Do you have what it takes to start your own business? Many people would probably answer, “yes,” until faced with the prospect of actually doing so. Starting your own business can be scary, due to the risk and the fear of failure. And yet, when done successfully, it can be one of the most satisfying experiences. Current students Mikaela Bailey (a sophomore) and her older sister, Emily (a senior), are the latest in a new generation of entrepreneurs, starting their own successful online business called All Saints Shop, before even obtaining their degrees.
Mikaela, the founder and chief designer at All Saints, has had an interest in graphic design since her early teens, even teaching herself how to use Adobe Photoshop. The hours spent learning as much as possible about the platform led to the creation of her own designs, a skill that would eventually be used for All Saints.
The business itself began on a whim this past summer. Disappointed by the selection of Catholic laptop stickers available on the market, she decided to make her own. While she ended up not purchasing the design, others did, catching her attention. Her sister, Emily, suggested that she continue making such designs, leading, eventually, to the All Saints Shop — an online store where anyone can purchase artistic renderings of the saints for iPhone cases, laptop skins, wall art, and more.
“I hadn’t planned on turning the project into a business. Being a college student, the idea seemed crazy and totally out of the picture, but the response from my friends when they saw the designs was one of the biggest encouragements to keep going with it,” says Mikaela. “My college education has provided me with some very unique skills for this project. One of the biggest factors being that it has cultivated in me a stronger love for history and theology. My history classes have played a role in the design aspect of the business, helping me learn about the time periods, style of art, and importance of the saints during their lifetimes.
What began with simply uploading designs onto Redbubble, an online store for independent artists, and sharing images on Instagram has now expanded with the creation of a website, with plans to only move forward from here. The business’s dynamic design is evident on the website and on its Instagram account, and can be attributed to Mikaela. Emily serves as her editor, acting as a sounding board for Mikaela’s ideas and offering insights into the best ways to run the website and the Instagram page. Currently a theology major, Emily has shown a keen interest in marketing for years, even assisting with the marketing of Christendom’s on-campus coffee shop, Sacred Grounds. Emily works hard to get the word out about All Saints, expanding the shop’s followers and trying to understand what they like and want to see from All Saints.
“I’m interested in marketing because I’m interested in people. I am always fascinated to see what sorts of things are trends and trying to get inside the human mind and understand why these things are popular and useful. Having a background in the liberal arts also helps me to keep my mind open on ways to improve. Since I’m not majoring in business I didn’t learn the ‘one way’ of successful marketing, and am able to use my breadth of knowledge to be creative. It is a constant learning process and I feel humble enough to know that I can always improve and look for better ways to do things.
Mikaela is only two months into her sophomore year at Christendom, but is already beginning to discern what her major should be (she’s leaning towards theology). Emily, nearing the end of her time at the school, plans on doing graduate studies in theology afterwards.
While Emily is about to move on into the career world, both she and Mikaela will continue to expand the scope of All Saints Shop, with hopes to move sales off Redbubble and find a way to privately manufacture and ship products. Their range of products will expand as well, as they continue to create as many saint images as they can.
It takes guts to start your own business. Mikaela and Emily have that, plus one more essential ingredient: a broad-based, time-tested liberal arts background which gives them the tools they need to achieve success. All of that has so far equaled a winning recipe.
To find out more about All Saints, visit their website at allsaintsshop.com.