Penn State student’s quarantine hobby turns into a dream business


What started as a quarantine hobby for Penn State senior Alex Blomstrom has turned into the opportunity of a lifetime.

A year and a half ago, she, like many others, was stuck at home and in desperate need of an activity or hobby to keep her busy. Cue the birth of Alex Blom creates, Blomstrom’s way of incorporating its love for creativity, photography, design and production into a fully independent and self-sustaining business, with now nearly 15,000 subscribers on Instagram.

On its website alone, Blomstrom has sold over 3,200 orders to date. Not included are the hundreds of orders sold exclusively through his Instagram page prior to the creation of his website, as well as any custom orders that will surely increase that number. She’s had several TikToks gone viral, and her launches sometimes sell out within minutes.

ABC managed to find its way to the Netherlands. Now she is receiving requests to configure the shipping of her products to countries like Japan and Australia.

Blomstrom’s business was born last year when his family tried to give back to struggling communities.

“I started a photography business the year before, then they made photography illegal during quarantine. So I was exploring another outlet in which to devote my time, ”said Blomstrom. “I felt like everything in the world was so heavy at the time between COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd that I had the idea to make darlings with my big one -mother. I started donating $ 1 from every sale to Feeding America just trying to do what I could to give back because there were so many people, even in my one community, who were struggling.

Blomstrom gave his mother a Cricut machine for Christmas and, just by experimenting with this, began to produce and design original clothes.

“I really loved the idea of ​​bringing a concept to life and doing it on a shirt. I had the idea to create my own clothing designs, but most of all, I wanted to do something to help the people who were having the most difficulties at the time, ”said Blomstrom. “I created four designs that surrounded the concept of ‘spreading kindness’ because I’ve always been very passionate about diffusing light and smiling where I can because you never know what’s going on. in someone’s life behind closed doors. “

Blomstrom started selling these designs and t-shirts through his Instagram page, which took off unexpectedly. She donated 10% of the proceeds of all her sales to the Philadelphia Black Giving Circle, which donated money to the organization that needed it most in Philadelphia at the time.

However, at the start of her business, Blomstrom had to overcome the anxiety of being in front of the camera to show off her product, market something she had put her heart and soul into, and not knowing how a certain product would be received.

Fortunately for her, they were all very well received.

“A lot of what I was doing on Instagram at first was just sharing all the new posts that I was doing, and I did a lot of custom orders because I didn’t really have a plan for ABC other than the ‘Spread the cuteness line back then, “Blomstrom said.” So I was taking a lot of custom orders and just trying to learn the ins and outs of using social media as a platform to marketing. I really think it helped that it was in my 40s when so many people were spending more time on their phones, and I made it my goal to create a platform that is a safe and happy space on the internet. . “

Soon Blomstrom’s DMs were inundated with hundreds of custom requests, she was working 15 hours a day, and ABC was taking control of her life (and her living room). None of this would have been possible without the support of his family.

“When school resumed, I found myself so overwhelmed with work and trying to balance all my responsibilities, and having my family around was just an amazing support system,” said Blomstrom. “And with the scrunchies and working on them with my grandmother, it gave me a great chance to bond with her. I have to thank my family for all the support they gave me during the process of these. first few days, looking at my designs and helping me figure out what I really wanted to do.

Finding a balance between work, school and life has been the most difficult part of running his business, says Blomstrom. She regularly shares tips on her social media page for working on your mental health and tips for prioritizing things on a to-do list. Yet running a full-time business on your own is a huge task.

“Last fall I struggled to find a work-life balance. I found myself waking up every morning so overwhelmed with my to-do list and felt like even though I was working from the moment I woke up, did my classes, and then stayed awake for as long as possible until I went to bed, I couldn’t do it all, ”Blomstrom said.

To help her deal with her stress and anxiety, Blomstrom has created an agenda to help herself and others who are struggling to prioritize and organize their time. She implemented some of the stress management strategies she learned as a psychology minor in The Planner and found that if she is to continue to be successful as she is, she needs to take care of herself first and foremost. she.

In early August, Blomstrom moved their business to in-stock products without custom orders. She did this in order to make the business more efficient, but also to help herself manage both the return to school full time.

She outsources her embroidered t-shirts to a variety of small businesses, her way of continuing to give back and helping other small businesses or organizations like her.

These days, Blomstrom says she spends at least eight hours a day at her business. Her day includes everything from designing new products, to talking with manufacturers, to packing and shipping orders, to marketing and managing her social media accounts. Blomstrom is always so busy, but for her it is a blessing. She does what she loves, and there is no better job in the world than something that you are truly passionate about.

“I will have the evidence and I will know what the design will look like on the product. But to this day, when the product arrives and I can hold it in my hand, it’s surreal and the most rewarding and rewarding thing, ”said Blomstrom. “I was on campus last week and saw someone wearing one of my shirts from a distance and I literally burst into tears. I’ve been home for so long that I haven’t really seen my products once they left my house. Seeing it on someone is the most rewarding thing.

Blomstrom said becoming a THON captain in his second year was instrumental in learning the management tools and strategies needed to run a business.

“Being in PR, my second year was just amazing, because being around so many like-minded people and open to collaboration and creativity was an amazing experience. It really sparked my interest in researching creations one way or another, ”Blomstrom said. “I don’t think I could have done it without THON or the basics laid in my finance classes here.”

Going forward, Blomstrom has stated that they will continue to seize this opportunity for as long as they get the chance. After graduating, continuing to lead ABC would be a dream. She scribbles, plans and constantly thinks of new products.

It is further proof that when you have an idea and a dream, there is no limit to what it can take you.

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