How Alicia Juarez launched a small business during the pandemic


Melissa Camarena

Earrings designed by Alicia Juarez.

Alicia Juarez ‘22 did not expect to start making handmade masks and earrings during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Juarez is a 16-year-old junior at La Quinta High School—but she’s also a creative entrepreneur with an Etsy shop and an Instagram page

She sells handmade earrings and masks with different types of patterns, such as a green leaf print, cow print, bee fabric print, and a black cross fabric print. 

The earrings are colorful, fun, and unique. The ones that are available are pumpkin designs, mushrooms, crystal butterflies, flat pearls with silver dolphins, and many more. Both the masks and earrings could be worn by anyone and are sold at a very affordable price, ranging from $8 to $10.

“Over the pandemic, I think that I’ve learned more about myself than I have in a while,” she said, “just because we were all forced to take the time for ourselves.”

Making jewelry was not something she thought would initially be interested in. 

Yet Juarez started making masks for her shop in July because the masks were needed in her community and throughout the country. She decided to take out her old sewing machine and start making masks. Afterward, she eventually started to make earrings.  

We were all forced to take the time for ourselves.”

— Alicia Juarez

Juarez mentioned that she has already been selling secondhand on Poshmark and Mercari. Both Poshmark and Mercari are online social marketplaces where you could sell and buy items from other people. 

She says she is already familiar with the mailing process, shipping labels, and the post office. Having an organized setup makes the mailing and making process easier for her to do. 

She enjoys making earrings more because they are “a lot less time-intensive because I have all the supplies already here. It’s not like I need to find a new thread or cut more fabric or just make sure things are in place. It’s very much so figuring out what looks good with what and then just simply cutting a piece of wire and rounding it so it could make a hook.” 

It takes about five to ten minutes to make each mask if everything is already prepped. On the other hand, making the earrings takes only a few seconds. 

Melissa Camarena
Earrings designed by Alicia Juarez.

Making the earrings requires the earring design itself and a hook. She has the earring design itself and hooks separated. That way when she gets an order, she simply puts whatever earring design was ordered onto the hook and then sends it out.

Juarez gets her inspiration to continue her shop from the people she follows and the community on Instagram. Since she follows an online community similar to her shop aesthetic, she said that seeing what is helping other people with their businesses and shops is helpful to her. She describes her shop’s aesthetic to be “light and airy, almost like a coffee shop.” 

A caring and open-minded person, she tries her best to make others comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Juarez is also in two IB classes and takes part in many other events outside of school. She is a part of the school’s HOSA, CSF, and Key Club.

One of Juarez’s long-term goals in life is to become a nurse practitioner. 

“I do want to be a nurse practitioner, specifically in OB/GYN,” she said. “I’ve been within an OB/GYN facility and worked with the nurse practitioners there before, and nursing is something I’ve always wanted to do.” 

Volunteering to work with the nurse practitioners over time made Juarez want to look further into the OB/GYN field. She believes that the skills that she has learned through being an entrepreneur have taught her how to be independent and manage her finances, as well as how to communicate with others and solve issues as they come. 

“I have enjoyed my experience there and hope to continue volunteering,” Juarez said. “All the physicians care about their patients and it’s not hard to see. Everyone on the staff is invested in giving the best care that they can, and I want to be a part of a staff where I can deliver the same type and quality of care.”