By LAUREN MAGENTA
An entrepreneur who is effortlessly creative and an all around style enthusiast, Janna Applestien is a triple treat. She is on the road to becoming the next major fashion mogul.
“Single handedly running a business is no small task, especially considering I am a scatter brained creative night-owl, who has lost every piece of jewelry she has ever owned” said Eye of JA founder Appelstein.
How it all came to be
Appelstein spent part of her 2011 summer discovering, as she calls it, the natural skill she has with fabric and scissors. Using odds and ends, buttons and cotton, leather and even a mother goose charm, she was inspired. Crafting went from a hobby to her own successful small business in a year and a half. Her line of mature, high class, handmade jewelry, Eye of JA is sold at 10 locations. At just 23 years old, Appelstein began running her own small business. Small Business Administration (SBA) reported that 51 percent of new employer establishments survive at least five years.
The success of a small company lies in the basic business plan and practices. The Business insider reported that 70 percent of small businesses are owned and operated by a single person. Appelstein falls in a large percent of small companies that are run single handedly.
After spending time at the University of Miami where she changed her major three times looking for inspiration she was at a loss until she took a semester off and started, Eye of JA. Between word of mouth, social media, determination and drive, she has gotten her product sold. In addition to the various locations in the north east and even in Canada, Eye of JA is sold online.
Scott Walode who runs and operates his own company ExibitCraft in Wayne, N.J, says, “major obstacles to having a thriving business include, lack of financing, fierce competition, unreliable production, inadequate sales or distribution, weak management, and the lack of a unique selling proposition.” From Walodes experience he explains that Eye of JA needs to do more stand out, it needs to be desired.
Fortunately, for Applestein, she feels she is unique enough to keep her company going “I feel that my jewelry offers something unique that sets me apart.” Appelstein likes to attend house parties with her jewery, “for girls night out events and craft shows it is hard for me to even put a check next to “jewelry”, and I have, on occasion, also checked “other”. I think it is important to keep pushing boundaries. That is the lifeblood of eye of JA.”
To be a successful buiness,“A willingness and capacity to work hard and long hours are critical to the success in the early stages of entrepreneurship,” said Walode.
This life changing summer Applestein had in 2011 all started with some fabric and beads but push came from an unexpected source. “A woman named Michelle Smilek took great interest in it.” Appelstein was at home with her fathers friends and started telling Smilek who was an avid jewelry party attendee about Eye of JA, “felt strongly that what I should make more stuff because my items were ‘unique and sellable’.”
That night Appelstein had her first big break, “at first I felt she was being nice, as a new guest of the house, and possible date for my dad’s friend.. but, the first sale I made to her, she handed me a check for twice what I asked, telling me the price was too low then, she made a second, third and fourth purchase..”
What is next?
Smilek was onto something when she said Eye of JA was sellable. Customer Kaitlin Firstbrook says “her pieces are the perfect combination of rustic beauty and middle eastern flair.”
No matter how competitive these times are you need to be thrifty and creative, which is what Eye of JA does best. She likes to work with her customers. Jewelry parties at people’s homes help make both her customer and herself money. Part of her business plan is to give commission to the person hosting the event.
“I am constantly thinking of ways to improve my designs, and figuring out ways to run my business more efficiently. I am learning by doing, and it feels really good this way.” Appelstein said.
Appelstein has customers that keep coming back and they do so for a reason. The line she has on the market sells itself Firstbrook explains. When you see someone in Eye of JA you have to ask where its from because it is different and stands out.
To beat the statistics Janna must keep up with her work ethic. Getting involved with larger social media names is important. Using people and connections she has now to keep people interested is the next step.
“As long as I continue to get support and people are responding to it I am not going to top and I think that the sky is the limit,” Appelstein has the passion Walode says you need to be successful. “If you have a passionate dream, a burning desire to achieve, and you like to be independent….. go for it! Just make sure you can stomach and afford to have a few trials and tribulations before you make it.”
Appelstein said Eye of JA marks my first step in achieving my ultimate goal in becoming a brand. Looks like you better keep your eyes on Appelstein.