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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Student creates handmade jewelry business

Kayla Little ’22 tries on Gasarowski’s rings at her vendor table during the Rock at Radio Fest on April 30. PHOTO: ALLISON KITE ’22/THE HAWK

Sally may sell seashells down by the seashore, but Janine Gasarowski ’22 sells hers on Etsy. 

In fact, Gasarowski’s seashell jewelry — shells framed by woven string and decorated with colorful, beaded chains — is only one of many handmade products for sale on her Etsy shop, JanineRayArt. Gasarowski also sells crystal jewelry and wire wrapped rings.

While Gasarowski, a double major in art and communication studies, said she has been creating art since she was young, she officially opened her shop in the summer of 2020 during the pandemic.

“I had a lot of free time, and I live in Seaside so I had access to lots of seashells,” Gasarowski said. “No one was there taking them, but I found a lot that had holes and I was like, ‘This is perfect for jewelry.’ So I started making jewelry and I opened up [my Etsy shop].”

Two years later, Gasarowski is still creating and building her business. While her crystal rings are the most popular item in Philadelphia, she said her seashell products are most popular with customers at the shore. 

“Seashell jewelry sells better in Seaside because everyone likes wearing their own beach,” Gasarowski said.

Gasarowski’s Etsy shop is not the only place she sells her art. She has recently been seen behind vendor tables on campus at events like the Art Festival earlier this month and at the Rock at Radio Fest this past weekend. There, she also sells other forms of art, such as paintings and prints of those paintings.

Gasarowski said the art she creates helps her connect with friends and family. Allie Vanetti ’22, one of Gasarowski’s friends and supporters, said she and Gasarowski love to paint, draw and even make rings together. 

“One of the topics that we continue to talk about on a regular basis would be our art,” Vanetti said. “It’s nice to have a friend I can understand in an artistic sense.” 

Gasarowski also shares her love of arts and crafts with her older sister, Jillian, who has an Etsy shop of her own, OliveAndEmmaShop. There she sells crocheted items, like scarves and hats.  

“My sister started an Etsy shop around the same time I did, so we always bonded over that and talked about our sales,” Gasarowski said.

While Gasarowski sells to people from around the world, one of her recurring customers is the mother of her boyfriend, Ted Chesson ’22.

“My mom has bought her rings because she saw them and loves them,” Chesson said. “A lot of times, when I’m hanging out with [Janine and my family], we are all just sitting there and watching TV, [and] she’ll just be sitting there with a little ring sizer and wire.” 

The prices of Gasarowski’s crystal rings range between $9 and $24. Her seashell necklaces are $15 and $25, and her shell earrings are between $10 and $20. But Gasarowski said she didn’t create her shop to make money. 

“I made the shop to share my jewelry with other people,” Gasarowski said. “It’s just a fun way to solidify my hobby.”

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