Students use their marketing skills to start their own business

It all began when they wanted to see how well their jewelry pieces would sell online

Sarah Moradi (left) and Tanya Martynishyna (right), founders of Vellicora Jewels. Moradi and Martynishyna are standing in the doorway of their home, where they run their small business out of. COURTESY Sarah Moradi and Tanya Martynishyna

When two university students began coming up with jewelry designs, they had no idea their new hobby would become a revenue-generating business.

Sarah Moradi, 21, and Tanya Martynishyna, 20, founded Vellicora Jewels in June 2020, a brand of affordable, quality jewelry. The intent behind selling their products was to try something new and explore their marketing capabilities rather than seeking profit.

“I think a big part of it came from the fact that it was COVID and there was also not that much that we could put our energy into, so we decided to do something that we originally started as a passion project,” Martynishyna said. 

A year later, their website has over 40 pieces to choose from, including customizable jewelry and a men’s line, and they’ve been successful in meeting their sales targets.

“Basically we wanted to start because we wanted to create an affordable jewelry line that still had great quality and interesting pieces, we felt like that was missing in the market,” Moradi said. 

For the founders of Vellicora, jewelry is an essential accessory that can elevate and personalize any outfit.

“Whether you like gold or silver, or you’re more of a necklace or ring person, it really is something so personal and it just adds the perfect spice to pretty much any outfit you wear,” Martynishyna said.

The inspiration for their pieces comes from their personal style and reflects jewelry they would like wear themselves.

“I love the colour blue and I’ve always wanted to find blue jewelry, but it’s so hard to find accented blue jewelry for summer. So that’s what I definitely wanted to bring in,” Moradi said. 

“Right now I’m super into colour so because of that we decided to add colourful jewelry,” Martynishyna said.

The pair met at York University’s Schulich School of Business, where they studied in marketing. As first-time business owners, they said one of their biggest challenges has been building their brand without any guidance, and figuring out the shipping process.

“That was really difficult, because it was super complicated and no one really wrote down how to do it exactly,” Moradi said.

Sarah Moradi (left) and Tanya Martynishyna (right), founders of Vellicora Jewels behind a pile of packaged orders, ready for shipment. Since they began their business during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been working from home.

“It was a lot of learning as we went along, and for me originally that learning curve was a little bit more difficult than I would like to admit it was,” Martynishyna said.

Martynishyna and Moradi have learned plenty about running a business, and the rewards go beyond the meeting sales targets.

“Getting to know the people who buy our products,and building that community, and having that relationship with them is something that really is the most rewarding thing to me,” Martynishyna said. 

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Posted: Jun 19 2021 8:32 am
Filed under: First-Timers Spotlight On Small Biz