Starting a purse and accessories business can be far from glamorous, especially during these times where many people’s daily outfits now consist of pajamas and sweatpants. However, college senior Jonica Jackson believes that every women deserves a good purse, quarantine or not. Handbag Honey spoke to Jackson about how COVID-19 has affected her business, how she juggles being a student and an entrepreneur, and where she sees herself and Pretty Girl Purses in the future.
Handbag Honey: Can you start off by telling me a little bit about yourself?
Jonica Jackson: My name is Jonica Jackson. I’m 21, and I’ll be a senior at the College of Charleston. My major is public health with a minor in psychology.
HH: What inspired you to start your own business?
JJ: I always wanted to start something [a business] but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. After seeing more of my peers get involved and starting lash [businesses[ and stuff like that, I thought of different things that I could possibly sell. I came up with purses and other little accessories like anklets and things that I know people, like to wear. I like a cute purse. I like cute anklets.
HH: What made you decide to start a purse and accessory business as opposed to a type of business that relates to what you’re studying in college?
JJ: I feel like everyone needs a nice purse and I like fashion. I like shopping, things like that. So, I think everyone needs something to tie an outfit together and make it pop.
HH: What were some initial challenges you had when starting your own business and how were you able to overcome them?
JJ: knowing how to set up a website was my main challenge I faced and also finding vendors to buy the products from. My sister has a business on Teachers Pay Teachers. She’s a Spanish teacher and she puts up different assignments on Teachers Pay Teachers. So, she helped me set up my website on Etsy.
HH: When did Pretty Girl Purses launch?
JJ: I initially launched it on May 27 of this year.
HH: How would you describe the style of your company? What type of customers shop at Pretty Girl Purses?
JJ: I try to cater towards all age groups. I have smaller purses for children and then, I have medium size purses for young adults my age and high schoolers. I’ve added some bigger purses for older women not old because I know [women] like my mom, she likes to carry bigger purses because [older women] have more stuff to put in [their] purses.
HH: How has COVID-19 affected your business?
JJ: t’s hard to get the word out because I just have to promote on social media because I don’t want to [go out] and get infected or infect people. It’s harder to promote on social media because not everyone sees what you post all the time.
HH: How do you balance your time between being a student and running your own company?
JJ: Well, I haven’t experienced it yet full on because I’m on summer vacation. At school, I normally have a planner. So, [I’ll use my planner] to make sure I have time for both [school and Pretty Girl Purses].
HH: Where do you see yourself and Pretty Girl Purses in the next five years?
JJ: Hopefully in the next five years, It’ll be a six figure business. I plan on going to grad school. My main goal is to become a pediatrician but before I go to medical school, I think I’ll try to work for the CDC.
HH: What’s one thing you wish you would have known before starting your business?
JJ: You shouldn’t just expect someone to support what you’re doing. Just keep pushing and doing what you have to do to get yourself out [there] because if you expect too much from somebody then you’ll be disappointed.
HH: Anything else?
JJ: I appreciate everyone who does support me.
HH” Who have been your biggest supporters?
JJ: My mom and my best friend