When she was attending San Diego State, Natalia Benson was organizing an eco-friendly fashion show on campus. A collection of metal jewelry on display caught her attention.

“From that, I felt this

creative itch in my body and I thought I’m really just going to give it a try,” she said. “I started making jewelry in my bedroom. It just came out of nowhere and I haven’t stopped since.”

That was seven years ago. Today, Benson operates her own one-woman jewelry company in the Fairfax District and is preparing to release her first manufactured collection of 45 pieces, to be sold in a few stores and on her website.

Her work is a combination of precious metals and stones in whimsical and smooth designs, many inspired by astrology. Her new collection includes a series of Zodiac rings.

She started out selling handmade pieces on consignment at San Diego boutiques. In 2009, she moved to Los Angeles to expand her company in a bigger market.

She sought money from her parents, business executives themselves, to get her company up and running. They wanted to see a

business plan before shelling out the cash. She wrote one, but she badly underestimated the amount she’d need.

“I only asked for a very small amount at the time but it seemed like so much money,” she said. “After I only made six pieces of the collection, I had to ask for quadruple what I asked for before but it taught me how to write a business plan and approach something more business-minded.”

Last year, she reported

revenue of $30,000 and expects that will double this year.

She says running a company at such a young age hasn’t been difficult for her. Instead, she said her youth elicits kindness or admiration. But it does keep her busy. Benson works up to 14 hours a day and often on weekends, but she enjoys the demands.

“My mantra that’s kept me going is ‘Begin anywhere,’” she said. “I found it on a kitchen magnet and I bought it. I just reminded myself I began this out of nowhere. If you make a decision and you love something enough, you can do it. You just have to be willing to take action.”

– Jacquelyn Ryan

NATALIA BENSON, 27

Natalia Benson, jewelry designer, Fairfax District

Employees: 1

Financials: 2013 revenue of $30,000.

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