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Miss DIY: Allyson Franco of Wai’olu Jewelry

“Wai’olu,” is the Hawaiian word for “relaxed, calm, or pleasant.” That is exactly what junior Allyson Franco named her jewelry business: Wai’olu Jewelry. Similar to musicians learning music by ear, Allyson learned to create jewelry by eye.

Inspired from seeing different designs, Allyson started making jewelry back in 2011. “I usually study the patterns and try to recreate it,” she says. Not only is it cheaper, she can create as much as she wants in any way that she wants. “I wanted to make my own so that I could put in my own style into it.”

She makes all types of jewelry: earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets. She uses silver plated, gold plated, and gold-filled wire and sometimes adds different types of shells, beads, or sea glass. Creating them ranges from 10 minutes to 2 hours. The majority of jewelry is solely made by Allyson and   this past October, she had the chance to sell her merchandise at Ka Leo’s annual Art Festival.

This past Art Festival took place on Oct. 24, 2013. Dozens of people were able to set up a booth along McCarthy Mall to showcase their creative and artistic talents. Allyson was thankful to be one of them. “I’m glad I was a part of it,” she says. Although a great experience, Allyson says she wasn’t prepared for the demand. “A lot of people were buying things I was making on the spot, so basically I was making something the entire time.” The personalized jewelry took the longest time to create, but Allyson thought it was totally worth it. By the end of the night, she sold about 100 pairs of earrings, 20 rings, 50 bracelets, and 3 necklaces.  

Currently, she is looking for more places to sell her pieces. She sells her jewelry online and during the summer she will be at craft fairs in Waikiki and even local farmer’s markets. Customers are able to design their own jewelry. They design and Allyson creates. Customers even have the option to personalize their jewelry with names. Prices range from about $5 to $30.

Allyson also puts together customized glass mason jars, reusable bags, and she’s even starting to sell original paintings. She has a full schedule on her plate. In addition to her artistic endeavors, Allyson juggles being a Hawaiian Studies major with a double minor in Hawaiian Language and Sociology. She’s also involved with a few organizations on campus, does community services, and balances everything with two jobs. “The more things I’m involved with, the more I can multi-task. I know I’m doing things that are good for my future. I don’t know how I manage it, but I have no regrets.”

Allyson plans on going into a career that helps people, especially native Hawaiians. Whether it’s in law, social work, counseling or teaching, she hopes to be a helping hand in society because she knows how importance it is to have support in life. As far as advice she could give to students with businesses, Allyson says to “know the art of creating something you love, and make sure it’s important to share with others.”

If you would like to purchase from Wai’olu Jewelry, the best way to contact Allyson is through her business’ email at: waiolujewelry@gmail. Check her out on Facebook and Instagram under the name: waiolujewelry. 

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