Small businesses at Elon University are nothing new. With Elon’s entrepreneurship programs and frequent tabling events, student businesses can be found around campus. Two in particular – Uwera Rings and Luvstitch Boutique – have popped up throughout the semester at events like Elon Day and under the Oaks.
When sophomore Uwera Izabayo established Uwera Rings in the spring of 2022, she never thought it would be a successful business at Elon. Izabayo said she originally created rings for herself, but others became interested in her unique style, so she turned her rings into a business.
To make her business stand out from competitors, Uwera uses recycled spoons to promote sustainability. Uwera said her rings promote quality and sustainable jewelry for everyone to enjoy while remaining unique – a quality she appreciates across student businesses.
“Everyone has their own little niche and their own different style of jewelry,” Izabayo said. “In that way, there's no shortage of creativity.”
Izabayo said her rings are made of stainless steel because it’s an environmentally-friendly option, as most of her customers are students who value that type of option.
“Something that I learned while making these myself was that metal takes a very long time to break down,” Izabayo said. “It’s really cool that this was a way that I can help the Earth.”
Uwera Rings collaborates with Oak Originals in the marketplace. As a member of Oaks Originals, she learns ways to grow her business for the future.
Oaks Originals is a marketplace located Under the Oaks to promote student business at Elon University. It helps create a community that brings together unique businesses for students to enjoy on campus.
Izabayo also promotes her business through pop-ups, social media and other Elon students. She purchases spoons from Amazon or eBay, then creates their shape in the Elon Maker Hub. In the future, she said she plans to create bracelets and necklaces.
Izabayo encourages other Elon students to create their own businesses, even if it’s out of something they think will only be a hobby.
“If you have a talent for something, then make your mark,” Izabayo said. “Turn it into a business; I encourage you to do so because it's very fun. As long as you have the time and you have passion for it, then go ahead, so it can always be something fun to do for yourself.”
Uwera Rings products can be purchased by completing a form on the business’s Instagram – @uweraring. Elon students receive free and fast shipping. Right now, silver spoon and fork rings are available for $15 or gold spoon rings for $18.
Senior Christina Blaskey established Luvstitch Boutique in October 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to take up her time in quarantine. After returning to campus, it became a business.
She was inspired by other local businesses that sold clothing for students at Elon University. Blaskey took a step further to expand her business outside of Elon by collaborating with wholesale vendors from Los Angeles.
In the worlds of Elon and LA, Blaskey acknowledges how saturated the clothing market is, so she makes the effort to distinguish herself from others.
“I try to stand out as a college student business owner, which I feel is pretty unique,” Blaskey said. “All the clothes that I carry can fit a bunch of different clothing styles.”
Luvstitch Boutique offers accessories such as necklaces, earrings, and belt bags. The clothing includes rompers, shirts, and jeans that change with the trends throughout the years.
Blaskey hopes to inspire women to create their own businesses and go after their passions. She believes hard work, such as developing relationships within her market, will pay off in the future.
“I really want to empower women to chase and achieve their dreams, whether it be starting a business, a career goal, an extracurricular goal, whatever that may be,” Blaskey said. “I think all women should go towards their dreams.”
Through operating Luvstitch Boutique, Blaskey has learned to manage both her classes and business, especially as this semester is her last. Her future plans include running Luvstitch Boutique full-time and stocking more products.
Luvstitch Boutique products can be purchased on her website and at pop-up shops with Oak Originals. Customers can also follow her Instagram @Luvstichboutique.