Small Business, Small School, Big Heart

Being an entrepreneur is a full-time, demanding job, but in college you have the extra pressure of balancing school and work. It is often very difficult to find that balance without burning out. However, with the support of friends and a small school it is a little bit easier.

Before coming to college I was used to running my jewelry business, Homegrown Jewelry, practically by myself, with help from my family when needed. The town I lived in gave me a lot of support and opportunities which pushed me to work even harder, adding more and more work (and pressure) to my schedule. I absolutely loved it though. Running a business is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world in my opinion. When I got to college I had an all new respect for the amount of time and effort I had been putting into my business. Suddenly, I was trying to balance running a business with a full course load of challenging classes.

After telling my friends about my business they showed me an overwhelming amount of support. Suddenly, they were convincing me to have a show at St. Mike’s and spreading the word of Homegrown Jewelry to the whole school. During my first show they offered to help me with anything I needed. I told them that I thought I would be fine considering I was used to running shows by myself. However, the show was way busier than I expected. As I was trying to keep up with customers and answer questions, I looked up to see all of my friends helping me. They were counting money, writing down sales, answering questions, telling prices, and encouraging everyone to buy jewelry (sometimes with aggressive sales techniques). After the show we all sat in a circle and tallied up the sales. It had been my best show to date and they were just as excited as I was. That show was one of the many times my friends have shown their unyielding support for me. I couldn’t have done it without their support.

Throughout the next year they continued to be strong advocates of my brand. Buying jewelry, t-shirts, modeling for social media posts/photoshoots, and supporting me in any way they could. Because of them more and more people at St. Mike’s found out about Homegrown Jewelry. People started following my social media pages and buying more jewelry. My friends have never had a moment of shyness, aggressively plugging my business to anyone that will listen. I was always nervous to tell people about my business, afraid they would judge me or worse, my products. But through my friends, I learned to embrace the phrase “I own a jewelry business.”

This year they helped me plan a show in Alliot. The show was from 12 to 7, a very long, very tiring day. I started to set-up around 11 and immediately two of my friends were by my side, carrying boxes and displays, running around doing errands for me so I could set-up and stay with my table. A sense of relief came over me and I was excited for the show to start. As soon as we were set-up they started telling everybody who walked by to come look at jewelry. Before noon I already had two sales. More friends kept showing up, everyone eager to make sales. In their Homegrown Jewelry t-shirts they were standing behind the table yelling things like, “If you love your mom, you should buy her jewelry for Christmas” and “Get your girlfriend, sister, mom, or grandma jewelry” and my personal favorite, “Your mom texted me, she wants these earrings for Christmas.” For 7 hours they rotated in shifts, enthusiastically doing everything they could to make sales. Not only did my friends help me sell but my professors, classmates, and advisors came out to support me. Even if they didn’t buy jewelry they offered kind words that gave me the confidence I needed to get through the day. With their help, and my friends’ persistent marketing, I had my most successful show ever.

Since the day my friends found out about my business they have done nothing but encourage me. My professors, classmates, and everybody in the SMC community have done so much to push me and help me succeed. There are certain disadvantages to attending a small school; there are no tailgates, your professors know when you skip class because you’re one of 10 students, and you know everyone. However, having a small business has made the benefits of a small school even more evident. You know everyone. The love that my business, and I, have received from the St. Mike’s community is beyond anything I could’ve imagined coming into college. My friends continue to challenge me to do bigger and better things, lifting me up whenever I doubt myself. It may technically be a one woman business but I have the best team in the world behind me and I will always be grateful.