Six months ago, sophomores Reid Simoncini and Maeve Cambria, members of the Ithaca College women’s lacrosse team, were making necklaces to relax and let loose after practice. Now, they have turned it into a business.
“It started out a bunch of our friends were making them, so we all started making them together,” Cambria said. “Then slowly, everyone faded out, and we kept going with it.”
Simoncini and Cambria came up with the name Ithaca is Beadiful, created an Instagram page in September and launched a website over winter break. They sell different variations of choker necklaces, with different color beads and different length chains, ranging in price from $10 to $12. Simoncini said that last semester they made $1,000 and are looking to increase profits this semester.
“That was good for just starting out and not having a website,” Simoncini said. “But we are definitely looking to improve from there.”
Neither Simoncini nor Cambria had any experience making jewelry or running a business before they began. Simoncini said her father, who started his own business, helped them create a business plan, and her mother, a graphic designer, helped them create the website.
Before business picked up, Simoncini did the designing. Now, they both are involved in the design process, and they come up with the designs as they go. Currently, they have 12 different necklaces they are selling.
“It started out as if I made a design and I posted it, I would just keep making it, and then I would keep the money from it,” Simoncini said. “But the more customers we got, we’ve just started making each other’s necklaces, so it’s joined together more.”
Freshman lacrosse player Erika Fortune said she chose to buy a choker from Ithaca is Beadiful because not only does she get to support a teammate, but she finds them cuter and cheaper than those sold at other stores.
“The lacrosse team is a very close–knit, positive team, so knowing I’m supporting two of my teammates’ business is a really nice feeling,” she said. “Every day at practice, you get to hear about how passionate they are about their business. They really work hard with the business, and they are good people at heart, so it’s nice to know I’m buying from someone who it brings genuine happiness to when you support their business.”
Simoncini said having a business can be challenging since they have to come up with the design, market their products, buy supplies and manage their budget.
“I feel like there is a lot to do because it is just us,” she said. “Before we had a website, it was just Instagram, so it was more fun. But now that we actually have a website and need to calculate for these costs, it’s a little bit harder.”
Simoncini said it is rewarding to see people wearing the necklaces they make around campus. Their business has even started to expand past the college now, she said.Cambria said running the business provides a much–needed break from the pressure of school and athletics.
“We always say how we never really have been that creative, but now our creative sides are coming out,” Cambria said. “Once we start beading, it’s soothing and enjoyable.”
Now that they have the basics established, Simoncini said, they are discussing how to expand and improve it.
“We need to sit down and figure out more of a set goal,” she said. “We are definitely looking to improve from here.”