By Isabella Luna
Two years ago, a University of Georgia senior only made jewelry for herself and friends.
Jessica Hollins, the founder and owner of Jewels by Jessica, turned her hobby into a business, and is now making about $15,000 a year.
“I’ve always had a creative side to me. My sister and I used to make jewelry when I was in high school… not selling it just making it for ourselves,” Hollins said.
When she went to college Hollins said her peers were wearing jewelry she really liked, and thought to herself that she could make it.
“I started going to the Hobby Lobby and I would just get beads and wires and chains and make my own stuff. All my friends would want my pieces,” Hollins said. “People would ask me where I got my necklaces … then one night I was like I kind of want to make an Instagram, maybe start selling it.”
Despite not having any business experience, she has completely managed purchasing and cash all on her own.
“With each sale I make sure I put a certain percentage in savings, back into buying more product. I pretty much put in most of the money I get back into the business and then I save a certain amount,” she said.
Hollins manages her business and other aspects of her day-to-day life by being on top of her responsibilities.
“The biggest thing I do is make the pieces ahead of time so that whenever someone orders I don’t have to take time away from doing my schoolwork or everyday life,” said Hollins.
Daniel Mitchell, an entrepreneurship and innovation specialist at Athens-Clarke County Economic Development, facilitates entrepreneurship in the area.
“Students have a unique opportunity to use their campus community as a platform,” he said. “Building a consumer to company loyalty from the very beginning can strengthen the brand.”
Mitchell said that the key to a successful business starts with a good idea.
“It is always important to consider how your product will be perceived in the market, if it has viability and is something innovative,” he said.
For other student entrepreneurs, Hollins thinks that it is important to have a passion for what you’re doing.
“It’s kind of what motivates you, if I didn’t like doing it, I would always put it on the backburner,” she said. “I wouldn’t try to make new pieces. What’s the point of doing it if you don’t like doing it?”
Both Hollins and Mitchell agree that it is important to look ahead when deciding to tackle a business.
“Before starting a business students should develop a business plan and have an idea for the direction they want to go,” said Mitchell.
Hollins said, “before you start pick your vibe, have a vision for your company, try to be consistent in what you’re doing, and try to stay on top of it because if you do start lagging behind then the audience knows.”
Isabella Luna is a journalism student at the University of Georgia. The reporting for this article was completed before the campus closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.