Entrepreneurial Passion Leads to Handmade Jewelry Business: Jenny Knight ’19 BSBA (Marketing)
Dec. 5, 2018
Jenny Knight ’19 BSBA (Marketing)
Jenny Knight ’19 BSBA (Marketing), isn’t a typical student. Beyond being a full-time Eller student and minoring in psychology, Knight runs her own successful line of jewelry that she assembles by hand.
Knight currently sells her jewelry during the UA Farmer’s Market and Tucson’s Second Saturday. Previously, she’s sold at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet, Desert Diamond Casino, Saint Philips Plaza, the Reid Park holiday arts and crafts fair and during nine Manhattan street fairs in New York City.
Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Knight grew up in a family with a business background: “My grandma studied marketing at NYU and my dad has a jewelry business, so I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship opportunities. I was also inspired watching kids on Shark Tank pitch their ideas.”
Wanting to follow in her family’s footsteps, Knight pursued her ambition: “When I was ten years old, I sold magnets at the swap meet. That’s where I eventually started selling my necklaces too.”
During the summer of 2016, Knight discovered the popularity of choker necklaces: “I remember specifically going to a store looking for them because they were trending,” she says.
Knight’s parents took notice of her interest in chokers and they helped jumpstart her career: “My parents gave me a choker kit for Christmas in 2016, and I launched my business in February 2017.”
When she first began her business, her collection of jewelry was heavy with traditional chokers; but she quickly learned about the market trends. “Chokers are a fad, so as time goes on, they are not as popular and they don’t resonate with everyone.”
With her creative sense of design and understanding of consumer trends, Knight began differentiating her product line. “I introduced silver jewelry such as necklaces and rings. The rings are from a supplier, and the necklaces are made from a bulk of chain, clasps, and charms.”
“The silver jewelry eventually grew into a bigger selection, but I still sell my original items and innovate them with the new materials,” Knight says.
For Knight’s business, minor challenges occasionally arise: “Sometimes there are unexpected market conditions, such as rain or my target market isn’t present, which can be discouraging; but the good days remind me to keep going and be resilient.”
As a former member of the Eller Professional Sales Club, Knight believes that her involvement in the organization taught her how to handle business objections and conduct sales. She also feels that her business is very interpersonal, and her favorite part is getting to interact with customers when selling her jewelry:
“It’s an amazing feeling when I turn the mirror around and see the customer’s reaction. Those memorable moments are what I love about running a business.”
For anyone who wants to start their own business, Knight suggests investing in something that is fun and unique. In the future, Knight plans on expanding her jewelry collection to an e-commerce website to establish a brand image. As a short-term goal, she would like to work in the creative side of marketing after she graduates.