From skateboarding to rock climbing, everyone has their own niche or hobby. But not everyone can make it a business. Quinnipiac University student Merve Sariyildiz turned his passion for baking into success with his online store called Strawberries by Merve.
In July 2020, with COVID-19 raging, Sariyildiz, now a second-year student majoring in interdisciplinary studies, decided to start baking to pass the time. But now she wants to try something a little different. After swiping her Instagram feed, she quickly found what turned out to be her biggest career move yet.
“I was scrolling through the reels on Instagram when I came across chocolate-covered sweets,” says Sariyildiz. “And I’ve seen how people can use them to create designs and put edible text on them to make them very customized and personal. I wondered what it would be like.”
After experiencing an epiphany moment, she asked her parents if she could start a business making chocolate-covered treats. At first, she received backlash because she wanted to spend her time focusing on school rather than business ventures. Months later, her parents finally gave in. In January 2021, Sariyildiz opened her own online shop, Strawberries by Merve, which specializes in her chocolate-covered treats.
Her business offers a variety of chocolate-dipped delicacies such as strawberries, oreos, pretzels, and cake pops, and delivers the goods locally. did.
One of the key elements of starting your own business is promoting your product. With this in mind, Sariyildiz promoted chocolate-covered treats on her Instagram. First, she usually put sweet products with a specific theme, such as Valentine’s Day or Bad Bunny, in blue boxes and photographed her creations for the world. I posted a step-by-step tutorial to bring the to life to Instagram and her TikTok.
“People started reposting and I offered some (Instagram) giveaways. These giveaways helped more people understand my business and they kept ordering.” Sariyildiz said.
A 2021 World Bank study found that women-owned businesses responded with “resilience and innovation” to the challenges posed by the pandemic, with more women-led SMEs compared to men-led SMEs and microenterprises. Enterprises should “use digital platforms.”
Sariyildiz says that when she started her business, she never expected to receive more than two orders per month. But after she received positive feedback online, she decided she wanted to continue growing her Strawberry on her Merve.
“It motivated me to keep going,” said Sariyildiz. “At first, I was a little hesitant. It was also considered my first job. It’s kind of a motivator to keep everyone complimenting mine.” “I thought”
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Sariyildiz. She said the hardest part of the business so far has been promoting it after her successful holiday season. Nonetheless, she has improved on this by creating striking designs for her products and connecting with her customers even after the holidays.
“Usually around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, it slowed down considerably,” says Sariyildiz. “So we thought of different products and different designs to catch people’s eye.”
Sariyildiz said he has been in business for nearly two years and has received nothing but positive feedback.
“Everyone loves all the items I make,” said Sariyildiz. “I always make sure they tell me the truth. assured me that they love their products.”
Her dedication to the craft has led her to sell baked goods at events organized by Quinnipiac organizations such as the Latino Cultural Association, Women Empowered, and the International Student Alliance, and a passion for making chocolate-covered treats. Spreading her love and talent to her students.
Christine Lupo, a junior 3+1 marketing and business analytics double major, says she found out about Sariyildiz’s business through her boyfriend. After digging herself into her Strawberries by Merve Instagram account, she loved how her creations were presented.
Sariyildiz’s impressive display makes Lupo want to buy chocolate-coated strawberries for her boyfriend, who is lactose intolerant. But Sariyildiz catered to his needs by making his chocolate his dip his strawberry vegan.
“He really liked it,” Lupo said. “You know, he can’t eat a lot of sweets, so it’s really hard to find junk food that he can actually eat. Good and it tastes really good as well. That’s why I love her business and would definitely buy from her again.”
Sariyildiz is optimistic about the future of her business. She hopes that one day she will open a cafe or bakery with her best-selling product, chocolate-covered treats.
“I would like to (plus) be a teacher as a side job, like during weekends and vacations,” Sariyildiz said. It’s like.”
She said her best advice for anyone wanting to start their own business or sideline is to be brave and do whatever you set your mind to.
“Be honest, do what you want,” said Sariyildiz. “If people say it’s not good, that you can’t get enough customers, whatever it is, if you really put in the effort, you’ll eventually reach the goal you want to reach. You will eventually sell the product. You just have to have confidence in yourself before doing anything or even thinking about selling a product.”