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
Financials: 2013 revenue of $30,000.