Wilmington woman laid off during pandemic, starts own Etsy business

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of tough times for people all over the country, one woman Wilmington decided to make a big career change.

After being laid off at the beginning of the pandemic, she decided to pursue her passions, and has turned it into a business.

“When God gives you a talent, why not pursue it,” Jordan Smith said.

In the year of the unexpected, Smith felt like she had nothing to lose.

“I’ve always loved to do crafts I’ve remodeled our house, and I just thought now is the perfect time,” she said. “Once I was laid off, now is the perfect time to really pursue what I love.”

Smith was laid off from her job in hospitality in March. After going through a layoff and some other difficult times at the beginning of 2020, she threw herself into creative outlets.

When she exhausted the home improvement projects this spring, she says her creative gears were still turning. Living at the beach, Smith started to get inspiration from seashell collections, and wanted to turn the shells into works of art.

“I first started making the wind chimes,” Smith said.

Smith says she started collecting seashells and driftwood from different beaches near Wilmington. With the help of family and friends, she’s also started using shells from places like the Outer Banks.

“My friend was like, ‘You should try to sell those,'” Smith said. “So I did. I tried to sell them on Facebook Marketplace. And then the rainbows just kind of started. I actually saw the idea on Pinterest and I was like, ‘Oh I could do that.’ So I just started playing around.”

Her small idea quickly evolved, and Smith started making wind chimes, woven rainbow magnets, wall decor and whatever came to mind. This summer, Smith decided to turn her project into a business – The Pink Mermaid Treasures – sharing her work on Etsy and Instagram.

“I had no idea, really, what I was doing,” she said. “I just kind of took a leap of faith.”

Since then, Smith says she’s not only sold her work to people here in Wilmington, but to people all over the country.

“I would have never had time to do any of this stuff,” she said.

Believe it or not, Smith says the pandemic became a blessing in disguise. She admits it’s a scary leap, but says she doesn’t see herself going back to a 9-5 job any time soon.

“Why waste your time doing something you’re not enjoying?” she said. “Why not just pursue your passions? I’ll just see where it takes me.”

Smith says she doesn’t see her working a typical desk job, and would love to keep her new business going for as long as possible. She says it’s given her a creative outlet and an opportunity to bring people a litle extra joy during a tough time.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Top Stories

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