Shine bright like a diamond


Gili Schisterman

Acrylic butterfly-shaped earrings that come in four different colors and a gold clasp.

Maiya Blumenthal, Reporter

As Gili Schisterman closes out of her last Zoom class of the day during her freshman year, she turns to her new hobby, jewelry making. Little does she know that what started as a way to keep herself occupied during the COVID-19 pandemic would become a business with over 2,000 sales on Etsy as of her junior year.

Like many teenagers, Gili struggled with her mental health during the pandemic. With restrictions on seeing her friends and most extracurricular activities, she had trouble keeping herself busy and distracted. So when Gili saw people online starting businesses, she was inspired to start her own.

“I’ve always been a big jewelry lover ever since I was younger, and I guess I also like creating my own stuff,” Gili said. “Creating designs and actually being able to make it myself at home is something super unique to me.”

Gili primarily does all work related to the business on her own. However, when her friends come to her house, they sometimes help her package orders.

In her freshman year, Gili presented the business idea to her friend, junior Alec Silberg. Having previous experience with graphic design and social media, Silberg assisted Gili in developing her business on Instagram and designing a logo.

“It wasn’t that consuming timewise, but it was well thought out and I liked helping her,” Silberg said. “It gave us a way to bond and also do something when we had nothing else to do.”

As he designed the logo, Silberg aimed to achieve a certain aesthetic. He wanted it to be fun and utilized bright colors, such as pink and gold, but he also wanted to include shapes that appealed to buyers and matched the aesthetic of Gili’s jewelry.

Before she could start selling, Gili also needed to calculate appropriate pricing. She worked with her mother, Ariela Schisterman, to determine prices that would account for the cost of materials and use of time, but also that can compete with other jewelry businesses. Gili’s jewelry now ranges from the prices of $5-14.

Once the business, named “Jewels by Gili,” succeeded on Instagram and TikTok, Gili expanded to selling on Etsy. Now, her Instagram has almost 3,000 followers and her Tiktok has over 8,000 followers, and she has sold over 2,000 pieces on Etsy. As she started to gain popularity, Gili transitioned from using beads as her primary material to using new materials, like chains, to elevate her designs.

Ariela believes that the experience running her own business gives Gili more independence.

“It gives her a lot of freedom and when she wants to purchase something, whatever it is she wants to buy, she tells herself ‘I need to sell so much merchandise to get the money,’ and she does it,” Ariela said. “So she puts a little bit of effort in marketing then she can make the money… I think it feels like it gives her a sense of freedom and control over her life, that she can make money if she wants to spend it on something.”

Though Gili spent hours each day during the pandemic making jewelry, as she shifted back to a normal life with a larger workload from school, she started to have less time to create jewelry. Each piece of jewelry takes about thirty minutes to an hour to complete, so as Gili prepares to leave high school, she is unsure of what will happen with her business.

That being said, Gili is grateful for her experience making jewelry. She believes that the lessons she has learned from owning a small business sets her up for a future career in entrepreneurship.

“My business has definitely been the most life changing experience for me because now, I plan on actually pursuing business when I’m older,” Gili said. “I don’t really see exactly what my future holds for me but I definitely see myself staying in the business world.”