CONTRIBUTED BY NAIRI HARUMI
Starting a business and learning real-world skills in high school is not the first thing that pops into the minds of most students.
For junior Nairi Harumi, however, this was the case. Inspired by expensive necklaces she liked but did not want to spend money on, Harumi decided to make her own. What started as a small hobby, has turned into a successful small business.
“One day, I wanted to make a necklace and so I just used an old bracelet, cut up the beads, and turned it into a necklace,” she said. “I kept doing it, and then I ended up selling them.”
Although she started her business last spring, Nairi began beading in ninth grade as a way to de-stress from school. When she wasn’t focusing on school or dance, she was making necklaces.
“It was a really good stress reliever before finals,” Harumi said. “I’ll just be watching tv, and then I’ll also be beading because it doesn’t really take that much thought to it.”
Despite not having a large background in visual arts or jewelry making, her friends and classmates started showing interest in what she was doing. Harumi started her business, Necks by Nairi, and later created an Instagram page to promote her jewelry.
With beads from old necklaces and bracelets and others bought from the craft store, Harumi created new pieces influenced by trendy, yet expensive, jewelry. She has received positive feedback from customers, like junior Gil Oren.
“People want cheaper jewelry that is still very cute, and she has many options, which is also really good,” Oren said.
Before deciding to start Necks by Nairi however, Harumi was hesitant to sell her jewelry. That was until she got support from her close friends, like senior Gigi Solomon.
“I was one of the people, when she made a couple necklaces, encouraged to sell them, but she didn’t want to,” Solomon said. “It’s a really good opportunity because it’s a way to make money and practice being an entrepreneur at the age of 16, which is a pretty cool thing.”
With hard work, diligence and some help from her mom, she was able to start her business in no time.
“My mom made the initial investment for my beads; I paid her back after I started selling them,” she said. “But in terms of making and promoting my business, I did that entirely myself.”
Since selling her pieces at school and online, Harumi has said she is really enjoying making new jewelry, interacting with her customers and seeing people wear them around the high school.
“When you’re a professional, you have to start somewhere,” Solomon said. “Even if it’s just selling necklaces to people in your town, that’s a really good way to get involved.”