Students At Work


Have you ever thought about starting a business?  Well, these three young women in Benicia, California made these fantasies into their reality. Jessica Patscsil, Gabby Patscsil, and Autumn Jarmel are all independent business owners who have taken Benicia by storm with their adorable and affordable homemade products! You may have seen these beautiful people at Benicia’s local farmers market or even just popped up in front of stores during the week! Their bright smiles and engaging setups never disappoint and have attracted many happy customers. Although I sadly didn’t get the opportunity to physically interview these ladies, they were able to answer some questions of what it’s like owning and managing a company during this interesting time.  Let’s get to know these darling companies and look at some merchandise created by our own Benicians!

Jessica Patscsil is the owner and creator of Knotted by J. Her instagram, @knottedbyj, consists of 144 followers and is beginning to grow as she makes appearances at pop-ups. She sells handmade macrame wall hangings and plant holders and is perfect decor for your spaces in your home. Jessica hand knots every single item on her own.  When I asked Jessica “What motivated you to start a business?”, she replied with “…it was finding a way to make money by doing something I wouldn’t get tired of. Also, something to keep me busy during quarantine.” Jessica used the negatives and bore of the pandemic and turned it into an opportunity for something great. Jessica told me she chose to create macrame receptacles for greenery because “…my family has a lot of plants and we didn’t know how to display them so I went on pinterest and etsy and found macrame. I saw that the macrame people were selling and were very expensive. So, that’s when I decided to make macrame at affordable prices.” She isn’t wrong, some average wall hangings can cost up to $40. Don’t fear, Knotted by J is here and sells her products ranging from $12-$25! Jessica informed me owning business can be troubling at times. “…it’s hard finding a reliable store that has the materials I’m looking for. I have to see if it’s good material, if it’s the macrame I need, and also if they will have this product in the future.” Without the consistency of prior knowledge of materials, Jessica let’s me know that she enjoys alone time and working on projects on her own. Being only 14, Jessica Pascsil is experiencing the true pros and cons of being a successful business owner.

Obviously, with CoronaVirus, we have had to make major changes to our lifestyles. Including, wearing a mask. I don’t know about you, but forgetting my mask has been a frequent issue. I always misplace it and I have to end up buying a new one. Two words.! is a company created by the one and only Autumn Jarmel. She has personally designed a pouch that is specifically designated for your mask. How did she come up with this concept you might ask? “It all started because I was trying to create a mask that turned into a scrunchie. I sat at my sewing machine for a week, could not sleep, failed so many times at the design, did not give up, strayed completely away from the scrunchie idea and created the Paks” Autumn Jarmel told me. Her unique paks were sparked for Covid season, but what happens when we won’t have to wear masks as often ? “I don’t have a plan yet, I’m still getting through college, so we’ll see where that takes me too. But, I don’t see masks going anywhere anytime soon” she replied. She has a point, especially for Californians, masks will be worn for quite awhile since coronavirus cases are always rising. I asked Autumn what the major benefit of being a business owner is, “I would say the biggest perk is the income, but it is a lot of work. I work pretty much 18-20 hour days.” As you can see, success doesn’t come easy peasy. “The biggest challenge is balance. I don’t see my friends much anymore because of school,, and trying to get any type of sleep in, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Hard work pays off.” It definitely does, has 712 followers on instagram and has their own website! Although Autumn is a working student, she still manages to continue giving the people what they want. 

Last, but very not least, meet Gabby Patscsil, owner of Bear Cove Clay! Gabby Patscsil has taken the average jewelry idea and added her own special accessory to her earrings. With her beautifully handcrafted earrings, Gabby also includes her own sustainable shipping and packaging! I asked Gabby what motivated her to start a business, “What motivated me to want to start my business was when I had to move back home from college when COVID-19 hit the U.S. I had planned to come home and continue my classes virtually while working a job to earn some extra money for myself. However, as COVID got worse, I didn’t feel comfortable going out and working so I decided to start a business where I had the ability to work with my own school schedule and feel safe healthwise.” she responded. That simple hope of revenue became widely possible since her first drop on instagram @bearcoveclay. “Every time I’ve sold a new collection, everything has sold out!” Gabby informed me. Gabby has only been in business for around 4 months and has sold a little over 200 pairs of earrings. I mean, they are stunning! However, “Beauty is pain” certainly applies with these custom accessories. “…the biggest challenge in owning my company is that I do everything myself. There is so much that goes into a business and Bear Cove Clay is a one-woman show!” Gabby revealed that she works about 3 hours a day on her business. A lot of factors go into having a jewelry business, such as “…making earrings, assembling earrings, shopping for supplies, shipping packages, and making packaging,” but I think we can all agree that she is killing it! Even though the process is very time consuming, Gabby runs on support from her customers, family, and friends. Bear Cove Clay’s new earring designs are always so darling, they will distract everyone from looking at your plain mask.

Owning a business clearly isn’t easy, but these young women make it look like a piece of cake. They used the opportunity of staying at home to start and grow their thriving companies. Whether it was creating an easier place to store your mask, a decorative holder to hang your plant, or a new addition to your accessories, all are made thoughtfully from original designs. These working students have inspired me with their positivity and diligent work ethic that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish big things. They all started small and have gained recognition to expand their business everyday! Supporting local businesses is so important, so please be sure to check out Paks.It, Bear Cove Clay, and Knotted by J! Follow them on social media and be sure to look for their pop ups! 

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