North Texas Daily

University art student finds balance through online business

University art student finds balance through online business

University art student finds balance through online business
February 11
10:00 2022

Alexa Pedrero, interdisciplinary studies of art and design senior,  sits in her childhood bedroom, iPad in hand, preparing designs for her latest seasonal creation. A mess of scattered supplies represents her creative spirit as she perfects the final touches on a brightly colored pair of earrings.

What began as a quarantine hobby has now evolved into Alexa’s own thriving Etsy shop: ShopLauraleii.

“I was proud of myself,” Alexa said. “It is hard to admit, but I really was. You know, my earrings are cool – people like them and that was such an awesome feeling.”

Alexa first got the idea to create jewelry in July 2020 after searching for a creative and fun way to make extra money. Inspired by other creators’ polymer clay jewelry on Instagram, Alexa quickly purchased her own package of clay from a local craft store.

After experimenting for two to three weeks, Alexa released her first pair of earrings on her Etsy shop and gained initial sales from supportive friends.

“I think what makes her jewelry so special is that she really channels so much love into every piece she makes,” said Shida Khorrami, English senior and Alexa’s roommate.

Alexa’s business took off after her Halloween-inspired earrings went viral on Twitter in Oct. 2021. Within the day, her shop sold out.

Angellica Pedrero, high school student and Alexa’s sister, said she was not surprised by Alexa’s success on Etsy.

“I saw how much hard work she put in and the way she would post on all social media promoting the business,” Angellica said. “It was no surprise a couple of her posts would go viral.”

With more than 400 sales already this year, Alexa hopes to expand her business into a full-time career with a wider variety of products ranging from art prints and designs to jewelry.

Alexa’s almost instant success did not come without its own slew of struggles, she said.

Entering her final semester at the university, Alexa had to find a balance between school and running her first online business.

“Right now, I am prioritizing being a student because it’s my last semester,” Alexa said. “I want to finish off with a great GPA and good grades, but last year, I was more so balancing [both] equally and it was kind of hard.”

Now, Alexa has begun to view her business as more of a monthly project by focusing on releasing designs and jewelry within a specific period before taking a small break to focus on school and then repeating the pattern. Alexa said the cycle helped her create a healthier schedule.

“It’s a lot harder than what I thought it was going to be,” Alexa said. “I saw this TikTok the other day, and it was like ‘I decided to quit my nine-to-five for my small business, and now, I work 24/7,’ and that’s really the case.”

Along with managing multiple responsibilities, Alexa discovered through trial and error the basics of creating quality products as well as the best packaging and shipping methods.

“One time I sent,  two pairs of earrings to two different customers and they broke during transit,” Alexa said. “So, it’s a lot of trial and error and obviously I had to own up to it as a creator and be like, ‘You know what, I’ll make you a fresh new batch of earrings,’ and I sent that to them free of charge.”

The learning process created not only a better business for Alexa, but a better mindset in general. Alexa said she learned valuable time management skills and erased any fear of putting herself first and taking care of her well-being.

Although the learning process can be daunting, Alexa said she wants other small business owners to persevere because it is worth it in the end.

“I always encourage people if they even have a small idea of wanting to do it – do it,” Alexa said. “It’s so worth it, and even if it doesn’t work out at first, it will. I believe it 100 percent will.”

Courtesy @shop.lauraleii

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Sarah Hogan

Sarah Hogan

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