying to handle school was overwhelming and those feelings I had of people judging me came back. I had to remember that this is a part of me that I am proud of to make those feelings subside. 

HC: What has been your favorite thing about owning a small business so far? What has been the most challenging?  

DH: My favorite thing about owning my business is when I get to walk around campus or my hometown and see someone wearing jewelry I made. It seems insignificant, but it brings the biggest smile to my face. To me, jewelry, like clothing, can describe someone in so many different ways, and I love that I can help someone find something they enjoy that shows who they are. Small businesses to me are the heart of all businesses because everything that I make or that an owner of a small company makes is full of so much love and care. The most challenging aspect would have to be the stress that comes along with it. I am a planner and an organizer so when something doesn’t go the way I planned, I get very anxious. Not everything goes your way with a company like this.  

HC: What’s your favorite piece of jewelry you’ve made so far?

DH: My favorite piece of jewelry so far would have to be the most recent one I just made, the “All Me” necklace. It is a half pearl half gold chain necklace with a letter in the middle. This is my favorite because it’s popular, so it makes me happy to see these everywhere and know it’s something people bought from me that they are enjoying. I feel like it’s such a statement piece but also shows me and the love I have for myself.

You can find the “All Me” necklace on Dalia’s Etsy page.

HC: What’s your best piece of advice for someone who wants to start their own small business? 

DH: My piece of advice for someone starting and owning a small business is to be proud. Do not be scared, and most importantly have so much fun. If you love what you’re doing and you love doing it every day, then that’s all that matters. Be proud of what you’re doing because no matter whether you get to see someone’s face when they buy the product from you, it is impacting that person in more ways you can imagine and that feeling you give others is something to be proud of.

I had so much fun interviewing Dalia. I even feel more inspired to also go out into the world and create! She is such an inspiration and absolutely kills it as a young business owner. You can continue to support her here!

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Hey! I’m Dulce and I’m an English Creative Writing major at FSU while also pursuing a double minor in Political Science and Ethics :) I love reading, writing, listening to music, and creating art. In my free time I love to write fictional short stories. My favorite artist is Taylor Swift. You can keep up with me on my Instagram @d._.ordonez
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