L and M Jewelry
March 23, 2017
Filed under Features
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In early December, senior Lexi Acosta texted her friend Michela Mosconi: “Do you want to start a jewelry company?” So, they decided to start L and M jewelry.
Before they started their own company, Acosta would make bracelets that she sold in order to raise money for the Caring for Cambodia mission trip she went on. However, Acosta described the bracelets as nothing serious, more of a fun way to raise money “whenever I could sell them or whenever I had time.”
Mosconi also had experience making jewelry; she would make necklaces based off of pictures she found on Pinterest.
L and M has had great success; so far, they have sold more than 100 necklaces. The girls said their success started after their friend, Kathryn Dane, bought a necklace.
“Everyone asked her where she got it and the next day, we had probably like 10 orders. We were so taken [aback]. I was at [Lexi’s] house every day for like four hours, making a bunch just to keep up,” Mosconi said. Dane bought her first necklace in early December, soon after the business was started. She has since bought necklaces as gifts for friends and recommended them to her peers.
“I absolutely love all of the necklaces they make! I have two of theirs and not only are they so pretty and stylish, but they are really good quality and nicely made!” Dane exclaimed in an email interview.
Starting a business has been a very challenging but also rewarding experience for Acosta and Mosconi. According to the girls, a lot of the stress comes from actually making the necklaces, especially during the holidays and when they’ve had large orders. They rely on one another to make sure everything gets done on time and effectively.
“We just both work together. Obviously we have different schedules, so when one of us has a lot going on, the other one will pick up the slack,” Acosta stated. The girls split the responsibilities of the companies pretty evenly and they cite their prior friendship as the reason they have such good communication.
The community has been incredibly supportive of the new business.
“I’ve seen people I don’t even know around the school [wearing the necklaces]. Like, I’ve never seen their face before but I recognize the necklace and it’s so cool to see,” Mosconi shared.
The business has even grown beyond Libertyville High School. On Friday, March 3, L and M necklaces were sold at Forest Bootery in downtown Libertyville for First Friday. Acosta and Mosconi were very excited about being able to sell their jewelry at an actual store because “adults could buy it or younger children could instead of just high school students and they can tell their friends and hopefully that will help [the business] expand,” Mosconi said.
Despite their excitement, there were also some nerves, as selling at the store would mean they wouldn’t actually have regular contact with their customers. At school, they are able to meet up with customers if anything breaks or if they have any other questions. They are also able to give their customers exactly what they want if their customers customize necklaces.
The sales at Forest Bootery have been a big success. According to Kristy Seitz, the manager of the Libertyville Forest Bootery, “Everyone has loved the necklaces and they’ve loved supporting a local business, especially LHS students.”
Seitz first heard about L and M from her daughter Natalie, who is a junior at LHS and has some chokers of her own. Some friends of Natalie’s then asked Seitz if they’d be able to sell the necklaces at Forest Bootery. After reaching out to the owner, who agreed, they then talked to Acosta and Mosconi to decide specific details about the sale. The sales will continue until they sell out, and so far the sales have looked promising.
Right now, L and M offers their customers a variety of necklace styles and colors. They have a layered necklace, which they call double trouble, beaded bar necklaces, plain beaded chokers and beaded chokers with a charm, called drop chokers. They also still sell the bracelets that Acosta made previous to the start of L and M. Customers are able to customize the color of the jewelry as well. Their most popular items are their chokers, in particularly their silver drop chokers.
They have also recently added a collegiate choker line. These chokers can be customized with whatever college colors are requested. They started the line with college on their minds; as the two girls prepare for the end of senior year, they were excited to be able to connect with their customers in a new and more personal way.
“We felt like it could be something that people could feel personally…and connect [to] us in a different way than, ‘Oh, the chokers,’” Mosconi said.
The collegiate line has been successful so far and even brought in their first out-of-state purchase when they sold a University of Tennessee choker to a former LHS student.
Overall, the two girls have learned a lot from their experiences starting and running their own business. They have had to learn how to balance the company with school because it’s important for them to keep school as a top priority. They’ve also learned the importance of hearing others out and compromising. The business has also expanded their friendship: “I think it’s definitely made our friendship stronger and I respect her a lot more because it is challenging to run a business,” Mosconi said. “And I couldn’t do it without her.”