She sits at her desk, adding beads on the string one by one. This simple task doesn’t take long, but she always enjoys the process. As she finishes up the necklace and begins putting it in the appropriate packaging, she remembers the encounter which inspired her to start her business.
During a family trip to Rome, Italy, senior Isabel Kovacs visited a small family-owned pizza shop. While there, she received a bracelet from the owner that left a lasting impression. Less than a year later, Kovacs made the decision to begin selling a variety of bracelets, anklets and necklaces on her Depop shop called lovefilledbeads.
“Once we were done [with our meal], the owner gave me a handmade beaded bracelet to show his gratitude for us eating there,” Kovacs said. “It was a really thoughtful gesture and it warmed my heart to know he was this thankful. A few years later, I looked back at the bracelet and it inspired me to start selling beaded bracelets like the one he gave me.”
After attempting to use other online selling sites, like Etsy and Mercari, Kovacs came to the conclusion that Depop would be her best option. With one problem out of the way, Kovacs now had to figure out how to price her products. With research, she set her prices anywhere from $4 to $8 on individual necklaces, bracelets and anklets. Bundles and custom orders vary depending on what the customer chooses.
“Overall, I think Depop is just good for people who are getting started with selling products,” Kovacs said. “When you start [a business], pricing can be tricky but I figure out pricing by calculating all the material and shipping costs and then finding a price where I can still profit. I also look at what other shops are pricing their items to make sure I do not price mine too high or too low.”
Prior to getting into the jewelry business, Kovacs was occupied with producing and selling all-natural soaps. Despite having support from her friends, Kovacs was not selling enough to make an actual profit. Although her soap business did not work out the first time around, she decided to give it another try and add it to her shop, along with the jewelry.
“[Before jewelry], somehow soap was what came to her,” senior and close friend Victoria Sibounheuang said. “What teenagers would want to sell soap? But let me tell you, a homemade, natural, oil-scented, [with] honeycomb [and] bees designed soap is probably one of the most Isabel things there is. Eventually, she came into the custom bracelet scene, and thus, Depop was born.”
As a lovefilledbeads customer, Sibounheuang enjoys the unique product options. Kovacs has jewelry ranging from generic color combinations to movie or show-themed bead colors. The type of beads can also be changed with custom orders and the size of the jewelry can be altered to best fit the customer.
“They’re creative and she takes time to custom make whatever it is her customers want,” Sibounheuang said. “I had actually never seen the types of beads she uses until she showed them to me. They’re not just regular shoe beads. She has a variety of sizes, styles, letters and colors. And she is down to make anything you want. Needless to say, you won’t be disappointed with what you get.”
A key component of any business is balance, something Kovacs sometimes struggles to find. Between schoolwork, soccer and lovefilledbeads, she often forgets to complete little tasks throughout her day. She tries to combat this as best she can by setting daily reminders and planning things out accordingly.
“Her work ethic is indescribable,” senior Halana Stroud said. “She will go [to] great lengths to get the job done on time and [meet] all the requirements.”
Being a young business owner can pose various difficulties. While keeping up with her responsibilities, Kovacs is also occupied with making sure her shop stands out from the others.
“There’s obvious disadvantages with running your own shop, but one of them is the competition with big businesses,” Kovacs said. “It’s often difficult to compete with businesses who have been selling their products for years [and already] have a good reputation. But I’ve learned many people choose to support small businesses.”
Before starting her shop, Kovacs was unsure of what field of study she wanted to go into after high school. She has thoroughly enjoyed learning about the different aspects of handling an online shop and is now considering business as her major in college. Although lovefilledbeads may not be permanent, she appreciates the knowledge she has been able to obtain through it.
“Right now, my Depop shop is just a hobby, but through this experience, I’ve learned I want to major in business when I go to college,” Kovacs said. “Maybe I will [have] my own business in the future, but I don’t think it will be lovefilledbeads.”
This story was originally published on Farmers’ Harvest on September 22, 2020.