Crafting a Business: Freshman creates an Etsy shop for handmade charms

Rewon Shimray, Staff Writer

Izzy Vergara holds one of her more complex polymer clay creations. She usually names the projects of hers that take longer to make. “When I was younger, I named my stuffed cheetah Spot,” Vergara said, “[When naming my creations] I just think like, ‘Oh, this has roses on it so it’ll be named Rose.’ It’s not the most creative process.”

While the typical teenager can be found binge-watching Netflix on the weekend, Izzy Vergara, freshman, spends her time making polymer clay charms which she sells on her Etsy account “Littleteacupcrafts.”

“I started watching a lot of YouTube videos on how to start your Etsy,” Vergara said. “I was becoming really interested in making polymer clay charms. So, then I decided over a couple of months that I was going to open [a shop] up, and it wouldn’t be really big or complicated.”

Since she started her business, Vergara has made 25 sales to her parents’ friends as well as other people in the U.S. Her products range from nibble-size cupcakes to miniature unicorns. She describes her style as “just cute kawaii things,” — kawaii meaning cute in Japanese.

“So far I’ve gotten five-star reviews, except for one who said the shipping took too long,” Vergara said.

Vergara has been able to pursue her crafting passion through instructors on the Internet. However, it was through a personal mentor in her life that Vergara was first introduced to the world of crafting.

“My parents don’t really have any hobbies, although my stepmother is pretty crafty,” Vergara said. “I think she got me into crafting. She taught me how to knit, but that didn’t go so well. But I started looking into other crafts, like needle-felting, after I went to the yarn store and saw the wool there and decided to start needle-felting.”

Her parents, although not directly being able to help her in the charm-making process, support her in other ways. They drive her to the craft store, where Vergara uses the money earned for her grades to purchase clay.

“I mainly just use my free time [to craft] on the weekends, since my mom thinks it distracts me from homework, which it does,” Vergara said. “I just spend a couple hours on the weekends doing clay.”

Since the start of the school year, Vergara hasn’t been able to upload any new charms to her Etsy or make new sales. She says she finds herself having to work hard and manage her time, because she doesn’t have as much of it anymore. In addition to making charms, Vergara also watercolors daily, does needle-felting and sews. She says these are all just hobbies that she jumps to and from frequently. Vergara finds her inspiration primarily from YouTube.

“A lot of times when I see my favorite crafters on Instagram and YouTube, I see that they also do these other hobbies which I decide to try as well,” Vergara said.

From working with yarn to polymer clay, Vergara is continuously finding new crafting hobbies and has no idea what new skill she’ll pursue next.