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No shoes, no shirt, no problem...My company's mission statement to take on Tiffany's. A company I bet never had to deal with angry seagulls or torrential downpours. All entrepreneurial landmines I successfully maneuvered around. All the while wondering, (like most people) how does sand get in everything?

      My name is Maria Jaeckel and I am the founder, designer, and CEO of Blue Bone Jewelry LLC. I grew up wearing a school uniform from ages five through eighteen and jewelry was always the one thing I could add to my uniform that allowed me to express myself. I have always been interested in fashion and the idea of designing my own jewelry seemed like a fantasy to me. I decided to turn that fantasy into reality when I saw an opportunity and ran with it.

      The passion I have for jewelry design and entrepreneurship is unmatched in anything else I do. Blue Bone has given me a place where I can freely be myself—illustrating my ambitions and allowing me to uncover a sense of confidence. That being said, I want to share with you the journey of Blue Bone Jewelry thus far.

      In June of 2016, my parents told me it was time to get a summer job. Considering we live at the Jersey shore during the summer, the idea of working six hours a day standing behind a counter was not appealing to me. Ever since I was young, I have always been an innovative and creative person. I began tinkering with different ideas on how I could earn money without taking away from my treasured beach time. I had always been interested in jewelry design, and after much thought and contemplation, I made the decision to challenge myself. I decided on Saturday mornings at the beach, I would sell my handmade jewelry. What started out as something small to satisfy my parents turned into my own lucrative beach side business, Blue Bone Jewelry.

      I wrote a two-page business proposal and presented it to my parents, requesting a two-hundred-dollar loan to get myself started. While they fully supported my ideas, we both had our reservations considering I had never made a piece of jewelry before in my life. However, my parents agreed to invest in my business idea and willingly put up the two-hundred-dollars. My parents have always been my biggest supporters. They have instilled a confidence within me and taught me to always believe in myself.

      I put that two-hundred-dollar loan to immediate use and soon began learning the ropes of the trade, though it was no quick process. It was not right away that I had steady and successful techniques for creating my products. I faced many small battles at first, though all bearable and able to be fixed. I went through multiple brands of string, and countless trips to craft stores until I found supplies that somewhat worked. It took me approximately forty-five minutes to create one bracelet, so my turn around time was not ideal either. Additionally, I photographed my products on an iPhone then posted them to Instagram and hoped one of my seventy-five followers might be interested…definitely not the ideal marketing strategy. We all have to start somewhere, right?

      Only one short month later, I hosted my first pop up shop. Needless to say, I was extremely nervous. Standing outside Lava Java, a coffee shop one block from the beach in Lavallette, New Jersey, I set up my Nana’s old card table and displayed an array of jewelry pieces. I sat there patiently early Saturday morning and crossed my fingers hoping the residents of my small mile-long beach town might be interested in buying some handmade jewelry. To my surprise, I was sold out in just a couple of hours. That one pop-up served as a launching pad for what was to come. I was immediately determined and motivated to make my small business the best it can be. I sat in that exact location on the sidewalk every Saturday morning for years following. Hosting these weekly pop-up shops allowed me to garner a consistent customer outreach. This exposure allowed my company to grow and develop a little bit more each weekend.

      If you had asked me in 2016 if Blue Bone would become what it is today, I would have thought you were crazy. Running my own business has taught me the value of discipline and time management. I have learned that it’s okay to take risks, and that I should continue to explore new ideas while remaining goal oriented. I spend countless hours working on my small business, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Designing jewelry is a limitless adventure that brings me an authentic sense of happiness. Anyone who knows me can tell you how much Blue Bone means to me. I am eager for what the future holds for my small business.

      Only time will tell where Blue Bone Jewelry will end up. A small company formed on the ideals of creativity and social enjoyment, founded in a small town with my feet in the sand, may just end up on the streets of New York City or Paris. Someday, when walking into my shop on Rodeo Drive, I’ll never forget where it all started; no shoes, no shirt, no problem.

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