Teen Entrepreneur Makes Jewelry for Great Causes
Have you ever dreamed about starting your own business? For 15-year-old Ali Broshar, that dream fell into her lap. A retailer in her hometown of St. Charles, Illinois, recognized her jewelry-making talents, and soon after, Ali began to sell her pieces with her own trademark (Peace Popz) and through her own website (www.thecraftgirl.com). She's also using her talents to give back to the community "“ important for any good entrepreneur! We talk to Ali about jewelry, pitching products, and how she manages school, her business, and her social life.
Teen Voices: Why did you decide to start your own business?
Broshar: I've always been interested in art and always have been a creative person. I was playing around with some jewelry stuff and I had ordered some bottle caps online. I was playing around with different ideas and stuff and I made a necklace. I was wearing it in a local retail store in my hometown, and I met the owner and she asked me if I had made it. I said yes, and she asked me if I could bring in some samples. After that, they placed a pretty significant order and that's how my business basically started. I was never really out to start my own business, but it just kind of happened.
TV: Why do you enjoy making jewelry?
Broshar: I just think it is fun and I like to be creative. My favorite part of it is coming up with new ideas and designing new products.
TV: What is your favorite piece that you've ever made?
Broshar: I really like to make rings, I like to put all different stuff in there like glitter, beads, candy, it's kind of fun to play around with.
TV: How do you pitch to companies to sell your jewelry?
Broshar: I'll go into local retail places in my area and bring in samples and a product book and information about myself. I mostly go to small boutiques in my area. The first couple of times that I did it (I was intimidated), but now when I go in somewhere I'm pretty confident because I've done it many times and I know what I'm talking about. It's natural and easy for me to go in and talk to an owner of a store and present my product.
TV: Talk a little bit about the charity work you've done.
Broshar: I've done various different charity things. I've donated special products to fundraisers. For a local theater in my community, I make special products for all their children's shows and the portion of proceeds that I get from that goes back to the theater. Another recent thing I did was Relay for Life at my high school which is a walk that they put on to benefit the American Cancer Society and I made bracelets for that and the money from that benefited went to the American Cancer Society.
TV: How do you balance school, work, and family and friends?
Broshar: I'm a high school student, I'm in all honors classes, I also play tennis and I participate in other activities like Art Club. I also try to manage my social life. Balancing everything is very difficult. Sometimes I can get a really large jewelry order and have three tests the next day or something and it's all about managing my time. I plan my time by week so I can get my jewelry orders and get everything else that I need to have done, done.
TV: Do you think that jewelry making/designing is something that you want to do when you get older?
Broshar: I don't know. It's not exactly something that I see myself doing forever. I want to do something creative in the future and that's pretty much how this got started. It's not just that I like jewelry making but because I just like to be creative and design products and new ideas.
TV: What would be your advice to other girls who want to start their own businesses?
Broshar: It just takes a lot of commitment and a lot of time and a lot of determination because there are going to be times when you're like, "Why am I doing this?" It's a lot of work, but it really pays off. The experiences that I've got from this have been incredible and you can't really do that any other way than just going after it. You just have to believe that you can do it!
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