Stickers, wrapping paper, shipping boxes and labels litter the floor around Emma Kremer and Kelly McGlone. Hundreds of half-baked jewelry molds and earring hooks lie scattered across their living room. The girls lie asleep amongst the chaos after a 16-hour workday.
They look like two kids on Christmas, lying happily amongst the ripped-up tissue paper and new toys. But it wasn’t Christmas, it was a few months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the unexpected guest wasn’t Santa Claus, but Kremer’s landlord walking in to find the two friends’ messy workspace.
“My landlord came, and I forgot she was coming,” Kremer laughs as she recounts the story. “They came into my room upstairs with a flashlight and it was horrible because there were literally hundreds of earrings lined up on my coffee table.”
This is what every weekend looked like when Kremer and McGlone began their small jewelry business, Folie Made, last spring. Although the unexpected visit was incredibly startling at the time, they laugh about it now. McGlone’s digital marketing internship and Kremer’s search for an ad sales internship was cut short due to the pandemic, but the pair wanted to create an alternative opportunity to make up for it.
“We both are interested in marketing and fashion retail,” McGlone says. “We also are both crafty people, so we were brainstorming a ton of different ideas, and then we came across polymer clay earrings on Pinterest, and then we just went with it, and here we are over a year later.”
The name Folie Made comes from the root of their friendship, which began when they met in French class freshman year.
“Folie means ‘madness’ in French which we thought was funny because Kelly and I are both very enthusiastic and energetic people, especially as a duo,” Kremer says.
When the business first began, the students met in Delaware to work together. They recall making hundreds of pairs of earrings in a single weekend to last until their next work weekend, putting in 13-hour days and blasting through a season of New Girl a day. Once they officially moved back to Newark, things started running much smoother.
“Our whole set up now is so nice and so much easier,” McGlone says. “To just have a home base for everything, it’s so much more organized, it’s not as crazy as it was back then.”
They say they’ve made over one hundred unique pairs of earrings since starting the business.
“When we first started, we were so excited to get into it that we weren’t really creating multiples of each one, we literally did like one of just, hundreds of different styles,” Kremer says. “It was kind of cool and exciting because each one was super unique.”
As business picked up, customers were asking for pairs that had already been sold. It was time for a new business model.
“Only one of each is a lot of listings,” Kremer says. “It’s easier just to make things in batches. So now, on the site, we usually have around like 20 at a time.”
They both note that they are always open for custom orders and will remake sold out styles on special request.
Some of their most popular styles are the Monstera leaves and their watercolor styles, which are also some of McGlone’s favorites because of the “pop” they give to any outfit. Their newest release is a pressed flower dangle, each pair made with their own unique flowers from UD’s campus. They picked a lot of blue violets, which are wildflowers and thus readily available. They’ll soon start experimenting with other colors and types of flowers. The trick is finding ones that press well into the molds.
“There are so many different things that you can do with them,” Kremer says of the pressed flower earrings. “They’re easy to work with and they help you brainstorm more.”
From a small Esty shop to a refined website, Folie Made’s brand was carefully crafted by Kremer and McGlone. Soft, natural and simple define the business’s sophisticated vibe. Some of their customers are often surprised to find out that Folie Made’s creators are college students.
Both are graduating seniors majoring in Media Communication at the University of Delaware and say the social media and marketing experience they’ve learned from starting Folie Made is just the type of work they would love to do after graduation.
“It’s really cool to see that people think this is our full-time job,” Kremer says. “And this is a full-time job honestly with the amount of hours that we put into it. But it’s really cool that people would think we’ve been in marketing and involved with this for like, years.”
Folie Made’s release schedule is flexible depending on Kremer and McGlone’s to-do lists. They release new pairs or at least restock current styles about once a week, just not on exam day.
Both say that the hours they put into the business can’t be measured just by counting their physical work hours. Kremer and McGlone say they are always thinking about Folie Made, whether they’re keeping an eye out for new ideas and designs, scrolling through the social media page and engaging with followers, or facetiming with each other to prepare for shoots.
While Kremer and McGlone call the business their “side hustle,” they agree that they’ve fallen in love with their business and want to continue making and selling earrings together for as long as they can. Through the process of trial and error, they’ve learned that things run best when they are physically together, since it is a very hands-on process.
“We really have gotten to know the whole process because it’s just us doing everything,” McGlone says. “We make the product, we design it, we put everything together, we ship it. We are customer service and marketing and finances, everything.”
Kremer is from Ocean Township, New Jersey while McGlone lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania but luckily, they’ll have a halfway meeting point this summer at a family beach house to continue the business.
The pair have learned quite a bit since the launch of Folie Made and they are confident that the business will continue to succeed and grow, no matter where they are.
“We’re both so invested in it,” Kremer says. “We’ve said this a million times, but it honestly doesn’t feel like work most the time, just because we both love it so much.”