It's no secret that we're huge effing fans of teenage girls--every day, it only becomes clearer that age ain't nothin' but a number. We were super impressed by 16-year-old entrepreneur Emma Johnson, who is the maker and founder of Em John, a preppy, sweet-yet-quirky jewelry line. Her BUST Magazine Craftacular entry was professional and thoughtful far beyond her years, and we're excited to feature Em John as one of our vendors at this December's BUST Magazine Holiday Craftacular & Food Fair!
Read on for the sweet story behind Emma's jewelry line and more...
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Emma Johnson and I’m the 16-year-old founder of Em John Jewelry. Based in New York City, Em John makes hand-cut and hand-tied arm candy from silk and cotton fabric with fun charms.
How did you get started?
When my grandfather passed away from pancreatic cancer in June 2013, I wanted something special to remember him. As an avid tie collector with an endless array of designer dress shirts, he made a fashionable impression on me. Given my passion for bracelets, I decided to turn his clothing into arm candy. I hand-cut and hand-tied strips of colorful material into bracelets, posted a few on Instagram and friends instantly asked to buy them. Em John Jewelry was born.
What's inspiring you right now?
My mom Tory Johnson truly inspires me. She promotes many small businesses every week on her popular Good Morning Americasegments known as “Deals & Steals.” I get a lot of ideas and inspiration from all of the companies she features on the show. Beyond that, being a high schooler in New York City offers endless inspiration. I’m around different types of kids with eccentric styles and so I find ideas for my charm designs from key chains on backpacks, prints on sweaters and just the trends that teenagers love at any given time. I’m also magazine obsessed. Every day I scan the pages and bookmark colors, shapes and designs!
Any advice for those starting out in the handmade industry?
My advice for those starting out in the handmade industry is to just get going. Try lots of ideas until you nail the perfect style. You may have to experiment with different materials (cotton vs. silk) or even equipment (plain shears vs. pinking shears) before discovering what works for your needs. Be patient, curious and open-minded. Ask for feedback from your target market and listen to what they have to say. Don’t assume you can just build it and they will come. Once you create something amazing, it takes a lot of hustle to get noticed and to generate sales. It’s all doable, so go make it happen.
What are you most looking forward to at the BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair this year?
This is my very first holiday show so I’m really excited to show off all things Em John. I want to meet new customers and gain new fans! I also love anything DIY, so I’m looking forward to seeing and stopping by the make-and-take workshop.
Check out Emma's work, as well as the amazing wares of over 250 handmade, vintage, and fancy-food vendors, at the BUST Magazine Holiday Craftacular & Food Fair.
It's all taking place on Saturday, December 14th and Sunday, December 15th at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, at 6th Ave.) in N.Y.C. The Craftacular will run from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM both days.