The Internet creates new opportunity for young entrepreneurs.

Social Media has given people the opportunity to become successful business owners through the power of connecting people worldwide. Online stores are flourishing and arguably putting a lot of retail stores out of business: online shopping is definitely in high demand.

Over the past few years, Instagram has been a major platform for small businesses, self-proclaimed “public figures,” and artists. Scrolling through our Instagram feed, we see a lot of “models”, photographers, and online stores. There are a plethora of shops that are solely online-based and showcasing their business through Instagram, or any other Social Media platform, has helped them gain the necessary traffic to successfully continue running their business.

If you are particularly into spirituality and all things natural, green, and even “witchy,” crystal jewelry might be for you. Handmade, vintage crafts are all the rage and there are a ton of small businesses on the come-up with their dainty crystal collections. Some known favorites on Instagram for their handmade jewelry are Third Eye Pinecones, Yuva Kala, Barest Bones, and Sacra Luna. These artists exemplify originality and spirituality through their creations.

Valerie Walis, A New York resident and SUNY New Paltz graduate, started up her own business as a handmade jewelry designer. What once started as a hobby, Orion Jewelry Design turned into a stable and successful business that has been running for three years and is in the works for expansion.

“I work as a ski instructor at Hunter Mountain during the winter, and I really started to get into the process of making jewelry one spring after the mountain had closed and I felt like I needed something to continue playing with,” Walis said. “I would sit outside my little studio apartment and mess around with securing smooth river stones I had collected from the creek with wire and hemp.”

It’s always refreshing to know that someone’s job is someone’s passion and that is admired and hoped for in one’s life to achieve. “In the spring and summer, I generally go a little crazy making small little bubbles of resin that encapsulate dried and fresh flowers, ink patterns, insects, and an abundance of other natural elements”, said Walis.

“Utilizing that process, I can wrap those pieces into stunning necklaces that have my vision at every level,” Walis said. “There is something really special to me about honoring the Earth’s creational process that is so much bigger than us. Taking the time to create intricate pendants and rings out of something that was formed tens of thousands of years ago in a location not far from where I live is a really delightful idea to work with.”

Walis’ work is diverse and complex. With the use of high-quality gemstone beads and other raw materials on hand to create a vast range of pieces to sell, she makes earrings, body jewelry, dreamcatchers, and much more. “I try to stay very active in every step of my process, and anything I have the chance to put my touch on, I will.”

Being an entrepreneur is especially important when owning a small business with the means of getting yourself out there and making connections. Walis’ presents her work at music festivals, farmers markets, and other outdoor events to showcase her wonderful designs on a beautifully set-up booth.

“I like to arrange my tables and booth in a way that the whole is just as visually striking as each individual piece that is being displayed, so that people are taking home a piece of a larger entity that is living and changing, but maintaining a certain aesthetic that is intriguing, yet difficult to pinpoint,” Walis said.

For anybody looking to start their own business, it is undoubtedly challenging, but worth it if your heart is in it. Everybody has an artist in them and sometimes creating for yourself is not enough and that is when sharing with the world can be greatly rewarding.

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