Frustrated by expensive jewelry prices, Elon University sophomore Jocelyn Pietro decided to start her own business, crafting handmade, metal-stamped bracelets and necklaces for the fraction of the cost of local retailers called Impressions Jewelry Co. 

To start, Pietro reached out to Greek organizations, offering to make stamps with the letters of the sororities. When interest began to peak, Pietro took the leap to invest in the supplies.

Since the initial start of making the first designs, she has a newfound love for the art of jewelry making.

“As a college student, investing money in something like this is frightening because you never really know where it will go,” Pietro said. “I am passionate about it. Now when I get stressed, I want to make jewelry.”

Her favorite product to make has been custom orders while adding her own flare to the jewelry. She has also been able to make memorable jewelry pieces for both her family and friends.

“I really like having the ability to be creative, while also incorporating what the customer wants,” Pietro said.

Pietro’s never intended to start a business, but once it starting proving its success, she decided to apply for a apply for The Maker Hub’s “Kickbox” grant. 

“This honestly just stumbled into being a business, I know nothing about anything,” she said.

As part of the Maker Hub, where students can print 3-D versions of their designs, this actual box is filled with guidance, resources and a $300 grant to help develop and make ideas a reality.

Pietro wrote in the application that the money received would go toward the investments for the philanthropic element of her project, which is now her main focus.

As a public health and psychology major, Pietro said her business has never been rooted in making money, but rather as an outlet to help others.

“My original audience were those in Greek Life, but now I have just found a passion for the art in general,” she said. “My main goal with the Kickbox is creating philanthropic jewelry and to have a percentage go to those organizations.”

Aside from the grant, The Maker Hub has helped Pietro with her jewelry making production. Pietro’s boyfriend, junior Liam Kakavas, works there and assists her in making the designs.

“I think the Maker Hub Kickbox will be a great benefit to her business,” Kavavas said. “Not only because of the funding, but also the included iterative process that helps during the development of the idea.”

Pietro hopes to expand her business beyond Elon customers and reach out to Greek organizations on other college campuses. She also wants to provide custom orders to those unaffiliated with a sorority. Her main focus this semester is expanding her business in order to bring in a greater audience for philanthropic events.

“Part of the Kickbox was to find what your motives were," Pietro said. "For me, it’s to get my name out there. I think if the philanthropic aspect works out and of people are as passionate about it as I am, it could be so successful.”

As an executive member of Elonthon, Pietro hopes to see her business help in raising money for that event.

Already she is seeing an increased interest since receiving the grant. Sophomore Kendall Crosby said she has yet to take off her custom made necklace since she got it. 

“Her jewelry is so comfortable and simple,” said Crosby. “You are paying $17 for a really well-made, custom necklace that is created in front of your eyes.”