HIDDEN GEMS OF LOWELL: Jewelry Maker Emily Doan


Anita Liu

Senior Emily Doan makes jewelry and sells it through her instagram shop, ems_jewelry.

Senior Emily Doan is the owner of ems_jewelry: a small Instagram jewelry shop specializing in earrings and necklaces. Though Doan originally started making jewelry as a hobby, she ended up with a passion for the craft. Her shop, created in the summer of 2019, has since flourished and received over a hundred orders.  

How did you start making jewelry?

I was just bored and wanted to pick up a new hobby. I didn’t really intend to get into making jewelry, but I was taking apart this old necklace that I had, and I made [the pieces] into earrings. My friend liked them, so I sold them to her. I started posting them on Instagram because I had an account before to sell other things, like thrifted items. People liked them, and that’s how I started making jewelry. 

Doan’s orders typically contain the customer’s jewelry and some free stickers. (Anita Liu)

Why did you decide to make jewelry rather than a different type of craft?

I’m not really an artistic person, like drawing-wise. I just wanted to make stuff that I would wear, so I wouldn’t have to buy it. Most of the pieces are ones I like. 

Can you tell me a bit about your process, from start to finish? 

I go on Amazon, or other supply shops, and pick out charms that I find interesting. I order those and wait for [them] to come, then I’ll put it all together. I have earring hooks, necklace chains, jump rings and pliers already. Depending on earrings or necklaces, I attach the charms on with a lobster claw or the hook. Then, I take nice pictures of it either being worn or displayed, I post [the photos] on my Instagram, and people will DM me if they’re interested. I take Venmo and Paypal. After that, I package it with cardboard packaging and stickers, and ship it off or deliver it to them. 

How do you promote your business? 

Sometimes I post on my main [Instagram account] Story. Other times, people who bought from me will feature me on their Story and I’m really grateful for that. 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

After I started making more jewelry, I started going to Pinterest for inspiration. You can see different categories, and you can see things classified as “grunge” or “dainty,” so [I draw inspiration] from those categories. I keep them in moodboards, [separated into] ones that are more unique and ones that are more simple. 

What has been your favorite piece so far and why?

Emily Doan wearing her soju bottle earrings, one of her favorite pieces. (Photo Courtesy of Emily Doan)

My favorite ones might either be the soju bottle earrings or the koi fish. The soju ones are different and easy to match, because they’re white and light green. I like the koi fish ones because they’re colorful. I really like the duckling earrings too. 

What ideas do you have for upcoming pieces?

I’m planning to do more necklaces, and restock some of the soju and koi fish ones because they’re popular. I personally prefer making earrings more just because I wear them more. I like layering necklaces, and that’s harder to match. 

Is your business a long-term project related to what you want to pursue in the future?

For me right now, I want to continue this into college as a hobby, but not as an actual business. I’m not really trying to go into the business field, since I want to do nursing. It would be a fun hobby on the side, though. 


What challenges have you faced as a small business owner? 

Sometimes when I order in bulk off Amazon, they come in 50 or 100 pieces, and not everyone wants that item. It’s hard to sell off things when there’s too much of it. 

What about your business makes you happiest? 

It makes me really happy seeing people wear the jewelry I make, since a lot of the people I sell to go to Lowell. I see people wearing it in the halls, and I’m like “Yeah! I made that.” 

What words of advice would you have for people who want to start their own small business?

I would say go for it! I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t post or sell in the first place. It doesn’t matter how successful you think it will be at first, because you never know what will happen.