By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor
Frisco junior Ellie Meinershagen has found time to balance many different things during her time in college. Not only is she a double major in marketing and secondary cello performance, but she is also a principal cellist in the Baylor Symphony Orchestra and a business owner.
Acute Accents, her handmade clay earring business, is available through various platforms. Meinershagen said she sells her earrings locally at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, in a couple of shops in Waco and through Etsy.
“I started [Acute Accents] the summer before my freshman year of college,” Meinershagen said. “I wasn’t doing it super seriously, just as a fun hobby. Then when I came to college, I joined Oso Launch, which is this mentorship cohort, like an incubator program. They helped me to really form a business plan and to work out the kinks to make it more professional.”
Meinershagen said March 2020 was the beginning of her start to focusing on growing her business. The time spent at home during the pandemic allowed her to fixate a lot of time on that.
Meinershagen said all her earrings are named after her friends, as well as the drawings on her business cards. She said she doesn’t have a set named after herself because she likes them all, so it would be difficult for her to choose.
“I do like the ones that look kind of like marble stone because those have been my favorite to create,” Meinershagen said. “It’s a lot of work to create, but I feel like it’s the most satisfying because it looks expensive.”
Meinershagen said her biggest inspiration is her mom.
“She was the executive director for Frisco Arts for a long time, so she’s been working on this project to build a performing arts center for the last decade,” Meinershagen said. “They are finally breaking ground, so I’m really proud of her. It has been really inspiring to see her create something out of nothing.”
Meinershagen said last year she worked closely with a business coach, Gib Reynolds, who was instrumental in helping her organize the cost breakdown of pricing her products and organizing wholesale deals.
Reynolds, director of the BizLAB, said Meinershagen’s soft but strong demeanor makes her stand out from other business owners.
“Ellie is totally receptive to feedback and ideation, but takes the ideas I shared with her and really grows them into something that is her own,” Reynolds said. “Her coachability and creativity made working with her an absolute treat.”
Reynolds said one of the biggest pieces of advice he has given Meinershagen is to not allow customers to dictate her timing and conditions.
“In many cases, a customer’s expectation might have been realistic for a full-time entrepreneur, but were almost impossible to achieve for a full-time student and part-time entrepreneur,” Reynolds said. “Watching Ellie succeed in building and growing her business while setting realistic boundaries has been so enjoyable. She’s got a great attitude and I hope to continue working with her in the future.”
Meinershagen said she also worked with a social media influencer for help on cleaning up her social media feed, but ultimately, she does everything by herself.
“I source the materials, I make the designs, I create all of the products, I build them all, I ship them, I bake them and I do all the marketing,” Meinershagen said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of payoff. I do think it’s nice to have ownership of the whole process, but it is a lot of work.”
Meinershagen said she enjoys the marketing aspect of her business the most, even though it is the most time-consuming. The most rewarding part of running her business, Meinershagen said, was getting to form close relationships with local Waco businesses.
“I really loved getting to work with local shops. I think that’s really cool, being able to collaborate and make custom merchandise for them makes me feel like I’m a part of the local scene,” Meinershagen said. “For Waco Cha and Lalos Coffee, I got to design boba and dumpling earrings, or I made mangonado and Frida Kahlo earrings for Lalos. I like knowing that I’m contributing to their brand and their local presence, too.”