Lauren Hollis is the founder of Pineapple Loop and truly embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. What originally started out as a childhood interest, later turned quarantine hobby and now full time business, Pineapple Loop is a rising jewelry company that provides over 50 product options including necklaces, earrings, anklets and customized rings. The vibe is totally on trend and we are obsessed!
As a full time college student while simultaneously running her own business, Hollis knows a thing or two about work ethic and perseverance. Fashion Fundamentals sat down with Hollis to talk with her about her journey as an entrepreneur and her insight on having a business while being a student.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I have always loved selling things. When I was younger I would always want to have a lemonade stand or things like that. When I was around 12 or 13 years old, I started making earrings that were not cute by any means, but I would have friends and family buy them from me. I got a vendor’s license and started selling at little festivals around town.
When quarantine hit I was trying to find something in e-commerce that I could do and thought of what was something that I could do online that I knew how to sell. A lightbulb kind of went off and I knew that I could get good at making jewelry again. I spent all of quarantine teaching myself how to make a website and then I went from there.
How long have you had your own business?
I launched my own website on June 1, 2020. When I was younger I named my business LoLo’s Creations and had my little jewelry business. But I officially launched my website and started selling my products on June 1.
Wow! So you’ve had your business for almost coming up to a year.
Yeah, it definitely has a lot to do with quarantine. On my website I wrote an article explaining everything about myself and how I got into everything. The one quote I had sticking out on it was, “quarantine gave me the one thing that I always needed — time.”
When did you know you were ready for your first launch?
Honestly, I really didn’t know. Around February and March, I was basically starting my website. I was teaching myself, finding videos, taking classes online and searching on how to do these different things. It was a bit of biting the bullet and knowing I had to put a launch date in there somewhere. I didn’t know where and when but I knew I had to do it, so I went on June 1. It was the first day of the month and at the time I only had about 10 products, and now I have around 50.
I saw on your website that you do customized jewelry. Did you always do customized jewelry or did you slowly integrate those options into the product line?
Over the months up until school started I just did jewelry that I was making which was mainly necklaces and earrings. When I went back to school for the first semester I didn’t do anything. Ironically, when I came home for Christmas break I was thinking of how I really wanted to get back into my website and start selling again. I still had it up but I hadn’t really done anything with it, and I was getting a couple sales here and there but it wasn’t doing much.
I wanted to try to do something that was more unique and wasn’t something that someone could say they could find on another website. Honestly, I was on TikTok and I saw someone making customized jewelry and I was like “oh my gosh, that’s what I can do” and a lightbulb went off. I released my customized jewelry about two weeks ago on my website and it went off like a rollercoaster and has been insane ever since then.
How would you describe your brand?
I would say when I initially started it was more of a beach theme and relaxed. When you went to my website, it was almost as if you were shopping for vacation. It has kind of developed from there to more trendy with the customer age range being around teen to young adults.
How has social media played a part in advertising and promoting your business?
Social media is honestly everything. Funny story, two weeks ago when I started the customized jewelry, I started to also make TikToks. I made one four days ago and since then I have had more sales than I have in the past year. TikTok blew up my video and so I can’t even describe how much social media has helped my business because it is seriously the best way to advertise. I first started with Facebook advertising and that helped for a little bit. But TikTok as a free way to let me show what I’m doing and advertise my business has been amazing. I’ve made 10 videos. The 10th one hit that algorithm and I have been up all day just fulfilling orders.
How have you balanced being a student and a business owner?
Having online classes have really helped me with this. I’m personally not a fan of taking online classes and prefer to be in person. However, it has definitely given me the flexibility to do my work when I need to and then do school when I need to. When I came back to school I was definitely a little bit overwhelmed. I was logging into class while also working on jewelry so I did get a little overwhelmed.
I first had to sit myself down, get a planner and make a schedule. If I am doing school one day, then I’m not touching my business. And if I’m doing my business, then I have to make sure I have all my schoolwork done first. That way it keeps me from getting overwhelmed. Even if I don’t have anything due on a particular day, I will go ahead and do my work ahead of time leaving Friday and the weekends as time towards my business.
What has been the best part of owning your business?
Honestly the best part has been doing something for myself. It brings me so much joy to know that this is mine and it is 100% me. I’m not working for someone else, I’m working for myself and I’m doing it the way I want to do it. I get to push in what I believe and there isn’t anyone telling me that it’s wrong or incorrect, so basically being my own boss.
Following that, what’s been the most difficult part of owning your own business?
The most difficult part would probably be making sure that I prioritize the right things. Especially with inventory as well, making sure that I’m stocked up on everything. When you’re working for someone else it’s not something you think about because it is already there for you. But the most stressful part is when I’m making orders and I run out of something or recently when my printer broke and I spent two hours fixing it. The most difficult part has mostly been taking on 20 jobs at once, prioritizing the right things and basically learning how to fully run my own business.
What lessons have you learned since launching your business?
The lessons that I have learned is that there is never a stupid question. I have had so many questions and you can never get too much help from someone. You don’t know everything and so it doesn’t hurt to go ask a mentor for their advice. I would never be here if I didn’t call my dad to ask about financial advice or call my friend who also has her own site to ask about different things. Even though it’s my own business, I didn’t get here by myself. So never be afraid to ask someone for help.
What is the vision you have for Pineapple Loop in the future?
I first started this as a hobby. I saw this as something to do over quarantine since there was nowhere to go work so I could make my own money. But now, I’m a sophomore in college and I plan to continue to grow my business until I’m a senior and ready to graduate. When I get to graduation I’ll go from there. Hopefully I can find an awesome job in sales or marketing and I can do my business alongside it. One day if I can work for myself that would be the dream.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice would have to be, just do it. It’s not going to be perfect and there’s never going to be a right time to start. Just get it out there and you will learn everything on the way. You don’t need to know everything before you start and you will make mistakes on the way but that’s what teaches you on how to resolve any issues you have in the future.
You can shop all the products on the Pineapple Loop website.
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