[Sept. 2016 Features] Student businesses soar with Instagram

By Jonathan Kaner ’18 Sports Editor and Julia Rosier ’18 Features Editor

Her fingers delicately strung together the last bead, and she gleamed with a familiar zeal. Julie Kaplan ’17 was armed and ready for her newest Instagram post to promote her new entrepreneurial business, Jewels by Jules.

Instagram—an app that has 500 million users—has transformed a social media platform into advertising for businesses, according to Statista, a statistics website. For a few Staples students, Instagram provides a platform for marketing and selling products such as trendy jewelry or the newest fashion styles.

According to Social Media Examiner, a social media marketing website, because of this sudden popularity in advertising through Instagram, the app now has an option to create a business-specific account where the owner can be contacted and his or her website can be accessed online.

After all her friends admired her custom-made bracelet, Kaplan knew there was a terrific opportunity here in the bead making business. With the use of beads, wires, clasps and crimps, Kaplan’s products sell almost instantly off her Instagram page and are constantly worn by students.

Alex Orseck ’17, a loyal customer of Kaplan, praised that the jewelry’s “good quality” and that her pieces have lasted for the past two months she has had them.

“It’s really rewarding to see how going out of the box pays off,” Kaplan said.

Fellow senior Marta Clanton ’17 also has a business of her own, crocheting bralettes, or bras without wires or molded cups. Clanton launched her bralette business in late August after she presented her bralettes to friends, who expressed interest in purchasing one.

“I think what makes my business unique is that I provide a very high level of care and attention to each bralette, and I hope that the people that buy from me feel the same way,” Clanton said.

Each bralette takes Clanton at least two hours to create. Before she makes the bralette, Clanton has a one-on-one conversation with the customer to ensure that product is made perfectly. Clanton hopes her business’s future will be successful as  a  result  of  her  strong  passion.

Not only are seniors making money off of their passions but juniors are, too. Emerson Kobak ’18, began a clothing business. She uses Instagram as her main method of advertising her clothes and choker necklaces as of May 2016.

Kobak’s passion for fashion comes from her love for design and her desire to share it with other people.

“My favorite part about being a fashion designer is seeing people wear my clothing,” Kobak said. “It feels amazing when someone is interested in something that you made and created.” Of course, none of this would have been possible without her Instagram page.

Kobak’s success on Instagram has helped her business flourish. Since her first design post, she has created custom orders for customers as well as sold many of her creations to the new boutique, West, located in downtown Westport.

Whether it’s stringing bead or sewing thread, these young women have found a way to incorporate a passion into an occupation. “My favorite part of my business is making new things with new materials and cool, abstract beads,” Kaplan said, “and then having someone buy it as soon as I post it.”