Maria Angulo, a junior at the University of Iowa, uses her creative side to make pendants to sell through her small business, Groovy Pendys, on Etsy. Angulo is a full-time student who is majoring in health and human physiology under the health studies track, but she likes to make and sell the popular pendants in her free time. She uses her creative ideas in many aspects of her life, such as tutoring, advertising and the creation of her pendants.
The pendants Angulo creates are very unique. Many have many different designs and themes. For instance, some have flowers inside them, while still others have resin, birthstones, geode slices and other fun ideas that have stemmed from Angulo’s creativity. Even as she plays around with different designs and determines which are the most popular ones, Angulo’s business has continued to grow.
Angulo’s Twitter, Etsy and Instagram pages showcase the popular pendants that she creates and sells. Her five-star Etsy page has reviews from very satisfied customers, many even saying they will buy more products from Groovy Pendys in the future. Her creativity and innovation with the handmade pendants allow her to run a successful small business on top of being a full-time student.
Samantha Jorgens: When did you start making the pendants?
Maria Angulo: I started making them around the end of last year, around January.
SJ: How did you come up with the idea of Groovy Pendys?
MA: For as long as I have remembered, I have always been super creative. I made jewelry when I was little and I would just sell it to my family. Then I stopped doing that because, well, I was 8 years old and there was nowhere that business was going to go.
I would see on Twitter how the whole small business aspect was going on, and I really liked some of the stuff I saw. Then one day I purchased a pendant from a small-business owner. When I got it, I thought it was so cute and interesting. I just thought how simple and easy it was to make it and decided to make some of my own.
SJ: Why are you running a small business while you are still a student?
MA: My brother is also in college now, and I know it’s harder for my parents because they also own a small business and they also have to keep track of that. So I said figured I would give it a go.
SJ: What was the beginning of you making the pendants like?
MA: I knew the area I live in Iowa has two crystal shops, so I decided to go there and borrow a few crystals; I got some wire and then from there it was pretty easy. It started there and then I blew up. I messed around with a lot of ideas, looking at Pinterest and stuff like that, and then I meshed my own ideas with it.
SJ: When did your business get really popular and start to take off?
MA: Where I really blew up was with the geode slices, with the pendants with flowers inside them and pendants with resin inside. That’s where I really hit the top and I have expanded Groovy Pendys since then.
SJ: Do you use your creativity in any other aspects of your life?
MA: I do. I am a tutor at my school and I use a lot of creative thoughts when it comes to making our workplace fun and organized. Also, I work on advertising, which takes a lot of creativity.
SJ: How do you find time to make the pendants with school, working, friends and family to manage as well?
MA: I’m really good at managing my time; I kind of figured that out during my freshman year. But definitely doing these pendants, they do take up a good chunk of my time. I usually just set some of my time apart at night. Sometimes it depends — if I am really busy with finals, then I won’t touch it, or I’ll try to only do it twice a week for about an hour or so.
Usually, I’ll come home from the library at night and sit there and work on them for about an hour and a half before I go to sleep. Groovy Pendys is like my therapy: I just want to do it because after school I can come home, sit back, and do some fun stuff by making them rather than doing homework.
SJ: Do you see a future for Groovy Pendys?
MA: I really do hope I can continue because it really intrigues me when I am making them. My future plans are to become a nurse and then eventually to become a midwife. I know as soon as I start nursing school my schedule will be really busy, and I don’t know if it is going to be able to continue, but I think it would be really cool to keep it going.
SJ: Where do you get a lot of your inspiration from?
MA: When I first got started I got a lot of inspiration from this artist called Enersoul. She was the first person to inspire me. But then after that I also got a lot of inspiration being on Pinterest, taking and trying different ideas using my creativity. The big geode slices I have made are really cool. I try to make ones with flowers or ones with resin inside.
I think and I see what ones feel and look really nice. A lot of my ideas come at the time I am making jewelry and I see what I like and don’t like.