Student Small Businesses: Jenny Tran

Jenny Tran (12) (Photo provided by Jenny Tran)

“It started with TikTok, actually, since it was the beginning of quarantine and there was nothing to do and we were home all day, I was just looking through TikTok and there were a bunch of small businesses there that were promoting their jewelry and cosmetics. I saw a few videos on these name necklaces made of wire, and there were anime earrings, and, I don’t know, I thought they were so pretty and cute and that’s where it stemmed from. Over the months it kept showing up on my For You page, so, yeah, I was like, “Oh my gosh, maybe I should just try it out”, right? So I went out and bought stuff and made it for myself, and my friends saw it and said, “wow, those are so pretty”, so they asked me to make it for them and then they said, ‘you should start your own business with them because they’re really pretty and I think you could do something with it.’

It’s because the designs are something I think I would wear, so it’s something I think would look good as a design or come up with. I also do custom earrings and necklaces. So from the anime ones I saw, I thought maybe I could do other characters like items in anime. I don’t have a lot of people who know anime or are into it, so I thought I could attract a different audience of anime watchers to my jewelry account because other places sell normal, simple jewelry designs that are still really cute, but I think anime ones are something you usually wouldn’t see in the jewelry business.

Since this wire jewelry business is all over the internet, being around for a while now, before I bought the stuff I had to do a lot of digging. I was still unsure at the time because I thought it’d be difficult. if you want to make jewelry you’ve got to make sure it looks good and people actually want it. So I searched up a bunch of YouTube videos on wire jewelry, how to wire letters, how to put together necklaces and bracelets, how to do certain designs, how to make rings, and materials needed. Usually the videos will have what materials you need, so I searched through a bunch to see which ones I really needed because the tools and equipment (pliers) used to make the jewelry are costly. So I just searched the web for a week and looked at the materials I needed to buy, then went out to buy them.

I’ve never done anything like this, so I had to kind of go with it. I didn’t know how the shop was going to do so I was really scared when I was starting out because I thought “what if no one wants to buy it and I just wasted a lot of money buying the materials, and just a few pieces of jewelry that were sold wouldn’t be enough”. I also thought again about just enjoying what I do and making it for family and friends in the end if it doesn’t work out either.

I think it’s really unique, and since I’m adjusting what I do to what the customer wants, I can make sure the customer is truly satisfied. And rather than doing the same thing every time, I get to work  with new designs and I can test out new ways to shape this or do that along the way of making custom orders, because it’s something that I haven’t done before.

Since most of my customers are custom orders, I think that’s what the store is really depending on right now. And although school takes up a lot of my time right now, I still put aside time to make jewelry every weekend because it’s a fun hobby and I really enjoy doing it. So sometimes if I don’t have any orders, I just make random jewelry and experiment with new designs.

I think it would be making custom jewelry orders for people. After I make the custom jewelry I always ask, “is this okay”, “do you want to change anything”, and then they always say “no, I love it!” Even though I think I can do better or I think something may be wrong, I ask them just in case. But when they always say “It’s perfect”, I realize I might have been too hard on myself. Seeing people like what I create makes me extremely happy and after I send it out or they pick it up they always text me after or make a post about it and it makes me so glad to see people liking what I make and wearing it daily.

The one thing I did change was the background for my pictures, because when I made stuff I’d just take a picture of it and post it, but my sister sent me something a week or two after I started my business and it was a TikTok on how to take product photos. I just changed it; I took everything that I had and retook all the pictures and posted it. I thought my shop looked really messy, so this really helped it out. I feel like, since I was really nervous when starting my business, if you are considering doing something like this, just do it. You can never know where it takes you unless you make the move and give it a shot. If you really enjoy what you do and you want to give what you make out to people, I think it’ll go well and you should just go for it.”