Even with her busy school schedule, senior Emily Kolb finds time to run her own jewelry line, Em’s Gem’s.
Kolb started her business last year, making keychains for her friends at request. However when she saw how popular they were getting, she decided to start charging for necklaces.
“I started figuring out designs and selling them for five dollars each,” Kolb said. “In the first week I made $140, and I thought wow this is actually profitable and fun.”
After Kolb bought a sponsored post from Instagram, she saw an even greater boom in business. New customers from all over Plano (and even one from Wisconsin,) got Kolb excited about this new outreach and the things she was doing with her business.
“My friends from Plano West will be wearing them and people will recognize them as Em’s Gems, it’s really weird but cool,” Kolb said.
An important part of the growth for her business was the support from her friends and family. Her family was excited to help Kolb in her new business, they all gave her ideas for new designs and they wear them all the time. Kolb’s friends have done the same. One of her friends, Riley Bautista, even set up an Instagram account for her business, which further boosted Kolb’s sales.
“My mom used to make jewelry as a hobby, so she dug up some of her old things and my dad helped come up with some design ideas,” Kolb said. “They really support me a lot.”
Each of the designs are named after one of her friends, there are 10 designs total. Each can also be personalized, the customer can choose whatever color scheme they wish for their necklace. The simplistic yet beautiful designs of Kolb are always well received by her consumers.
“It is good quality, better than what you buy at Target. I have four necklaces and I’ve had them since last spring, yet they still look untouched,” friend and customer, senior Lily Ray said.
Kolb’s friends seem to be obsessed with her jewelry and love to show it off. They can often be seen flaunting their “Em’s Gems” and love to tell everyone who asks how to buy more.
“I get a lot of questions when I wear them, and I love to tell people that my friend made them, she owns a small business, check it out,” Ray said.
The Instagram page, @ems.gems.jewelry, is a big factor for her business. Kolb will get a request on Instagram DM and can automatically start making and sending out the product.
“She is very easy to work with,” Bautista said. “She will fix anything broken right away, and always wants to get the best materials to create these necklaces.”
Her Instagram is filled with beautiful pictures of all her friends wearing her jewelry in various places around the world. They will take a picture exhibiting their necklaces wherever they are and Kolb will take these and post them to market even more.
“Even though she is a friend, her Instagram page is still very professional,” Ray said. “It was cool to see myself as a part of her business and show people that I support her.”
Even though Kolb is handling a business of her own, marketing, creating jewelry, handling customers and money, she still finds time for schooling and extracurriculars. Although Kolb has slowed because of a busy senior year, she still manages to multitask.
“She really tries her best to make sure it is all balanced and it’s not uneven,” Bautista said. “I am really proud of her for that.”
She enjoys the therapeutic process of making jewelry and sharing her jewelry with friends and customers across America.
“I use it as a stress-reliever, if I’m really stressed out and need to do something with my hands, then I can just go and make some jewelry,” Kolb said.
She has also seen the benefits in the growth of her social skills. Her growth in communication skills, responsibilities and marketing has given her ways to improve herself and security of what she wants in her future. Kolb explained that, through this process she was able to realize that she wanted to be a therapist.
“Since I used making jewelry as my therapy I think that went into me wanting to be a therapist and help people the same way,” Kolb said.
Kolb has been able to successfully run a boutique with jewelry of her own designs. Through support of family and friends and her commitment, she has gone through all obstacles that would have stopped her.
“I think it’s inspiring that she decided she wanted to do something and didn’t hold back, she just went for it,” Ray said. “She is doing really well and working really hard to make good products, it shows and makes you want to support her even more.”
This story was originally published on Wildcat Tales on November 18, 2019.