Beading Dreams

Sophomore Emma Siegel builds her jewelry business Emma Louise Jewelry.

Sophomore and entrepre­neur Emma Siegel sits in a school classroom dur­ing Y period, stringing a pendant and beads onto one of her necklaces.

As she constructs her neck­lace, she is puzzled by two often conflicting desires: to express herself through her jewelry and to please her customers.

Siegel’s business is called Emma Louise Jew­elry. “Well,Emma Louise or Emma Louise Jewelry, I haven’t really decided but just because my [Ins­tagram and Etsy] names are Emma Louise Jewelry, I think it’s going to be Emma Louise Jewelry,” Siegel said.

As an entrepre­neur, Siegel makes and sells a variety of handmade neck­laces, ranging from chokers to pendant necklaces.

Emma Louise Jewelry be­gan with one prototype in Au­gust 2014 that consisted of a leather necklace with a pearl in the middle, tied by a clasp in the back with another pearl. Now, Siegel’s business has sold approximately 60 necklaces.

Recently, Siegel created an Instagram and Etsy shop for Emma Louise Jewelry to gener­ate more publicity and allow customers to easily see and purchase her jewelry designs.

“I think that its really got­ten more people to know about my business. The way that social media works is that one person sees it; they will share it or like it; another person sees it — kind of a domino effect.”

Tom Barry, Ph.D., a business professor in the marketing de­partment at Southern Method­ist University, finds that Siegel has made a good decision about using Instagram and Etsy. “She is reaching the right people, she has a good message,” Barry said. “Advertising is successful when that advertising reaches the right people (through media) with the right message (creative) and af­fects a positive at­titude (high per­ceived value) at the right price.”

Besides using social media, Siegel has found other methods of publi­cizing and selling her products.

Emma Lou­ise Jewelry held a trunk show on Jan. 17 along with GCE Jewelry, a business founded by three Hockaday students, juniors Grace Warner, Caroline Slaton and Emily Routman. Ten per­cent of the proceeds were do­nated to Promise House.

“I think it was very success­ful,” Siegel said. “I think, in the future, we need to make the time frame a little bit shorter, and I need more products because I sold out. Now, I’ve learned a lot of good tips and tricks that I can use for the future.”

Siegel realized that holding the trunk show supported her goal of expanding her range of customers to outside the Hock­aday community.

“We did have a good amount of people from oth­er schools come to the trunk show,” Siegel said. “But I can get more customers from different schools and different areas.”

In order to determine her own prices, Siegel researches the prices offered by jewelry stores and sells her necklaces at a cheaper price than the prices offered by those stores.

Siegel’s pearl necklaces, which are made from real freshwater pearls, range from $10 to $15. Longer necklaces range from $20 to $50. Stores in the Dallas area sell similar necklaces for $75 to $100.

Siegel said she has “always really loved fashion.” She cred­its her cousin, a gemologist, for inspiring her to start beading.

Back in August 2014, after sending a group text message advertising her prototype to her friends, Siegel found that some of her friends wanted her jewelry. She began to make dif­ferent types of jewelry such as long necklaces with gem stones and wooden beaded necklaces.

Her business grew from there.

Sophomore Taylor Tou­douze, who was the first to buy Siegel’s pearl necklace, had positive feedback on Siegel’s products, citing her ability to customize her jewelry and her cheap prices.

“Emma’s jewelry can be made exactly the way I want it, unlike in stores how you have to choose from what they have there, and you don’t always end up with exactly what you want. Everything she makes can be cus­tomized to your exact needs and tastes,” Toudouze said. “Besides that, her prices are unbeatable.”

Toudouze not only enjoys Siegel’s products but also their client-customer relationship.

“She is always willing to of­fer fashion advice on what to wear along with her amazing jewelry,” Toudouze said.

Siegel has faced challenges while building her business, one of which is managing her time between her business and schoolwork.

“It’s honestly gotten a little bit challenging, just because I have to actually make the products, and then I have to put them up on Etsy, and I have to price them. I made an Excel spreadsheet with my inventory and my invoices, so it’s just a lot of work.” However, Siegel said that she is willing to take on the workload, claiming that she has been using her Y periods and free periods more wisely.

In the process of building her business, Siegel has had much help. While her mother has helped more with the creative as­pects of her business, her 17-year-old sister, Sarah, has helped her with the logistics. She also credits her friend, Toudouze, for helping with the monetary management of the business.

And her Hockaday connec­tion has helped her as well. Sie­gel looked for guidance from a book written by entrepreneur Maddie Bradshaw ‘14, titled Maddie Bradshaw’s You Can Start a Business, Too!

The book is a how-to guide for inspiring young entrepre­neurs to take an initiative to start their own business. Brad­shaw, with her mother and sis­ter, created a company called M3 Girl Designs that sells Snap Caps, “the original interchange­able bottle cap necklace.” M3 Girl Designs has annual reve­nues of approximately $1.6 mil­lion, selling more than 60,000 necklaces per month in more than 6,000 U.S. retail outlets.

Siegel said, “After reading her book, I felt like I had some­thing and, in a sense, someone that could constantly give me advice and tips on how to im­prove my business in a man­ageable and organized way.”

– Catherine Jiang, Sports Editor