ST. MICHAEL’S ALUM HAS A CAREER MAKING JEWELRY – Defender

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By Peyton Edwards | Visual editor | [email protected]you

At 15, Francesca D’Elia, owner of Homegrown Jewelry and alumnus of St. Michael’s, discovered a passion for jewelry making after attending an after-school program that introduced her to wirework, a form basics of jewelry making.

“I could sit for hours and follow Pinterest tutorials or YouTube tutorials of basic designs,” D’Elia explained. His hobby grew into a small business that grew into the successful business that Homegrown Jewelry is today.

“I was at my first craft show, I was selling a decent amount, and all of a sudden I was like waiting, I can actually, like pursuing this further,” she said.

D’Elia explained that she was grateful for starting her business early.

At 23, D’Elia now has a jewelry business she started from scratch that has a plethora of customers and followers. “It’s really crazy how far the company and I have come. When I think about starting my business at 15 compared to 23, it’s really weird how I’ve changed, how the business has changed. But like it’s still happening,” D’Elia said.

Whether it’s starting with having a table at a craft show or having an online presence including a website, advertisements, as well as selling in a few wholesale stores, D’Elia said she has had many successes along her journey.

When she started her business, she wore her “teenage blinders,” meaning she didn’t have to think about rent, jobs or other commitments.

“I always suggest to people, if you have something you think you want to do, start as soon as possible, because there’s never going to be a perfect time,” D’Elia said.

When she started Homegrown Jewelry, she didn’t know about common business practices or wonder if she could manage them financially. She focused solely on making and selling jewelry.

D’Elia came to St. Michael’s in 2016 hoping to put her business aside to focus on studies, but after two months at school, her friends discovered her jewelry business and jumped on the hook. opportunity to help him. D’Elia had her first jewelry exhibit at her dorm, Ryan 251. Word spread and she was surprised at the turnout.

“The dorm was packed for the full two hours of people my age, upper classes, all the O leaders I had met, it was so crazy,” D’Elia said.

Rosemary D’Elia, Francesca’s mother, has seen the business and her daughter grow since she started seeing jewelry at age 15. She remembers a very proud moment when she heard about Francesca’s first show.

Francesca sits at her workspace as she creates a pair of earrings.

“I remember she called me. She FaceTimed me and just held the phone in her room and she was like, I’m in tears, mom, I’m in tears. Francesca explained that the sheer joy of her accomplishment was so overwhelming.

Francesca has three sisters, all of whom are at St. Michael’s. Rosemary explained that growing up, they all leaned on each other for support, which she attributes to Francesca’s “Yeah, I’m a girl and I can be a badass” energy.

Throughout performing, making jewelry, commissioning, and building a business, Francesca explained that her mother was the one who was always there through the exciting times and the hardships. Rosemary said she would always be willing to help out with Francesca’s shows and was happy to do so because she saw her daughter chasing her dream. “She can have her events, and she’s not going to worry too much about lunch because I can be there. I can, you know, bring lunch or carry things, or whatever needs to be done,” a- she explained.

Rachael Prescott, another St. Michael alumna from the Class of 2020, lived with D’Elia for three years. Prescott has been by D’Elia’s side throughout his college career while helping him grow the business and the brand.

“When she was in school, she would set up her jewelry tools on her desk, and in the middle of the day, I would come home from class right downstairs, and we would just hear hammering upstairs making jewelry in his room.”

Prescott explained how she could tell that D’Elia was so passionate about her work because she would connect it in some way to all aspects of her life. “We both thought it was so much fun to be able to grow our skills and experience with each other, and feed each other creatively while we were still learning,” Prescott explained.

Because Prescott was an MJD major, she photographed D’Elia’s jewelry and helped promote her shows on social media.

D’Elia felt that same supportive energy throughout her four years at St. Michael’s from everyone on campus. “Whenever I did a show at Alliot or had something to do there, it was always packed and always always like people were cheering me on. Teachers would come to my shows, which was really fun,” she explained.

D’Elia said her teachers were very accommodating to her situation. Knowing that she applied the things she learned in class directly to her business, they would allow her to have creative freedom with projects as they applied to her business to gain more real-world experience. .

Sadie Pratt ’23 worked for D’Elia as an unpaid intern last semester. Pratt mainly dealt with communicating with customers even though she had no previous sales experience.

“It was cool to work for someone who went to St. Mike’s and is now successful in doing what he wants to do and what makes him happy,” she said. Pratt explained that she remembered seeing D’Elia drop off at Alliot and wanted to know more about her.

“I remember thinking, I think this girl is so cool. I want to love being friends with her, at least getting to know her before she leaves and finishes her senior year,” Pratt said. A week later, the students left for spring break and were unable to return due to COVID.

When Pratt saw an ad on social media that D’Elia was looking for people to work for her, she was hesitant, but applied anyway as it allowed her to explore her options as to what she might want. do with his future.

D’Elia said St. Michael’s was such an important part of Homegrown jewelry making as it is today, and it’s something she can always come back to and connect with people. D’Elia explained that she receives messages today from St. Michael’s graduates who buy her product and give her a note expressing their support for another alumnus.

“Saint Mike’s has always been and I think will always be the number one hype for Homegrown,” D’Elia said.

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