Small business owner: Meet Janelle Castillo Castillo is starting a business from scratch with a creative idea

Reviewing which shoes are most popular on the market, sophomore Janelle Castillo works on selecting designs for her shoe keychain brand called ‘Jaskickinit’. Castillo has been looking for ways to turn her creativity into a business. “With everyone who [spread the word] and was able to support me, I’m proud of what I created,” Castillo said. “Now, all I want to do is to keep sharing my products.” Photo credit: Janelle Castillo

With thoughts racing through her head, sophomore Janelle Castillo nervously clicks “post” to release her first line of products for sale. A DM pops up within minutes from a potential buyer. After a quick moment of jumping up and down in excitement, Castillo realizes that her fear of people not wanting her products is no longer a reality.

After anonymously selling blankets and jewelry as a side job on resale apps like Offerup and Depop, Castillo decided to create a public virtual storefront on Instagram called ‘Jaskickinit’.

I was very afraid to share my creations to the public, [but] quarantine gave me the time and opportunity to create something [that I know people would enjoy] and see it’s progress,” Castillo said. “With all this time on my hands, I was able to put all my effort into this project.”

Released on August 4, Castillo has spent the last three months designing, managing expenses, and selecting packaging for her collection. 

 “I had to think of something that I knew would be approved by all, or would have the interest of both boys and gals,” Castillo said. “From there, I came up with the idea of miniature versions of the most favored sneakers. This love of creating began from doing DIY’s or baking [when I was younger]. Then, later on, my passion for designing evolved [which lead to my brand].”

Choosing to sell these sneaker keychains wasn’t an easy decision; certain doubts came up in Castillo’s mind, from the thought of humiliation to being judged, as she never before showed the public her creative side. 

When I first posted the release of these mini sneakers I was in panic mode, and I wanted to delete everything,” Castillo said. “I was afraid that I didn’t have enough followers, nor was I the right person to be selling these. I’m not the girl to wear Jordan’s to school, so for me to be selling mini-Jordan’s was just as nerve-racking as it is for me to be wearing them on my feet.”

Although as fearful as it was for Castillo, she knew that with the support of her friends and family her business would be successful.

“My daughter has always been very independent and dedicated to what she does,” mother Janey Castillo said. “In the making of her business, I had no part whatsoever, all the expenses was on her and everything that you see is all her. I am proud of her and what she has been able to so far accomplish.”

With COVID-19 still circulating, Castillo’s mission is to keep her and the customers safe. She not only always wears a mask when delivering house to house, but keeps the buyer’s cash in an envelope to maintain a contactless business. 

“Treat your customers how you want to be treated,” Castillo said. “If you were to order a package, you’d make sure it is sanitized and safe to bring in to your home. That’s why [it’s important that] not only are you are ensuring that your customers receive the best but the safest as well.”

As of right now, Castillo hopes to inspire others along the way with a variety of new projects, such as her second launch of keychains currently in the works. 

“For those wanting to start a business, you need to patient,” Castillo said. “It is going to take some time especially if you’re just starting out like me.”

Have you ever thought of creating your own business someday?