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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Friends pool talents to create jewelry-making non-profit

Rani Khanna
Junior Rani Khanna tweezes metal pieces together for a batch of earrings over Thanksgiving break. 

Junior Rani Khanna recalls the feeling of accomplishment that went with making her first piece of jewelry in 6th grade at Hillbrook Middle School. She tried to get the shape of a piece of clay just right on her first try, squeezed a drop of light blue dye into the little ball and shaped it into an upside-down “U.” After attaching a French hook ear wire to the top, Khanna’s first earring piece was done and ready to be worn. 

Since then, Khanna has gotten hooked on the hobby and has been producing jewelry for her friends and family. Over time and with access to better materials, Khanna has learned to use marbled clay, metal and other materials to make many more varieties of earrings. She has even waded into running a jewelry-making business. 

“I’ve been making jewelry for a while, and my friends always told me I should start my own business, but I never really thought of it as a possibility until my friend Sanjoli suggested that we just try it,” Khanna said.

Khanna and senior Sanjoli Gupta started their non-profit — Rani Sam’s Jewelry — in April, and have been working to expand it ever since. As a registered non-profit, they donate their profits to the Santa Cruz Disaster Fund, an organization that helps residents of Santa Cruz recover from earthquakes, floods, fires and other natural disasters. 

“We wanted to combine our love for making jewelry with giving back to the community, so creating a place to sell Rani’s handmade jewelry and donating the profits was rewarding and felt impactful,” Gupta said. 

According to Khanna, molding, baking and applying a resin glaze to every batch of a dozen clay earrings can take up to four hours. To balance her jewelry-making with her school work, she allocates time on weekends to make batches of earrings. Khanna makes a variety of earring designs, ranging from marbled clay studs to dangling metal hearts with pearls. 

Courtesy of Rani Khanna

Dangling metal earrings sold on their Etsy shop. 

While Khanna works to create earrings, Gupta manages the marketing and promotion of the business. Every month, Khanna and Gupta are averaging sales of around five pairs for $30 each on their Etsy shop

“It was difficult because we had never had a small business before,” Gupta said. “We worked to create a website, social media accounts, Etsy page and get 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization.”

Through their journey to starting and maintaining their non-profit, Khanna and Gupta have been learning about many business management skills like marketing, processing orders and offering holiday discounts. According to Gupta, creating and maintaining a social media and Etsy page takes a lot of time and energy, but the support of customers is gratifying. 

“If you want to start a business, you should just do it,” Khanna said. “It’s intimidating to start, but once you do the first step, it just gets the ball rolling.”

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