The fashionable, Disney-obsessed honors student has suddenly become immersed in a small, yet high-demand hair accessory business. Many girls from Costa Mesa High are fans of her Facebook page, Janelle's Bow Bank, which is where her customers comment on photos to buy bows, which Janelle makes by hand and posts to the page.
The girls at Costa Mesa high school have gone into a bow-buying frenzy. “Everyone is wearing bows now,” commented sophomore Janet Acevedo. But the bows sell quickly, so if you plan on purchasing one, be sure know when the next batch is being posted in order to utilize the refresh button and comment speedily. The designs range from solid colors to quirky prints. Janelle has also started producing lace bows due to popular demand. “I’m going to buy one soon,” said Yessenia Villa, “They’re really cute.”
Janelle has recently began her very first contest on the page, that ends Friday, May 2nd. The winners get a preview of the upcoming batch of bows to be posted, as well as a free small bow.
Read more to find out about how this business came to be.
Q: What got you into your business?
A: I'm a really DIY type of person, and I posted my bows into Instagram and Facebook, which is how people saw and started to want them. They offered to pay, so I started to make more of them and see if they would sell, and it all kind of went from there. After that, I created my actual page in the beginning of February.
Q: At first, did you make them just for yourself or did you intend to sell them from the start?
A: I just made them for myself because I'm a bow person and I'm super obsessed with them, which is weird because I don't really wear my own bows now, but they were for personal use at first - which was like two hours and then two hours later they were basically on sale actually and I started my business. So it was like the same day that I made them for myself and started my business.
Q: Why don't you wear the bows you make yourself anymore?
A: It's like when I'm baking stuff, and later I don't have an appetite for it. It's the same with my bows. I feel really awkward wearing them. I don't know. After I started selling them, I just lost interest. I'm so into making them for everyone else that I don't have time to assemble my own bows because I'm making them to go out.
Q: Who are your current customers?
Right now, it's mostly based in [Costa] Mesa [High], so all of my friends, friends of friends, but mostly Mesa. I'm trying to expand right now. A lot of people from other schools are messaging me, and hopefully I'll be opening a website sometime soon so I can get a further customer radius. But right now it's mostly people from school and friends of friends.
Q: How much time do you devote to your business?
I'm really busy during school, but after school I try to make like 5-10. On the weekends, especially this [last] weekend I've really been trying to get them out and I feel bad that they have to wait. But this weekend I was up until two in the morning trying to make them on Saturday, which was like four hours straight. So I spend a good amount of time on it, especially on the weekends because I wanna make people happy and so they don't have to wait as long.
Q: What motivates you to keep doing it?
Mostly the people. But both people and money obviously, because I'm a high school student I need the money, but it's like 25% for the money and 75% how I see people at school wearing them. I like when I see a handful of people wearing them. It's not a lot, but for such a small business it's a lot for me and I get a lot of good feedback. It makes me happy that I know my work isn't going to waste.
Q: We're heard that bow ties for the guys might be a possibility in the future. Is that true?
It's super stressful right now. I'm still thinking about it, but I might postpone the bow ties until next school year just because I don't have time to get all of the materials for prom this year, which I was aiming for, but I don't think that's going to happen. So maybe next school year, bow ties will be out for the guys.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of this business?
I'd like to hopefully build my website to a legitimate website, not just a small number of people. I'd like to see it go into stores one day, and maybe open up my own shop if it gets that big. But I'm starting small, and it's fragile, but I hope that it will expand into a real company one day even though this isn't what I want to do. But if it goes there, I'd like for it to go there. I'm also opening a YouTube channel this summer, which I can promote on if that goes well to get a bigger crowd. So it depends on the circumstances and opportunities I'm given.