Alfred University sophomore Ashton Julian, when they’re not dealing with homework from the Psychology and English departments, spends their free time hand making kandi bracelets for commission.
Kandi bracelets are made from a type of bead called pony beads, which are chunky, colorful plastic. These bracelets have a rich history in EDM, and rave subcultures as a sign of friendship and unity.
Ashton’s shop began as a quarantine hobby in May 2020, starting with making bracelets for their friends. When they noticed that their friends really enjoyed the gift, Ashton decided that they would try to sell their bracelets online.
Their bracelets are mostly inspired by fictional characters, with some of their more popular designs being centered around anime such as Haikyuu and Danganronpa, however, they can do commissions for bracelets themed around music artists, songs, friend groups, and anniversaries—among others.
The base prices for the premade designs are $3.00 for 1, $5.50 for 2, and $2.50 per bracelet on orders of 3 or more. They charge a flat rate fee of $3.00 for custom commissions because those types of bracelets tend to require more work in coming up with new designs and looking up reference images.
“I was tired of seeing people on Depop overprice their bracelets,” said Ashton. “Like, come on y’all, we both know one single kandi is not worth $10.”
Their shop, which can be identified with the logo accompanying this article (created by @the_procrastinating_artist on Instagram), can be found on https://sevenzeroshop.myshopify.com. They encourage orders through direct messages on either @sevenzerosevens or @sevenzeroshop on Instagram, if customers would like to commission something that isn’t directly available on their Shopify.
However, during their almost two-year run of their shop, they know being a small business owner isn’t as simple as supply-demand.
“I think my biggest advice is probably: don’t give up. Sometimes it takes a while for your business to grow and get returning clients, but if you have patience and notice what people are interested in, or are willing to buy, you’ll be able to make your business successful.”
Additionally, they wished to convey that client-creator boundaries are just as, if not more, important when establishing your small business.
“A lot of the appeal of a small business is being able to communicate directly with the person you are buying from, and most of the time this is really rewarding for both parties. But you need to be able to still draw that line and remember that you are a person, too.”
Being a dual business owner and college student comes with a lot of time management and responsibility, and Ashton reflected on that when expressing disappointment in a client that had been, “blowing up,” their DMs asking frequently if they had shipped his order.
“I’m just a person and this is a small business. Part of the agreement that you make when you buy from a small business is understanding that this is not a full-time job. I’m going to keep you satisfied with your service, but you also need to understand that I have other responsibilities as well, and we need to respect each other in that regard.”
By Sam Sage