With the excessive amount of expenses that come with being in college, it’s no surprise so many students opt for a side hustle or even create their own business. This rings true for one student, Sara Heimlich, whose common hobby-turned-business has given her a new community, nurtured her creativity all while putting some change in her pocket. A sophomore and absolute girl boss, Sara’s one woman jewelry business “Buku Beads” offers handmade chokers, bracelets, necklaces and earrings that are totally customizable. With prices ranging from $12 to $20 for a variety of products, Sara offers uniquely wearable pieces of art that bring happiness to both her and her customers. The materials range from wire to charms or beads, all of which have a genuine boho vibe. 

The boho inspired bead work was actually a jumping off point for Sara at the beginning of her business. Initially, Sara loved to create jewellry, specifically chokers, for herself. She fondly remembers trips to Michael’s and being crafty with her mom as a kid. Eventually, her fun hobby started attracting attention from friends who loved her authentic and unique chokers and wanted their own. So, in the summer of 2019, Sara launched Buku Beads to appease the demand for her products.

The namesake of the business originates from a random suggestion from her dad, who suggested Buku (meaning abundance) after Sara ultimately decided on a B name (she also testdrove Boho Beads, but it didnt have the same ring). With an abundance of colors and an eclectic vibe, “Buku Beads” stuck and Sara was finally able to develop her brand. The name also references the popular New Orleans art and music project Buku, an electronic dance music festival held annually at Mardi Gras World. 

Sara Heimlich

Her drive to spread love through her unique pieces of art stems partly from the appreciation Sara has for fashion and how it shapes her identity. She loves that each person has such an individual sense of style and can use jewellry to express that. When someone orders a piece of her jewellry, whether it be a necklace, bracelet, or ring, Sara takes preference for specific colors, charms or patterns but will then manipulate the pieces based on her own imagination, essentially adding her own spin to it. This allows her pieces to feel more personable and special to both her and her clients. Seeing how each client styles their piece differently is Sara’s favorite part of the business, and the validation of seeing others embrace her artwork has motivated her to strengthen her business model: think better materials, new techniques and designs, and a wider variety of products. 

Buku Beads Instagram

Humble about her success but proud of her work, “Buku Beads” had its first experience recently showcasing as local artist at Tulane Hillel’s art show. Selling her product, interacting with customers and displaying her art was a huge milestone for Sara and “Buku Beads,” and she looks forward to participating in a second Hillel art show and the upcoming Crescent Magazine Student Art + Music Showcase. Above all, Sara says she’s looking forward to continuing to bead, expanding her business and making more jewelry for herself to wear. 

Interested in Sara’s pieces? You can shop her instagram at @Bukubeads!

Buku Beads Instagram

Cover Photo: Buku Beads Instagram