High school student’s successful jewelry business shows it’s not just about grades – Virginia Pilot

School starts, and the daily homework begins. Most parents worry about their children’s grades, and so do children. School stress is real. However, grades are not necessarily an indicator of future success. As a parent of three children, I have come to realize and appreciate each person’s strengths and unique talents. In my opinion, creativity and a good work ethic are important indicators of future success. If you have a great idea and work hard to make it happen, you will do great things. It’s not a school curriculum, but it should be.

A perfect example of my theory is Lauren Marks, a senior at Cox High School. She has been running a jewelry company called Made By Lauren since 2019. Her entrepreneurial spirit started in elementary school when she ran a lemonade stand with her neighbor friends and sister. In middle school, she sold homemade slime and resale clothes on secondhand fashion sites. When COVID hit, her jewelry business really took off. She has a lot of extra time promoting her products online and making jewelry.

When she first started Made By Lauren jewelry, she promoted her wares on Instagram and sent her jewelry creations to local mailboxes. She’s only 14, so her mom drives her around to deliver products. Next, she opened a shop on Etsy and created a Tik Tok account to create jewelry-based content to gain followers. In one day, Lauren gets 200 orders for her social media marketing. Locally, Lauren has hosted pop-ups and sold jewelry at Pixelated Boutique, 17th Street Marketplace, and Holiday Vendor events at the Princess Anne Country Club. Currently, she is Painted Tree’s youngest supplier and has a stylish kiosk near the bathroom with her fashion jewellery.

“My jewelry is based on making trends affordable and accessible,” says Lauren. “I use a lot of color and positive messages on my bracelets and keychains.” Best sellers, she says, are heart necklaces, Star earrings and beaded bracelet.

Lauren did her homework when it came to starting a business. Her research includes following and researching trends on Pinterest, Tik Tok and Instagram. She taught herself how to make jewelry and watched some instructional videos. Lauren said she likes creative problem-solving. “It’s fun to figure out,” she said. “It’s not in the textbook.”

Lauren’s success didn’t come from the classroom. Her creativity, combined with a lot of hard work, has sold jewelry to all 50 states, even donating a portion of the sales to local charities.

As a parent, I understand worrying about grades. I do it often. Remember to use some of this energy to encourage your child to find success through their creativity or other passions. By the way, I didn’t even ask Lauren about her grades.

Find Lauren on Etsy at madebylaurennn.com or Painted Tree.

Lee Belot, jlbelote@verizon.net

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