By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer
Cherie Walker and her daughter, Kennedy Miller, began Zapped Waco, a semi-permanent jewelry business, in May after they were inspired by the matching bracelets they bought from Magnolia Market. Walker and Miller bought the machinery and jewelry chains and set up socials.
As the business began to establish itself, Miller stepped away since her photography business became her full-time job, but she still pushed her mom to continue what they started.
Walker then learned to use the solder machine, the equipment that welds the jewelry together, by practicing and watching videos. Zapped Waco offers rings, bracelets, anklets and necklaces that are 14 karat gold-filled or sterling silver chains.
“When I started out, I was very, very slow at this and kept apologizing over and over saying, ‘I’m sorry I’m so slow,’ and everybody was so nice,” Walker said. “I just kept on doing it and learning as I went.”
Zapped Waco doesn’t own a traditional building, solely conducting business out of pop-up shops because Walker said she finds it interesting to see how other people run their businesses. Zapped Waco often pairs up with local businesses or events such as Deck the Halls and Barefoot Campus Outfitters.
The business has recently expanded to two machines, so Walker brought her niece, Kassidy Montgomery, and her son’s girlfriend, Katy Brittain, to the team in September. Now, they can tackle multiple pop-up events in a single weekend.
“It really just seemed like a fun experience, which it has been,” Montgomery said. “It’s been a lot of fun to help it grow and to get to meet new people, see new businesses and different boutiques and salons that we are going to.”
Montgomery and Brittain learned how to ‘zap’ from Walker, and the team often splits up each weekend for different pop-ups and private events. Saturday, the three of them will be split between St. Jerome’s Fall festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lenna Lane from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a private party.
When Walker’s daughter stepped away from the business, Brittain took over the social media and management tasks.
“I do a lot of similar things for my 9-to-5 job, just like running Instagram, social media, reaching out to people to get into their stores for pop-ups or get into vendor markets and things like that,” Brittain said. “So when Kennedy stepped down, I just kind of stepped up.”
Brittain’s full-time job is managing a hair company business remotely. For Zapped Waco, she informs followers of pop-up locations and customer service-related issues and makes sure they are booked for upcoming events.
Brittain began practicing her jewelry application on her boyfriend and she said she used the same bracelet 12 times. She said her first event with Zapped Waco was so busy she couldn’t get a sip of water because of the amount of people lined up, but it was the best way to learn because now every other event is a breeze.
Montgomery said her most memorable pop-up was at G2 by Georgios, a local formal wear shop. She said it was really fun to be in that atmosphere surrounded by that season’s models.
“When I first started it, it was really just to help alleviate all the extra my aunt had because this, of course, isn’t her full-time job either,” Montgomery said. “And then it turned into kind of something that I just love to do.”
All of the women involved with Zapped Waco have other full-time jobs. Walker said all of her life, she has had a side hustle. Within this hustle, she has been able to meet new people and see heartwarming moments such as a dad and daughter getting matching bracelets.
Montgomery and Brittain said they enjoy talking and meeting new people at the pop-ups. Montgomery said she learns a lot while she is sitting and talking with a customer.
“I appreciate it more now because I work at home, and I’m by myself all day, so I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy it,” Brittain said. “I think it’s a chance to meet people maybe you never would have crossed paths with, that end up being a good friend or somebody good to have in the industry, because we’ve created a lot of relationships with people.”
Walker doesn’t see expanding the business into a physical place. She said she likes being able to go to different places in the community.
“I know that this is a trend, but we try to continuously find new things to keep people interested,” Walker said. “I foresee in the future maybe adding different things. I’m just not really sure right now, but we do keep thinking out of the box to keep it interesting and keep the momentum going.”