Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeanette Castro.
Jeanette, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My business technically started while I was in college at UCLA. I always made my own accessories and would have people ask me where I got whatever I was wearing that I made. Friends and family pushed me to sell my creations. They would tell me that I should open an Etsy and sell my creations. So, I did that. At the time it was just a way to make extra money, which is always nice for a broke college student. But once I graduated and realized that the job I had at the time was not going to renew my contract, I needed to find a way to make ends meet. I began to put a bit more effort into my creations, and then from the support of my friends on social media, they began to share my work. Little by little I was growing, and I started to do events and sell in person to get my name out there. It was a lot of work and still is. But now it has been over three serious years since and my business has been my full time job for over a year. I’ve been lucky to have been featured in different media sources, such as Buzzfeed, Remezcla, Bustle, Mitu, and Hello Giggles. And I continue to love my work.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Getting to where I am now has not been easy. It continues to be a struggle. If it is not one thing it is another. Having your own business can really burn you out quickly. You have to juggle many hats while learning in the process. Unless you have the capital to hire someone to help, you have to learn everything on your own. I’ve had moments that I wonder if it is worth it. People sometimes don’t realize that even just coming up with ideas is labor and think it is easy because I work from home. But I work more because of it. There are times that I will work 16-18 hours a day to be able to finish everything. Although there are struggles, I still love what I’m doing.
Candy’s Kloset – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Candy’s Kloset is handmade jewelry and accessories. It is all heavily inspired by women and Latinx culture. My focus is to have a bit of everything for everyone. Everyone likes something different, so with my business, I have over 400 items, from necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, to pins and keychains, so I have many options. It is all handmade and I try to invoke nostalgia through my creations and make sure everyone feels represented with my work. I am known for my keychains and pins, but also my metal stamping jewelry. I try my best to use high quality materials but also make everything affordable.
What I am most proud of is that I can bring to people’s faces with my creations. Especially when it comes to the Latinx inspired items. As a Latina, there are certain things you don’t see in stores. You don’t always feel represented. I definitely don’t see much representation of my cultural background as a Central American. So being able to make items that represent my culture and others, and see a smile on their face when they buy it or see it, I have to say that’s what I am most proud of.
The variety of items I have available, I think it sets me apart from others. I have so many different items and even offer customization in some that it creates options that people like. And I do this because I want to have a bit of something for everyone.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’ve had a few. One has to be being able to do this full time and help my family financially with it. Not everyone gets to do that, so I am very proud of that. The other has to be when I got to fly to New York and was invited to the Buzzfeed Headquarters in NYC. They wanted to showcase my business, along with others, for Latinx Heritage Month, and I felt honored being there. I never thought I would go to New York and the fact that my business stood out to them enough to get invited, I couldn’t be more excited.
- items range from $2-$20 in cost
- Website: candyskloset.etsy.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/candyskloset/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CandysKloset