Story by Maddy Williams | Contributing Writer
Every college student juggles a myriad of responsibilities. This MTSU senior balances not only her schoolwork, but also her own business.
Ady Layne Helton, 19, started her business, Forged in Grace, a permanent jewelry business, in August.
Helton cheers for MTSU and majors in exercise science. Adding a business was no small task, but she wanted to pursue this dream.
“I love working with people, and with my school and cheerleading schedule being so busy, I loved the idea of making my own schedule,” Helton said.
The lure of becoming an entrepreneur often arises from people wanting to be their own boss. Helton accomplished this while still in college. Helton said she plans to use the money to save for physical therapy school tuition that she starts next year.
“I was inspired to start my permanent jewelry business after I realized there were no permanent jewelry businesses based out of Murfreesboro, so many people were traveling for this experience,” Helton said. “I knew that this was a great opportunity for me to make connections with people.”
Making connections while in college prepares students for the workforce. Helton accomplished this through starting her business.
Val Dando, a customer of the jewelry business, purchased two rings and an anklet. Dando loved her jewelry so much that she hosted a party at her home where people could get their own permanent jewelry done by Helton.
“I actually did a party at my house because it was a fun experience, and I loved the concept of the jewelry,” Dando said. “I love that it’s very dainty…you honestly don’t even feel like you’re wearing it, so that’s why I wanted my friends to try it.”
Helton often travels to parties or does pop-up events.
Helton did pop-up appointments at Vibe Nutrition, a smoothie shop downtown, earlier this month during Murfreesboro’s Sip, Shop and Stroll event.
Helton’s friend owns Vibe Nutrition and allowed her to set up appointments and allow walk-ins. Helton formally worked at Vibe Nutrition during the 2020 holiday season.
“When I told [Vibe Nutrition’s owner] about my new business, she was so supportive,” Helton said. “I saw that there was an event on the square recently that took place after Vibe closed, so she agreed to stay open, and it was a great opportunity for us both.”
Her next pop-up events are at the Social Hour and Silent Auction to Benefit Putting Prayers to Action on Oct. 13 and Serenity Skin on Oct. 14.
Helton said bracelets are her favorite type of jewelry to sell. She also said she loves when customers create a stack of multiple bracelets with different chains.
“It’s always so much fun helping customers decide which chains to pair together,” Helton said.
Helton offers different types of chains. She also sells necklaces, anklets and rings in a variation of chains.
Payton Armstrong, a customer of Helton’s, got a “linked n loaded bracelet,” a chain Helton offers. Armstrong described Helton’s business as personable, and she said she enjoyed getting permanent jewelry from Helton.
“The experience will make you leave feeling refreshed and sparkly,” Armstrong said.
Social media has helped Helton to grow her business and to gain clients like Dando and Armstrong. Helton posts the different chains she sells on her Instagram along with pop-up events and giveaways.
Her Instagram has already grown to almost 300 followers in just one month, helping her gain customers. Helton said social media allowed her to reach people outside of her social circle.
“My family and so many of my friends have been supportive and shared my account with others, so I’ve reached more people than I would be able to just myself,” Helton said. “Many of my clients have shared their experiences on social media, too, so I’ve been able to meet and link so many great people because of social media.”
Helton doesn’t rent a location for her business, but she creates her jewelry and hosts appointments in an in-law suite beside her home.
“My future plans for Forged in Grace are to participate in larger events,” Helton said. “I have a few givebacks planned to support different organizations which I am super excited about, as well as other pop-up events with local businesses.”
Helton’s work with local businesses not only helps her to grow her business, but also supports the community and other businesses trying to grow in Murfreesboro.
“I never realized just how many people were cheering me on and wanted to see me succeed, and I’ve met even more people who are just as supportive,” Helton said. “I think it’s definitely worth taking the risk and starting your own business, as it opens so many doors for you that never seemed possible.”
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email email@example.com.
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