Kristen Samulsen began her jewelry business, Pretty Kitten Boutique, because she wanted to create a piercing similar to one her friend had. After a failed internet search to find a similar piece, she purchased the supplies to make it herself. Two years after her first “Etsy” sale, she has studio space at Creative Side Jewelry Academy of Austin and a booth at Georgetown’s Second Saturday Market Days on April 12.

What made you choose Southwestern?

I chose Southwestern because I knew someone in the Theatre Department who enjoyed it. The fact that it was close to Austin is really nice and I liked that it was small.

Did SU play a role in how you’ve created, shaped or grown business?

The community of students has been incredibly supportive of me and my business endeavors. I’ve made a couple of personal orders for people and several people have helped distribute promotional things I’ve made. Everyone’s really interested and accepting of it; it’s been very nice!

Has Pretty Kitten Boutique changed as a result of your experiences as a Southwestern student? Have you as an entrepreneur changed how you do things because of your SU education?

I’ve changed as an entrepreneur because of Southwestern by really promoting myself as customer friendly and making sure my customers get exactly what they want, in the same way that SU is very caring and personalized for its students

Has anybody in particular influenced your business? Who and why?

My family has been very supportive of me and has helped me make some big decisions about moving forward in my business. My cousin has her own floral business in McKinney, and really gave me the confidence to be able to run a business by myself.

How do you balance the student/entrepreneur life?

It’s really exciting to be both a student and a business owner. When I have free time or when I get inspired, I’ll take a big step in my business like designing new items, photographing new products, or taking a class. Other than that, it’s easy to set aside a couple of hours to fill all my orders from the week. It’s gotten to the place I want it - self-sustaining. School always comes first, though. If I’m overwhelmingly busy, I’ll put my shop on vacation mode and focus on homework for a couple of days.

What advice would you give to a student who might want to pursue an idea for a business?

Go for it! If you’re selling something handmade, I really recommend Etsy as a tool for selling your product. It’s a great place to start. Going from there, marketing is extremely important. Make sure you have a good place online where people can find your product or service and be sure to have good pictures!


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