Classes, jobs, extracurriculars, community service. Most students are stressed out trying to figure out what to do with their lives, but LSA sophomore Jessica Constable has gotten a jump-start on her ambitions. She is already running a business on top of her courseload. This down-to-earth entrepreneur has been in business for more than three years running Jess L.C., which sells beaded and silver jewelry — all hand-made by Constable.
“I started it in high school,” she says of her business, which began her freshman year of high school when a woman approached her as she was making jewelry and began buying pieces. “I sold … in 12 stores around Michigan.” Constable obtains her materials — primarily sterling silver and crystal beads — from a variety of sources all over the country and uses about “six different kinds of pliers” to create her jewelry, she said. She is also experienced in metal-casting and smithing, though due to lack of facilities she doesn’t incorporate those into her business. “I don’t know how to set stones,” she said. “That’s pretty much the only aspect of jewelry I cannot do.”
Her pride in her work is evident from the careful way she handles the delicate pieces and her enthusiasm for the things she creates. “I’ll show you my favorite things at the moment,” she says as she holds up a pair of beaded earrings that turn and catch the light. The array she has set out on the table is impressive — earrings of varying length, with different-colored bead designs. Some are even decorated with freshwater pearls. All of her earrings are stylish and pretty — trinkets that catch the eye and complement faces and clothes.
Besides earrings, Constable also makes delicate necklaces and wristlets, an innovative design for a bracelet-like chain that loops around the wrist and can be used to hold anything from cell phones to keys to Mcards, a refreshing alternative to the lanyard. Each wristlet is sterling silver chain and decorated with beads in a variety of colors, a creative and decorative twist on practicality. Though they are the most time-consuming of her products to create, they are consistently in demand with her fellow students.
Constable knows firsthand the college student’s financial situation and strives to keep her business accessible and her products affordable. “I make the jewelry that is easy for people to afford, but still up to the minute. The prices are between $8 and $20. My demographic is college-age girls who don’t have a lot of money, so this is perfect — to give them what they want without them having to spend so much money on it.”
She cites Tiffany’s as one of her sources of inspiration. “I have a lot of new products that are similar to the look of Tiffany’s for $10 or $15,” she says, displaying a pair of sterling silver post earrings. Her prices are reasonable, but she never sacrifices style for frugality.
As an experienced player in the retail market, Constable has seen the trends come and go and has devised creative ways to make Jess L.C. available to customers. Among them is her jewelry shows, an event in which she shows her pieces at the request of a host and takes orders for later delivery. The holiday season is her most hectic as her jewelry is ideal for gifts.
Though she doesn’t view jewelry-making as a hobby, she describes it as her creative outlet. “I love graphics, and I love color and design, and to be able to use those in a practical way with business is really good for me.”
Constable’s jewelry can be purchased at her website, www.jesslc.com. She said several stores on campus may begin selling her merchandise soon.