This past year was hard on everyone, but it also provided a lot of opportunities for people that they may have not had otherwise. For PV alumna, Alex Blomstrom, this past year offered the opportunity to start and run an online clothing business, Alex Blom Creates, all from her house. Alex Blom Creates focuses on spreading positivity and kindness, while also advocating for mental health awareness. As part of her mission, Alex sells shirts with logos that say “Spread Kindness” and “Spread Positivity”, along with other shirts and sweatshirts, some of which are customized. She also sells daily and weekly planners that double as wellness trackers.
What started as a passion project over quarantine making scrunchies with her grandmother to raise money for Feeding America, turned into something much larger. In less than a year, this business has become a full-time job, and Alex has sold hundreds of t-shirts, sweatshirts, scrunchies, and planners. Alex Blom Creates also has gained quite the following through customers, and the company’s Instagram page has over six thousand followers.
“It is simply the best feeling to see someone wearing something I have created. I have only run into someone wearing an ABC piece a handful of times but I always get so excited. Being an e-commerce store, you never get to interact with customers face-to-face, so seeing someone enjoying their clothing I created is incredibly rewarding,” Alex said.
Not only is Alex running her business full time, she is also a junior at Penn State University where she majors in finance. Although school this year has been very different since classes are completely virtual at Penn State, it has allowed Alex to continue to run her business while also being a student. Instead of being on campus this year, Alex stayed home to take classes and run her business from her house.
Although Alex makes being a full-time student and running a business look easy, it has not been as simple as it seems. Alex does most of the work for Alex Blom Creates herself, with occasional help from her mom and brother. She says the transition to doing school and working in the fall was definitely hard for her. Alex is the type of person who really enjoys what she does and puts her all into her work, so finding this balance between these two was very important to her.
“In the fall, I was terrible at finding a work-life balance and was struggling to handle school, my business, and a social life or any downtime really. I found my mental health beginning to slip because I was so anxious about getting all of my tasks done each day and all of the orders sent out, school assignments submitted, and staying active on social media. I have always been organized and a lover of structure, but time management took on a whole new meaning when I started this business. I absolutely love what I do, and now that I have learned how to better manage my time and separate work from school from life, I have been a lot less stressed and a lot happier, but also more productive and efficient,” Alex said.
Some of the things that Alex learned in both high school and college have definitely helped her with running Alex Blom Creates. Editing videos in PVTV sparked her interest in photography and videography, skills that she strengthened in college by being a Public Relations captain for Penn State’s THON, which have helped her create content for her social media. Some of her business classes at Penn State have also helped her with technicalities and terms of running a business.
Many of the most valuable lessons Alex has learned while running Alex Blom Creates have been outside of the classroom. Some of these lessons include the value of being authentic and creating what she truly likes instead of just things that she thinks will sell,; the importance of trial and error and market research when developing her product offering,; and the necessity of being consistent as a business owner and practicing her business’s values of spreading positivity and kindness.
“I have made an effort to use my platform as a space of kindness and positivity, and transfer this into my everyday life. It has made me happier and my relationships more meaningful,” Alex said, when reflecting on the most important lessons she’s learned while running her business.
Alex encourages anyone who is thinking about running their own business or who is currently running their own business to keep the business true to them and to stay consistent with what you are doing. She also encourages any business owners to use social media to their advantage to get the word out about their business and their products.
Many exciting changes are coming to Alex Blom Creates in the coming months such as transitioning the business from made-to-order items to premade inventory and outsourcing work to a print screening company. The goal of these changes is to make the business more sustainable and efficient by allowing Alex to focus on building her brand rather than physically making the products.
To stay up to date with Alex on everything that is happening with Alex Blom Creates you can follow her business instagram “@alexblom.creates”.