By, Kelly Cwik & Megan LaCreta, Asst. A&E Editor & Asst. Features Editor
Senior marketing major Juliana Tronconi started her own small business on Instagram @totedbyjuliana selling hand-painted tote bags. Tronconi announced her business in a post early in October, and since then, has found success sharing her art with the Manhattan College community and beyond.
Tronconi was inspired to start her business by her lifelong love of art. She considered art school but chose to attend Manhattan College instead. Tronconi dove back into art over quarantine, and soon decided to turn her hobby into a business.
“I always make stuff for me and my friends, and the tote bags everyone really seemed to love,” said Tronconi. “So I started making a ton…then I decided to make Instagram and people have been loving them, which I genuinely didn’t think at all. I was like, if I get two people to buy them I’d be happy but people really liked them, which is exciting.”
Tronconi hoped her tote bags would be an affordable, useful and unique way for people to sport her art.
“I use [a tote bag] every day, especially living off campus. Anytime I go anywhere I use a tote bag, and I want to make something that isn’t just a painting, like something that people can actually use and take around with them that showcases art in something that you don’t really see everyday,” said Tronconi. “Because a lot of reusable tote bags come from stores or clothing brands and they’re simple and they’re cute and they get the job done, but I’m like why not make it fun and in color.”
While Tronconi’s artistic talent takes center stage, she depends on her business skills behind-the-scenes. As a marketing major, Tronconi has enjoyed the creative freedom of having her own business.
“I love that it allows me to apply marketing, my major, like I feel like I’m actually doing something with it,” said Tronconi. “It allows me to apply it to whatever I want to do, like with the Instagram, and I love that. I’ve always said since I was little…I want to be the boss, I want to be able to control it and I think that’s the best part.”
All of Tronconi’s bags are hand painted and one of a kind, but Tronconi can repaint her designs and even add customizations. She also works with customers to make their own personalized bags.
Tronconi has also started selling her tote bags at Turn Style, MC’s new on-campus thrift store. The store reached out to her over social media, and Tronconi now makes bags specifically to sell there.
Tronconi’s bags are one example of how Turn Style is hoping to support student creators and entrepreneurs, explained senior political science and international studies major and Turn Style founder Liola Moody.
“We have a consistent student feature corner at the store, so basically any student on campus who has a niche, whether that’s painting, making something, jewelry, cloth- ing, they can have an opportunity if they DM us … to have their stuff featured in the store and 100% of profits go back to them.”
Sophomore business student and Turn Style worker Cece Bryant described the mutually beneficial relationship between Tronconi and the thrift store.
“[Tronconi] helps us represent what Turn Style is and… we help giving each other recognition because since it’s her designs on the bags, when we post them everyone else will see what she’s doing… and at the same time we can also prof- it from it by making merch and have other people know more about the store as well,” Bryant said.