By Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach
It can be easy to underestimate a little girl. It would be a mistake, though, to underestimate Josephine Kreischer, a little girl whose resume includes student, big sister, ballet dancer, designer, and entrepreneur.
Starting her own business certainly seemed like a great big impossibility to young Josephine – she never met another kid with one – but she didn’t let that stop her, and now, Josephine, a second-grader at Park Avenue Elementary School, is founder and CEO of J&L Designs. Her company specializes in handcrafted bracelets made of natural stone beads and crystals. The “J” in J&L is for Josephine, she explained, and the “L” is for Lila, her little sister.
Here’s how it happened: Josephine started making the bracelets about a year ago, and gave them as Christmas and birthday gifts to family and her “dance sisters” in her dance classes. She experimented with different kinds of beads, but found that those made of stone – jade, amethyst, jasper – were her favorites.
“I’m really curious about the stones,” she said. “No two are ever alike.”
Her bracelets were a hit, and soon people were asking for more.
“Everybody liked them so much,” she said. “So I thought, maybe I could sell them.”
She thought right. Her mom helped her bring her bracelets around to local shops and they’re now sold at stores in Sugar Loaf, Warwick and Chester, and recently, Josephine launched an Etsy shop, so people can buy her jewelry online. Stores have ordered as many as 20 at a time, she said, and they’re displayed right alongside jewelry made by grown-ups.
“It makes me feel excited when somebody wants to wear a bracelet I made,” says Josephine. “It’s hard work, but I just really love it.”
Josephine says some of her classmates and lots of adults are surprised when they find out that she owns her own business, and they want to know how she did it. Often, she said, they ask her for advice on how to start a business of their own.
This little girl’s answer?
“Just start doing stuff.”
Each week, Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach shines the “The Superintendent Spotlight” on one of Warwick Valley’s amazing students. “Superintendent’s Spotlight” features students who reach goals, face challenges, and are role models to their peers.