Updated on December 5, 2017
From Student to Entrepreneur
When you think of someone starting and running their own business, you probably envision someone older than 23 years old and in college. Sarah Smyth, an Auburn graduate from Madison, Alabama, has changed the jewelry game by starting her own business in college.
In June 2016, Smyth began making jewelry from scratch because she couldn’t afford to buy her own when she came home from studying abroad. She says her jewelry company, Raw & Rebellious, started “totally on accident.” “People really liked it and I had a friend that managed a boutique at home that offered to sell it in her store. I posted it on Instagram when I started selling it and it kind of just caught on from there,” Symth says.
Raw & Rebellious, named after Smyth’s exotic and unique style, creates jewelry ranging from necklaces to bracelets to anklets to rings. As far as style, Smyth chose to create her jewelry brand following her own style and not conforming to the status quo. “I made and continue to make things that I like and that fit my style in hopes that others will like it too. I try and make things as unique as possible,” says Smyth of the qualities that set her apart from her competition.
Having a wide target audience is important to Smyth and her brand. Smyth says she wants her brand to reach to all ages including those younger and older than her. “I don’t just want people to wear my necklaces, I want it to be a brand that people want to represent and a name that people want to know,” says Smyth.
In just a year and a half, Raw & Rebellious has gained a huge following on social media with over 31,500 followers on Instagram. Whether you’re in the Auburn, Birmingham or Madison area, chances are you’ve seen the works of this fast-growing company. Although a lot of R & R’s inventory is sold from Instagram, the company has its own website that shows the different styles and lengths the company sells. Smyth has gained part of her following by putting on trunk shows at sorority chapter rooms and selling inventory to local boutiques. “I continue to reach out to people with large social media followings and we have tons of girls that reach out to us daily.”
For now, R & R is enough to keep this 2017 graduate on her feet, being a full-time, self-employed manager of 9 other employees. As for the future of R & R, it’s up in the air. Smyth says she has no idea where the future will lead her business as she’s taking it day by day and is taking everything in stride rather than planning for the future.