The Beadside: Student Initiative
On Instagram last week, I was scrolling through the Explore page when I came across a dainty, forest-green, bead bracelet. The model was posing in a verdant park with her hand splayed across a beige leather bag, a cream crop top and white jeans completed the look. The profile that had posted the photo was called The Beadside (@thebeadside); their biography read that they are “an NYC-based social-impact jewelry business” and are an official partner with the Food Bank for NYC. The account had already amassed over 300 followers over the first month they had been operating and I knew that this was a student project that needed and deserved more attention.
Ava: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
The Beadside: My name is Arushi Talwar and I’m a rising junior at Horace Mann School in New York City. I started this small business myself and had some help from friends and family along the way. My mom is a website designer, so she developed the website, and my friends helped model the bracelets before we launched and received a customer base. I’m thankful to have their help as it has made The Beadside into what it is today.
A: Why glass beads?
TB: I have always been really interested in business, marketing, and finance. I started this business hoping to develop these passions while also seeking to make a social impact. When I was brainstorming potential products, I remembered the bracelets I used to make for fun when I was little. Those bracelets, although not the same as the ones I sell today, are what inspired me to create a glass bead bracelet line. I also recalled the instances years ago when I wore these bracelets and my friends would ask where I’d bought them. I knew it would be a great product to sell as it’s versatile and easily scalable. As for the name of the company, I played around with several names relating to bracelets, but in the end, I wanted to leave it more open-ended so we could have room to expand our product line in the future without interfering with the brand itself.
A: When was The Beadside started?
TB: I had the idea for The Beadside in March when my school first closed due to COVID. I was on the internet and I came across another girl’s small business that had gone viral. I was immediately intrigued. I thought the idea was so unique, and considering my interest in business I instantly knew it was something I wanted to do. I began brainstorming products and started the process of developing the brand. I worked on logos, packaging, inventory, and the website before our launch and wrote to Food Bank For New York City to discuss a partnership. Starting my business during COVID-19 opened my eyes to how important it is to give back to the community. Launching the business during the pandemic has enabled me to help others and hopefully many more in the future.
A: Is this your first experience in service work? Why did you decide to partner with The Food Bank for NYC specifically?
TB: This is my first large-scale experience in service work. I was doing an internship when I realized I wanted to partner with the Food Bank. I was reading an article about the hunger epidemic in New York City and I learned that 1 in 6 children in the city relies on food pantries for their meals. This number was shocking. Many view NYC as the pinnacle of wealth but in reality, millions are struggling to simply secure a meal, especially during the pandemic. I knew that the struggle to obtain food and the elevated rates of unemployment were issues I wanted to help fix in any way that I could. I reached out to Food Bank through their website and shared my business plan. They were so receptive of my idea and we signed a contract enabling The Beadside to donate a percentage of our sales for every bracelet bought. To me, the essence of The Beadside is our social impact. Customers can purchase our jewelry knowing that their contribution is going towards something much larger than themselves. It’s going toward feeding members of our own community and helping one another through a difficult period. In one month, we have been able to donate 250 meals. I’m so thankful to have gotten such a positive response during our first month of business and I’m so excited for The Beadside to continue making an impact.
A: What’s next for The Beadside?
TB: It’s surreal to see how far The Beadside has come since it’s conception. The whole process has been a few months in the making but it is completely worth it when I see the impact the company has made and will continue to make… Overall, we want to continue to expand our product line to reach more people and further our impact on the greater New York City community.
Make sure to check out The Beadside on their Instagram (@thebeadside) and their website, thebeadside.com.