For many students attending SUNY New Paltz this year, this is their first semester of in-person classes. Some of these students turned to starting up small businesses to pass their time while they were not on campus.
One of these students is second-year psychology major Anna Bruno, who has started a jewelry business called Fly Me to the Spoon.
“Fly Me to the Spoon is an eco-friendly, handmade jewelry brand. I specialize in creating one of a kind products from vintage silverware dating back to the 1900s,” said Bruno.
Bruno began her business in May 2021 out of her garage in her home on Long Island. While living at home she would work to create jewelry that she was intrigued about and from there she fell in love with the creation of these pieces.
“As far as the actual name goes I knew I wanted something different that catches your eye,” said Bruno. “I got everyone in on it coming up with different fun puns, and this one was the winner. It worked out nicely as my family and I are big Frank [Sinatra] fans.”
Bruno had no real intention of creating a business out of her work initially. She was just interested in making jewelry for fun to fill up her time while she was not in her online classes.
“I have always been fascinated with the idea of repurposing old pieces that would normally become waste. I had heard of spoon rings and thought they were the coolest thing,” said Bruno. “It was hard at first, but once I learned and got the hang of it I found that I really enjoyed it. I never expected to get into anything like this.”
Once she realized she could make a business out of her jewelry, Bruno reached out to the owner of her favorite store on Long Island to get her opinion on the rings and she then purchased some of Bruno’s stock to sell in her store.
From an unexpected pastime to a full-fledged small business, Bruno’s Fly Me To The Spoon jewelry is in 10 total stores, eight of which are on Long Island, one in Newport, Rhode Island, and one here in New Paltz located at Maglyn’s Dream in Waterstreet Market.
Bruno is especially humbled by all of the support she has received from her family, friends and members of the SUNY New Paltz community.
“It’s a crazy feeling to go around campus and see people wearing something you made. It’s especially cool when I saw that shiny ring originally as a black tarnished spoon,” Bruno said.
All the silverware that Bruno uses to make her jewelry is found at various antique stores and flea markets. The Antique Barn in Waterstreet Market is a place she frequents now to find the antique silverware needed to make her products.
The specific products that Fly Me to the Spoon carries are as follows: Spoon and fork rings, necklaces, earrings, keychains and fork elephant pendants.
With regard to the fork elephant pendants — through the end of October, 10% of all sales of the pendants will be donated to the Save The Elephants charity.
However, not everything about being a student entrepreneur is easy. There are many challenges associated with balancing school work and a business.
“Balancing student life and my business really has been a learning process, learning to be independent, keeping up with my course load and keeping my business going has been a challenge,” said Bruno. “I’ve definitely gotten better at it and it’s getting easier as we go. However, it’s hard not being able to make jewelry on campus, especially when it can be such an escape.”
These hardships are ever present but are not hindering Bruno’s tenacity or her ability to keep a level head and further her business into a future that she sees it going into.
SUNY New Paltz has been doing a lot to help student run businesses get their name out to their peers. The Campus Market outside on the Academic Concourse on Thursdays is a place where these businesses are able to sell their wares in a safe way and garner some publicity for their brands.
Anna Bruno’s Fly Me to the Spoon booth will be outside the Lecture Center every Thursday. Her jewelry is also sold at flymetothespoon.bigcartel.com.
More information and updates about her business can be found on her Instagram @flymetothespoonn.
We as members of the New Paltz community should aim to support small businesses like Fly Me to the Spoon to help young entrepreneurs to get a solid footing doing what they love