Ayo Skeete didn’t plan on making a jewelry business when she grew up.
“I just always liked doing crafty things,” Skeete said with a shrug.
Growing up in Ahwatukee Foothills, Skeete spent her middle school years making and selling necklaces to her mom’s friends. She always enjoyed baking and other creative hobbies.
These days, her entrepreneurial skills are a little more sophisticated.
The 2007 Desert Vista High School graduate began Arizona State University as an interior design major. When she graduated in May of this year, it was with a bachelor of arts degree in design studies. However, one of the biggest decisions in her life came in February 2010, when she started to sell what was once only the product of a hobby on Etsy.com.
Etsy is a web-based company that creates a marketplace specifically for handcrafted or vintage items. It connects the 800,000 individual shops in 150 different countries with Etsy’s 25 million unique monthly visitors, according to the company website. It was started when one of the founders felt the other online commerce sites were too crowded with “overstock electronics and broken appliances.”
The resulting site caters to people looking to sell unique items and those who seek one-of-a-kind creations.
Now, through Etsy, Skeete sells her jewelry around the country and around the world. Many of her American customers aren’t even from Arizona and she gets a lot of international buyers from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
“A lot of my jewelry is personal style. I make it to go with what I wear,” Skeete said.
Ayofemi Jewelry uses high quality stones, beads and chains to create unique necklaces, bracelets, earrings and wedding jewelry.
“It’s bohemian with a little local, Southwestern touch. I use feathers, turquoise and natural stone,” Skeete said.
Delicate beaded gold chains are paired with feather pendants and natural stone. Bright cord threads are interwoven with gold chain to create friendship bracelets.
Each piece is made to order and takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.
Skeete tries weighing a relatively inexpensive price for the quality, while keeping it viable for her business.
For now at least, this is Skeete’s job plan. She works full time creating jewelry, promoting her brand and taking care of the administrative side of things.
Prices range from $16 to $70, depending on the accessory.
Eventually, Skeete is looking to increase her jewelry making skills by taking classes that will teach her how to make even the metal pedants that accent her jewelry.
You can see Skeete’s work at www.ayofemijewelry.etsy.com
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