busywrist is a Chicago based bracelet company that helps customers create the ultimate armparties. I spoke with the company’s founder, Megan Koranda about how she came up with the name busywrist, bracelet trends, and who her fashion inspirations are.
1. What inspired you to start busywrist? What can we find on the website?
After college, I got antsy interviewing and waiting around for a ‘real job’ to come along. So, I decided to combine my passions which were (and still are): jewelry/fashion + graphic design. I designed a logo and a website, and began bulking up my inventory which was a combination of bracelets I had designed myself, as well as pieces I bought wholesale. Bracelets have always been my accessory of choice, and that is why they are all you’ll find on busywrist.com. We sell a wide variety of styles: wrap bracelets, leather pieces, semi-precious stones & pearls, bangles, bracelet stacks and more. Bracelets range in price as well, it is my goal to keep all of our products generally affordable so that our customers can afford to ‘get busy’. Dropping $200 on one bracelet is no fun.
2. The name busywrist is so clever, how did you come up with it?
I’ve always thought of my wrists as sort of a blank canvas, and they’re one of the few places I like to ‘busy’ things up. It’s ironic because I typically have a very minimal, neutral aesthetic. My apartment is different shades of beige + white, I often wear all black, and my graphic design work is minimalistic and full of negative space. My wrist is the one place I’ve always felt comfortable being visually busy, and I wanted my brand concept to reflect that and encourage other girls to have fun designing their own ‘busywrist’, one that is unique to their style.
3. My husband and I are constantly debating, how many bracelets are too many? Or is there no such thing as too many?
There is no such thing as too many! The busier the better. There are no rules. However, I think you should always feel comfortable. I know some people have that ‘less is more’ mentality when it comes to their style, so for them, I recommend leaving out other accessories when going crazy on the wrist. Personally, my favorite part of getting ready is deciding how to successfully wear as many bracelets as possible. It’s like an art to me!
4. How do you style an armparty for a casual jeans and tee look verses a formal event?
I am a huge fan of mixing things that aren’t typically paired together (like gym shoes with a dress, or wearing silver with gold). So for me, there is very little difference between a casual and formal armparty. I suppose for casual days I tend to focus more on mixing materials by combining some of our dressier bracelets, with more rustic pieces. For a jeans and a t-shirt look, I love to pair the Leather Riding Wrap with a pearl wrap, or our Gold Bangle. For more formal events, I still seriously stack it up but I lean more toward mixing semi-precious stones or throwing in a chunky druzy.
5. Are there any fall armparty trends we need to know about?
Statement cuffs, lots of leather, and chunky chains. We have some new pieces coming in very soon for Fall/Winter that I’m really excited about. Stay tuned!
6. You studied art direction and advertising at Columbia College Chicago. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? How did college prepare you to start busywrist?
I had always dreamed about starting my own business, but I didn’t realize how important it was for me to work for myself until after I spent some time working for someone else. After graduating college and starting busywrist, I began working as a freelance graphic designer and eventually took a job working for a company in Chicago full-time (all while doing busywrist as well). After a couple years, I decided it just wasn’t for me and that I needed something more. It was a lifestyle change that I was craving and I decided to leave my job and pursue busywrist full force. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone but for some reason I have always felt an urge to create something on my own (I’ve forever struggled with being told what to do).
Studying advertising/artdirection and graphic design at Columbia College Chicago prepared me to start busywrist in so many ways. It was there that I discovered my abilities as a creative and learned the tools necessary to build a brand and a website. It was also there, that I learned I didn’t have to choose between the two things I loved: fashion and graphic design/branding. My college experience allowed me to explore ways in which I could combine the two and I was able to apply the result to real life, it’s something I’m very proud of.
7. What advice do you have for someone wanting to start their own business? What are the best and worst parts about being self employed?
Just start. One of my favorite quotes is: “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” Starting and maintaining your own business is a ton of work but in order to get anywhere, you have to start somewhere. Educate yourself, set lots of small achievable goals at the beginning, reach out to people who are on a path you would like to be on and ask them questions. Also, don’t bother comparing yourself to other people along the way, I wasted so much time doing that in the beginning stages of busywrist; then, I learned things don’t happen over night and that patience is key.
Being self-employed has it’s ups and downs. It takes a ton of self-discipline to stick to a consistent work schedule when you aren’t technically required to arrive or leave somewhere at a certain time. It is also scary having to financially rely on yourself and your business, as opposed to getting that same paycheck every two weeks. However, it is also so incredibly awesome. Being able to give yourself to something you love every single day, is a remarkable feeling that I hope everyone experiences at some point in their life.
8. Who are your inspirations (both fashion and business)?
My fashion inspirations are definitely Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen (I’m sure you’ve NEVER heard that one before…) and I also love Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller. I love how they all take risks, break rules and invent their own. I have a very casual style and I admire their effortless aesthetic.
Sophia Amoruso (the founder of Nasty Gal) is a huge business role-model of mine. Her path to success is so interesting and unconventional, and I find her to be insanely inspirational. My Aunt Darlene is also someone I admire in business and in life, she is an incredibly successful entrepreneur with offices in three countries. She built her business from the ground up and has always encouraged me to be a dreamer and not to fear failure.