The past year has been a very trying time. We are still in a pandemic, college has gone online and it seems like things are never going to get back to normal. However, student entrepreneur, Jackie Wynman, saw these times as an opportunity and decided to launch her own business, Everlene Jewelry.
Meet Jackie Wynman, a sophomore at Kent State majoring in fashion design with a minor in business and jewelry designer/owner of Everlene Jewelry. A Mag sat down with Wynman and spoke with her about being a student entrepreneur, designing her own products and launching a brand.
Q: So tell us about Everlene! What inspired you to start your own jewelry business?
A: I love telling this story because it’s just so funny and happened from such a funky situation. I was actually quarantined and back at home and looking at all this jewelry. I’ve always wanted to be a small business owner, ever since about junior year of high school, but I never really took that risk until now. I remember just being in my room and thinking, “I’m just going to start it. Might as well just do it.” So I literally just bought the supplies I needed and was like, “I’m just going to do it.” And it’s been a cool experience to learn about things I didn’t even think about because at the time I really didn’t understand at first, such as learning the business side of things — which is a pretty nice skill to have now. And it was fun to be able to come up with it. I was unsure of how it was going to go and it took a while to prepare. But it’s been fun so far.
Photo Credit: Jackie Wynman
Q: You mentioned it took a while to prepare, so when would you say you knew you were ready to do your first launch?
A: I remember that I made an Instagram for my business and I knew I needed to figure out a date for my first launch, figure out when to do my promo shoots and also figure out how much time I would need to make each product. Earrings were one of the easier ones to make so it didn’t take me that long, but figuring out pricing, photos and even building the website just took forever, so I couldn’t really launch yet. My next launches, I think, are going to be a lot easier because the website and social media is already created so it’s not as much. But starting out it took a lot more details I had to think about because I took a while creating my website and also promoting it because, you know, promoting it and getting word out there [is] harder than it may seem. I also had to figure out pricing and wanted to make it as affordable as possible. I’m a college student, so I wanted my jewelry to be stylish, but affordable at the same time.
Q: How would you describe your brand?
A: I would say affordable but stylish, and very fine jewelry. I always try to make jewelry with sterling silver, antique silver — all the good metals. Personally, I have very sensitive skin, so I can’t wear certain things. So I wanted to make it using as many hypoallergenic materials as I could. So for my brand I would say affordable, stylish and the use of hypoallergenic materials and just good quality jewelry.
Photo Credit: Jackie Wynman
Q: How did you find a way to translate your personal brand into a professional brand?
A: For me, I’m more minimalistic and very modern. At first I was getting into all the fonts I was seeing for my website and the different colors and it was fun for a while, but then it got to a point where I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to portray my professional brand. I decided to rebrand my entire website and just really create something new. That was maybe a couple weeks to a month ago where I redid my whole website so it’s now a lot more modern and minimalistic. I absolutely love how my website is now and wanted to make it as professional as I could as well as putting my own minimalistic and modern taste into it.
Q: How has social media played a part in advertising and promoting your business?
A: Yeah, it’s honestly a lot harder than you would think with promoting your business on social media. On Instagram especially it’s a bit hard because you need to have a certain amount of followers to really promote it. So what I do is promote my business on my personal account because I have a lot more followers there than my business one. I definitely still post on my business account because I have promotion pictures that I don’t want to really post on my personal. I also use TikTok as well to promote. TikTok is more of a one hit wonder, since you can basically get a viral video within the span of a day. I’ve been posting literally everyday on TikTok and I still haven’t gotten [a] video with a ton of views yet, but I noticed you can get a lot of views when you do videos where you do stupid or silly things. So I’m trying to always think of stupid ways where I can promote it but still be informative about it.
Photo Credit: Jackie Wynman
Q: What’s been your favorite part about being an entrepreneur and having your own business?
A: It’s definitely been being my own boss. I’ve worked the day jobs as a retail associate or a hostess and a lot of it is on the bosses where they tell me to come in and things like that. And that’s totally fine, I mean, I still want that experience working in places like retail especially since I’m a fashion major. But what’s been nice about being your own boss is you get to create your own hours and you have a lot more freedom to do a lot of things and get your own supplies and things like that. I have ideas every single day and I don’t have to go through someone else to be able to get them confirmed. I can just say ‘yes’ to myself which is nice. It’s also really exhilarating seeing my brand grow. It’s fun to see how my brand can grow up in a way from the little stylish brand to a little more classy and modern looking jewelry. I have also started to really invest in custom packaging since packaging is a super important part of business as well.
Q: You mentioned that you’ve enjoyed seeing your brand grow. In what ways have you seen your brand grow from your first launch to where you are now?
A: It’s been nice seeing the way it grows definitely, but also seeing how many people love my jewelry as well, it honestly just makes my day. When they comment on my jewelry and take photos, it’s important to me to always make the customer happy. I’m also a lowkey perfectionist so I always need to have everything perfect and it’s really important to me to make everyone happy. It’s not all about the money for me, it’s about the experience.
Q: Being a fashion design student, it’s no secret that the major can be pretty time consuming. How have you managed to balance being an entrepreneur while also being a student?
A: Honestly, I’m glad that I started my business now and during this time. With all the online classes and things, I have more time to be here and focus. I just got back [to campus] recently, so I don’t quite know how it’s going to be with running my business while also working on my classes on campus yet. But back at home it was a lot easier since I had a lot more space compared to the dorms. So I’m interested to see how it goes here. However, when I was back at home, it was a lot more difficult compared to when we didn’t have school because it does take a lot more time out of my day. I mean we are kind of in the beginning of the semester so work will eventually get either harder or easier, so I’m ready to see how I will be able to juggle everything because I want to be in school, but I want to run my business as well.
Q: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned since starting your own business?
A: I would definitely say patience. I’m a very impatient person and you definitely have to be patient and wait for those right sales. It’s not going to happen overnight, or in a couple weeks or even in a couple months. So it’s a lot more just sitting down and being patient and when people order to nicely wrap them up and ship them out. Another thing I learned is the business side of things. I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t know anything about the business side until I started my company. I learned the math I needed, I learned a lot about the marketing and ads and I’ve been talking to a lot of people in marketing or influencers on how they’ve gotten their brand out. So I’ve learned a lot from other people and my parents as well. A lot of this was a learning experience because I’ve never done this before and I learned a lot with making the jewelry — I had to pay attention to the different metals and look up tutorials when I wanted to make something specific, too. It’s a lot busier than you would think.
Q: Where would you like to see your business five years from now?
A: I’m hoping that there will be a lot more customers than where it is now. As much as I would like for it to be extremely successful within months, that’s not very realistic. It could happen but it could not, you never know. But in the next five years I’m hoping it will be a lot more successful. I’m definitely going to keep pursuing this and I’m not just going to only do jewelry — I want to do phone cases, sweatshirts and other things.
Photo Credit: Jackie Wynman
Q: Do you have any advice for any aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: Pursue it, but know that it’s a lot harder than it looks. If you are willing to take up the challenge and willing to put in the time and heart into your business, then you should definitely do it. It’s a lot of fun to be your own boss and promote your product. So you should definitely go for it, just be aware that there are challenges that you will face.
You can shop Everlene Jewelry products on the website, where Jackie’s newest launch is now available. Jackie also offers free self-pickup to any Kent State students.