Meticulously looping her charms through different chains, junior Celine Truong packages the perfectly shaped necklaces and earrings to fit snug on her customer. She wraps the order into a sheer bag and a handwritten card and places it into the pink bubble mailer along with a handwritten note, that is topped off with a baby pink branded sticker.
Truong first opened her jewelry business, Meraki by Celine, on her birthday, June 29, on Instagram. She sells necklaces and earrings with a passion for fashion and the belief that accessories emphasize an outfit. To personalize her brand, she combined two meaningful aspects of herself to form a name that reflects her values.
“Meraki [may-rah-kee] means to do something with soul, creativity, or love; to put something of yourself into your work in Greek,”Troung said. “The meaning stuck with me, whether that be coming up with what to sell next, creating social media posts, or making the jewelry itself. I decided to add the ‘by Celine’ at the end to show people that this is a one-woman business and that this girl does everything by herself with little to no help from her parents.”
She handmakes all of her jewelry and manages everything by herself on TikTok and Instagram @merakibyceline. Despite the weight on her shoulders, Truong discovered ways to balance the workload of her business and classes.
“The key to running a small business and going to school at the same time is to manage my time properly. I finish all my homework the day it is assigned and do anything else I need to do for my business after, since Meraki is still a small one-woman business.” Truong said.
Truong’s customers are not always able to purchase her jewelry due to COVID-19 affecting their incomes, but she overcomes this difficulty by communicating with her customers and learning about their interests.
“I first researched what my followers are looking forward to carrying in my inventory by doing polls or posting questions on my Instagram story,” Truong said. “It helps me interact with my followers and figure out what they would like me to carry.”
As a one-woman business, she does all the calculating for the cost of materials, the profit margin, and affordability. She uses her skills in marketing when blending inspiration from trendy jewelry and her own ideas to attract more customers. She enjoys running her business as it not only benefits her customers, but also herself.
“Making jewelry helps me take my mind off of reality,” Truong said. “It helps me relax and focus on something when reality takes a toll on my mental state. Plus it puts me in a happy mood.”
Meraki is one way for Truong to progress further into her future goals and gain valuable entrepreneurial experience from a young age. She has always wanted to be an entrepreneur and felt that she “was born to be her own boss instead of working for others.”
“I plan to minor in entrepreneurship to help further my skills in business while studying and working for my other career goal,” Truong said. “Meraki is something that I would like to continue running for the rest of my life.”