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Getting Business Savvy:Student on campus share their passion

Georgia State Student Gracen Bourbeau sells her handmade jewelry in Library Plaza Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Being a full-time student is hard enough especially with a part-time job, endless assignments and don’t forget business meetings. Georgia State students are using their talent, creating business and influence others to chase their dreams.

From Graclets to Evelié

Georgia State Student Gracen Bourbeau sells her handmade jewelry in Library Plaza Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal
Examples of some of Gracen Bourbeau’s bracelets that have hand written messages on one side, and cool graphics on the other. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

For Gracen Bourbeau, the key elements for a successful business requires positivity and motivation. At a young age Bourbeau crafted handmade jewelry called Graclets, and now her business has evolved into Evelié Jewelry. Bourbeau is a journalism major, who uses her talents to bring positivity into other people’s lives.

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“I wanted this brand to be about consciousness, awareness and recognition,” Bourbeau said.

Each piece of jewelry is made with natural rocks and crystal that have different healing properties. A customized bracelets might have rose quartz, cherry quartz and moonstones, which symbolizes protection, love and new opportunity.

“Whether someone is going in the right direction, or adjusting their path, there is always progress that can be made,” Bourbeau said. “Each piece of jewelry in the Evelié line represents some principle, idea, or goal, and is intended to be worn as a reminder of those things.”

One of  Bourbeau customers is a mother of three, that was diagnosed with bone cancer. Her custom piece symbolizes hope.

“I hope it encompasses hope and progress, just as it does to me,” Bourbeau said. “Evelié  is more than just a brand, it’s a lifestyle movement to encourage positivity and awareness.”

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Making Change

Gracen Bourbeau's jewelry business, Evelie, donates 10% of all proceeds to Autism Speaks. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal
Gracen Bourbeau’s sells her jewelry in Library Plaza. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

The money that Bourbeau makes from her jewelry goes to a charity of her choosing. Each quarter she donates a portion of the money to another charity. Last semester Bourbeau worked at a private preschool, where she met a child that melted her heart. The young boy had Autism, and after that semester Bourbeau was determined to raise awareness for ASD.

“I started the business so I could have a chance to give back to others, just as people had done for me during my struggles,” Bourbeau said. “Regardless of the profits that help me pay for school, those reasons will always hold true.”

This semester’s charity is dedicated to Autism Speaks. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects 1 in 68 children. The average medical cost for children with ASD is $4,100 to $6,200 a year.

When she’s not in class, Bourbeau is making connections to help expand her business. All of the supplies needed to make the jewelry comes from her own pocket. Despite challenges that come with starting a business, Bourbeau is ready to motivate others into following their dreams.

“Starting a business on your own is a huge risk, but that doesn’t mean it will be unsuccessful,” Bourbeau said. “So to those with business ideas, pursue your passion, give it everything you have, and don’t back down at the fear of failing.

Photo Jan 28, 1 45 58 AM
Gracen Bourbeau’s jewelry business, Evelie, donates 10% of all proceeds to Autism Speaks. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

The business represents Bourbeau awakening from hardship and negativity. Making jewelry became a therapeutic release for Bourbeau that allowed her to influence others through positivity.

“Once I changed my lifestyle and began seeking positivity, finding my own happiness, and ultimately passing it along to others,” Bourbeau said. “I started Evelié  to embody the pain that I experienced [to] help someone else in a way that was beautiful and made with my own hands.”

Evelié Jewelry can be found online at the business website, and Happy Hookah, located at 66 Peachtree St. SW, Atlanta Ga.  

T.E.A (Talk, Eat, Art)

The best way to enjoy tea is with good company. TEA is a growing social business. When it comes to combining food, good conversation and drinks, young entrepreneur, Sienna Brown, has created a business that takes socialization to the next level.

“Our goal is to bring together the community in a way that we haven’t seen before in Atlanta, and that’s through unity and talking about uncomfortable situations or topics,” Brown said.

Brown is a journalism student who owns more than one business. TEA is a new business designed to unite the community. The purpose of this business is to break down social boundaries by talking about controversial topics.

“[We’re] breaking down controversies, by providing a safe space for people to discuss rising issues in society,” Brown said.

During the events visual artist, guest speakers and performing artist come to express their viewpoint on social topics such as race or self empowerment. Previous guest speakers include African American Studies professor, Dr.Michael Simanga, and broadcast journalist Monica Pearson.

“We like to bring people out to have real conversations with people they may have never met,” Brown said.

The First TEA

Tea - Sienna Brown spills the tea on how she got involved with event planning and why she believes in following your heart. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal
Sienna Brown spills the tea on how she got involved with event planning and why she believes in following your heart.
Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Brown’s business was literally a dream, because the idea for TEA came from a dream that she had. After the dream, Brown woke up to tell her friends about her idea to start a business where people can connect while drinking tea.

“I literally went to sleep one night, and I had this crazy dream about this event,” Brown said. “I didn’t know how I would do it but I felt like it would be so cool.”

Once Brown told her friends and family about her vision the first TEA was created. On Oct. 17, 2014, Falls TEA became a hit. Brown found a venue to host the event, while also catering the event herself.

“I didn’t have a space, or an idea of how I was going to do it,” Brown said. “I just knew that I was going to make it work, and so I just went and did it.”

A speaker came and they maxed out the space. After a few events her friends joined her. Now TEA has become a popular business for Brown and her supporters.

“It’s fulfilling to me because I’m doing something I really care about and I’m working with people that I really care about, so that’s a major plus to me,” Brown said.

The TEA team uses social media and flyers to get the word out about the events. Once flyers are out, tickets sell out fast. With the help of her friends and family Brown was able to make her vision come true.

“For a while I felt like I was missing something, I felt like I didn’t have a purpose, and I was exploring ways to find what my purpose was beyond school and just day to day life,” Brown said.

For more information about upcoming TEA events, visit the business website.

Wish Dish

Bryan Wish poses for a photo. Photo Submitted | Bryan Wish
Bryan Wish poses for a photo.
Photo Submitted | Bryan Wish

Passion is a key ingredient for a successful business. Writer and entrepreneur, Bryan Wish, has taken his passion and shared it with students at Georgia State. Wish Dish is an online community that allows people to publish their own stories. These stories provide a creative outlet for people who want to inspire others.

“Raw, vulnerable stories connect people,” Wish said. “Georgia State Students can read about people just like themselves, and this connection

is consistent.

Wish Dish was started in 2015, and today it has over 3015 stories, with 25,000 users a month, read by 300 to 2,500 people a day. Wish has shared his own personal story with others on his site.

“It shows the depth of who people really are, by offering different perspective of life,” Wish said.

Chelsey Cashwell, is a Georgia State student and Dish writer. Cashwell began writing for Dish in late October of 2015. Her first piece was a reflection, from being hospitalized at a mental institution.

It reflected the pain I was going through, and the fear I had about returning to the real world,” Cashwell said. “Most of the people in that hospital would’ve done anything to get out–not me, and I was afraid [to] let go of my anxiety and depression enough to tend to my responsibilities.”

The name of her story was titled Medusa, because it represented her fear, and insecurities. After publishing the story Cashwell was able to let go of a negative part of her life. Wish Dish created a place where she could talk about her fears, to help someone else overcome their own.

Wish Dish is looking for passionate students who want to get involved. For more information check out the business website.  

Hidden Talent

Aleigha Cass is starting to sell more of her artwork due to word of mouth. Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal
Aleigha Cass speaks on how her artwork is starting to sell more due to word of mouth.
Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Art by Leah, is an up incoming business by Aleigha Cass. What makes Cass stand out as an artist is her ability to adapt to change. Each painting has it’s own style, which changes based on her inspiration.

Art by Leah. Photo Submitted | Aleigha Cass

“I change the style up so much, and so I’m not completely one type of [artist]. I have many different viewpoints on things, and I like to change my style to keep all my viewers able to relate,” Cass said.

Cass’s artwork has been featured in the Woodruff Art Museum. Her friends and family are big supporters of her work. Cass has sold five of her paintings. Most of the advertisement about her work is done by word of mouth.

“I don’t paint the same every time, sometimes I do abstract, and sometimes I do cubism, or sometimes I just do something random [styles],” Cass said.

The prices for Art by Leah ranges from $80 to $100 dollars. To see more artwork by Cass follow her Instagram @artbyleahh.