JEFFERSONVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) She started making jewelry to sell six years ago and hasn't looked back. Now, as the St. Michael's college senior's academic career is winding down, her Made in Vermont business is gearing up.
Around the St. Michael's campus Francesca D'Elia is known for throwing quite the party, but they're not the typical ones you'd see at a college. They're parties for her business, Homegrown Jewelry.
"We've had parties in our townhouse last year to promote," said Sophia Bates is one of D'Elia's roommates. "Last year in our townhouse we had an extra room and that was her jewelry studio."
"I definitely give up some aspects of being a typical college student. There are weekends where I have a show on Sunday or Saturday and I'm in bed by like 8:00," D'Ella said:
But there are some advantages. If she learns something new in a business class, there's no waiting around for an opportunity to use that information. "It's just an instant application no matter what class I'm in," she said.
When she isn't on campus, D'Elia is at her parents' home in Jeffersonville, working away at her latest creations. She makes most of her jewelry here over the summer and during winter break, so she can bring it back to campus to take orders, sell and ship. "When I'm first trying out some pieces, it will take a couple of weeks of getting the process down, before doing it without even looking," she said.
She works mostly with sterling silver and brass. On top of the bracelets, earrings and necklaces, she makes custom pieces like tie clips. Her average price for items is between $30 and $90.
"It's a combination of being very based on Vermont, Vermont living and these aren't pieces that you have to worry about when you're going hiking or kyaking or anything like that, but it also takes into account a lot of the current trends in fashion," she said.
"The energy she has and the dedication that she has is amazing," said Rosemary D'Ella, her mother.
On top of the four or five shows she has at St. Mike's during the school year, Homegrown Jewelry has been at others shows throughout the area, including the Made in Vermont Marketplace. "She knows everyone in town and when she says everyone comes out for her shows, it's astounding, Rosemary said.
"It's always when I'm driving back to school that it really catches up to me and there have been multiple times when I've driven back into school and I'm crying, because I'm so happy," D'Elia said.
When it comes to student affairs, D'Ella's are just a little more major then everyone else.