In these unprecedented times, students at the University of La Verne have taken matters into their own hands and started businesses to support themselves and pursue their passion projects.
From makeup products and press-on nails to customized tumbler cups, their projects are creative, and they hope, lucrative as well.
Meilani Aguila, a sophomore biology major, started her makeup business Killa Glow in November.
“The business first started as a side hustle for me to invest in, but I fell in love with the creative process for it as well,” Aguila said.
Killa Glow has all vegan products and has won the hearts of many with the “cyberpunk beauty” movement, and has already reached an impressive milestone of more than 1,600 followers on Instagram.
At first the Killa Glow online shop was uncertain because sales were not initially steady. Aguila said that the keys she discovered were patience and consistency on all social media.
“In a few years, I hope that my audience and customer base is a lot larger,” Aguila said, “Hopefully my shop can be a gem in the future for people of every skin tone and shade to order from.”
Aguila hopes to ultimately expand Killa Glow into a clothing brand and skin care company.
Dallas Hurst, a senior biology major, turned her creative passion into a business opportunity with her online shop Because I Love Me, where she makes custom press-on nails.
“Every order is hand-crafted, and I quality test everything that goes into the kits from the cuticle sticks to the nail adhesive tabs to ensure an incredible product,” Hurst said.
Hurst said it was hard at first putting herself out there, because there is a level of vulnerability sharing something she enjoys so much. With the support from her mom, Because I Love Me has an online shop for orders with professional photos taken to capture the essence of each product.
“My business is tailored to make you feel catered to without needing a reason,” Hurst said.
Her goals are to expand the variations of the nails she makes and add jewelry to her business.
Personalized items are very popular, said Angie Lopez, junior broadcast journalism major and founder of Lady Sunshine Crafts. She makes customized tumbler cups that follow themes, including everything from Disney princesses to sports teams, and others.
“I started this business because I started to really enjoy crafting. I bought a Cricut (cutting machine) on sale and got a lot of ideas from Tiktok, and suddenly I had a business,” Lopez said.
Lady Sunshine Crafts has expanded quickly as orders for custom tumbler cups have come flying in and she has started to make a stable income, Lopez said.
“When I made my first cup for my mom’s coworker, everyone at her job saw it and immediately fell in love,” Lopez said, “I love being in touch with my creative side and it really makes it worth it.”
Starting a business is a big time investment, and can be a gamble.
Grazia Watkins, University of La Verne alumna and founder of Rad Beauty Co., said you have to have a fixed mindset and really believe in yourself.
In April Watkins started her eyelash company Rad Beauty, which had been a personal dream of hers since high school.
“Growing up as an athlete I never felt girly and was always seen as the jock,” Watkins said. “I started my company because it made me feel beautiful and I wanted everyone no matter who they are to feel that way too.”
Watkins wants everyone to feel comfortable wearing Rad Beauty products and embrace their individuality.
Deja Goode can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.