Business admistration junior Jenny Hoekstra sat on her backyard deck. The golden hour sunlight struck the turquoise beads of her newly made, wire-wrapped earrings, a creation she thought up as she comfortably laid on her lime green yoga mat. Lost in the trance that is her craft, Hoekstra was in her element.
Hoekstra started her business, Jenz Jewels, her senior year of high school upon searching for a means to fundraise for a humanitarian trip to Malawi, Africa.
To raise money, Hoekstra began to create bracelets and anklets, using thread and charms for her designs.
“I needed a way to make money and I like being creative. It basically just stuck out to me as something to do,” Hoekstra said. “I like harnessing my creativity; it’s really therapeutic.”
Realizing her love for crafting jewelry, Hoekstra began to harness her hobby, teaching herself how to wire wrap through online videos.
“Jenz Jewels reflects not only her knack for jewelry craft, but also the artistry that goes into every one of [Hoekstra’s] pieces,” animal science junior and customer of Jenz Jewels Keiko Eastman said. “They are charming, simple, yet bold and can tie together any outfit. Each one is unique and a testament to the time and thought put into it. I wear mine almost everyday.”
Hoekstra describes her jewelry as simplistic and minimal, representing the things she likes in life, including shells, wire and unique charms.
“I really like simplicity. That’s the type of jewelry that I tend to choose,” Hoekstra said. “I think jewelry highlights your features and everyone’s so different. People see different things in different items.”
Hoekstra is currently working towards expanding her Instagram business, using her free time to create new pieces. She finds the most solace in designing items for her close friends and family.
“Everything’s super cute and customizable per person so it’s all super unique,” English junior and long-time supporter of Jenz Jewels Lara Haller said. “She makes the jewelry have a homey touch while still looking like it was made at a store and I always get compliments on my rings.”
Hoekstra sells all her items on her business Instagram handle @jenz_jewels. Hoekstra also takes custom requests. Her pieces average about $7 per item based on the materials used and time designated.
“If I like a piece, I post it to the Instagram page and if someone wants to buy it, they’ll comment or DM me,” Hoekstra said. “If the person is in [San Luis Obispo], I’ll usually try to meet up with them to save on postage, but if not, I’ll mail it out.”
Hoekstra makes it a mission to support small businesses in San Luis Obispo, buying most of her supplies from Beads by the Bay’ in Morro Bay. According to Hoekstra, San Luis Obispo is the best place for small businesses.
“[San Luis Obispo] is such a cool town to be your own entrepreneur because people really respect self-starters,” Hoekstra said.
She hopes to put more time into her business this summer, acknowledging the therapeutic properties it has for her.
“It’s the main thing I do to let out my creative outlet,” Hoekstra said. “You have to take time to self-care and it’s kind of a reflection to how much self-care I take for myself. I feel like everyone should have something that they do that reflects their level of self-care.”