What started as a young soccer player browsing Pinterest has now become an international effort to help children. Sophomore Maddy Luna has founded Mood Beads, a small handmade jewelry company, that will gift her creations to impoverished people around the world through Operation Christmas Child.
Luna is partnered with the Vanguard Global Education and Outreach (GEO) office through Samaritan’s Purse, which is an Evangelical organization that gives aid to people in physical as a part of missionary work.
A few months ago, GEO intern Abby Navarro noticed Luna’s Instagram for her jewelry business and the popularity it was gaining in the Vanguard community. Navarro convinced GEO to partner up with Luna for the upcoming Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse. For the last couple of weeks, Luna has sat outside of the caf selling her jewelry with the “buy one, send one” deal. On Nov. 15, during the packing party for the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, they packaged 87 of Luna’s creations. These boxes will be sent around the world through Luna’s partnership with Samaritan’s Purse.
“We had the packing party, and we had 87 bracelets go into the boxes for all the kids, and it was just super awesome to be there and watch them get packed away, I was super happy and I know Abby was thrilled because it turned out being way better than we thought it was going to be,” Luna said.
Luna did not start her business with the thought that she would ever be able to partner with such a renown global outreach organization to reach people in need overseas.
It all started this last July when Luna was working a mundane desk job with her father’s company. She felt bored and uninspired, longing to have something to occupy her time and where she could use her hands. Then one evening, she was scrolling through Pinterest looking at the wide variety of jewelry and an idea popped into her head. She has always been picky with the type of jewelry she likes to wear, so what if she made her own?
She brought the idea to her mother, who was completely supportive of Luna’s newest hobby. Within the next few days, Luna had acquired all of the materials. She spent an entire day looking up tutorials online and teaching herself–through much trial and error–how to craft simplistic jewelry pieces.
It wasn’t easy at first. The intricate pieces required skills Luna was not yet familiar with, though she felt she had a general understanding of how it should work.
“I remember–because you have to tie a lot of the bracelets–and I would just snap them because I would pull too tight, and my mom would be like ‘are you okay?’ because she would hear me all frustrated,” Luna said.
Her family praised her creations and soon Luna was inspired to share them with the world. With the help of her younger sister, Luna created and Instagram page for Moon Beads, and using tactics that she had heard of before around the app, she began to promote. It started with her following a bunch of people from Vanguard, and as soon as they followed back, following their followers and just trying to get her brand out there. She also began to do giveaways where people had to tag their friends and they would be entered, and Luna’s small business blew up practically overnight.
“I feel like Vanguard is like the first place to start because we’re like a beachy city, and the type of jewelry I make is almost going along with that, it’s more of a beachy theme,” Luna said.
Last year Luna worked two jobs, one as a nanny during the weekdays and the other babysitting on weekends. Because of her busy schedule with classes as well as her commitment to soccer, Luna noticed her grades suffering. But now that she is her own boss, she is able to adjust her responsibilities to meld together. Weekly, Luna can make about 100 to 150 dollars on her jewelry which has replaced her need for two part time jobs.
Being a Business Administration major, Luna’s journey with Moon Beads is a perfect fit for her life. It was never something that she saw herself doing before it begun, but now Luna has fallen in love with her business and it is something that she hopes will caring on and develop more in the next 10 years.
“It was kind of just something that came, like I end up bounding a lot between things, I’m really inconsistent about staying with stuff for a long time, but it was something that just ended up making money and making me feel happy. And doing stuff that makes other people happy is just something that I like to do, so it ended up working out really well,” Luna said.