Claire is renting her closet on Curtsy. Download the app to rent her dresses now.
PS. Curtsy just launched at MSU. Curtsy lets you rent dresses from fashionistas at your school. Browse, rent and post dresses of your own to make extra CA$H. Download the app now.
When Claire isn’t studying for her marketing classes at Mississippi State University or indulging in cheese fries at Bin 612 with friends (true story,) she’s probably beading. She created her beading empire, Authenticity Jewelry, with no intentions of actually making a profit. Here’s how it happened.
As a freshman at Hoover High School (Go Bucs!) I chose to be in Finance Academy. [The classes we took throughout our four years of high school depended on the academy we were in.] I picked finance because the students in there wore business attire on field trips, which I thought was fabulous.
Within this academy, we studied entrepreneurship our senior year. For my project, my partner and I orignially decided to make picture frames. However, while I was at Michael’s looking for wood, I was instantly drawn to the beads. I convinced my partner to change our business to jewelry making. This was the birth of Authenticity Jewelry.
We never made it to the finals for our project competition, but if it wasn’t for this project setting the foundation, it wouldn’t be a business today. [No worries, my project partner and I had a very smooth “breakup.”]
Q: Where does the name “Authenticity Jewelry” come from?
The name comes from what I base my entire business on, “being authentic.” I want my jewelry to be something real and original. With social media these days, it’s so easy to think you’re supposed to have a certain kind of perfect life, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I want my business to inspire girls to be themselves and to be comfortable in their own skin. I want each piece of jewelry to be as authentic as the girl who is wearing it.
I love running my own business, but it isn’t rewarding to me unless I’m using it to help people. The past two summers I’ve gone on mission trips to Jamaica with my team, Isaiah 6:8. God has given me a big love for the people there. This past summer, I started my Jamaican line, which I’m hoping to expand within the next few years. The profit from this is used to purchase school supplies, uniforms, food, Christmas gifts, and anything else our Jamaican friends need.
Every single one of my jewelry pieces is unique and inspired by my friends. [This is why each piece is named after someone special to me.] I never count the amount of beads on a necklace. Nothing is perfect and no one is exactly the same, so I keep this in mind while making jewelry.
One of my favorite pieces to make is the Meagan necklace. It’s a simple, long loop around necklace that consists of one type of bead. Since it’s impossible to mess up, I enjoy turning on music and forgetting about the real world while I strand the necklace. It’s my type of stress relief.
I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to balance school, a sorority, and a business. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my friends or mom. Whenever I have a big order that I’m stressed about, without even asking, my friends pile in my dorm room and we have “beading parties.”
My friends help me tremendously with the large orders, and they also represent my jewelry all the time. My mother helps with distributing my orders to the stores in Birmingham while I’m at school. I owe every bit of success I have with my business to them.
Q: Who is your biggest supporter?
I have two— my mother and big brother. I’ve always looked up to him because of his wisdom and honesty. He never sugar coats anything. I value his opinion more than anything. He doesn’t know this, but him believing in me as a little 18 year old girl with a big dream is what gave me the confidence to continue my business even after the school project ended. I’m incredibly thankful for everyone who has helped me get this far.
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Follow Claire’s adventures on her personal Instagram at @claire___anderson.
xoxo, Team Curtsy
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