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Rising Stars: Meet Morella Paolini

Today we’d like to introduce you to Morella Paolini.

Hi Morella, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
First of all, all my life, I have been an animal lover, especially dogs. I have had dogs for as long as I can remember, including in my country of birth.

I am now an American Citizen, but I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. I came to this country in 1979. In Venezuela, I went to a British high school so I learned English at a young age.

I wanted to come here to practice my English and that’s when I decided I wanted to live here. I went to college in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and obtain my bachelor’s in Business Administration.

Throughout my career, I have worked in that field. I got tired of South Florida and decided to come to Greenville, SC in 2009 (my sister had already moved here from FL). Again, I worked in my field pretty much all the time here in Greenville, but I wanted to continue with pet sitting that I started in South Florida and also wanted to make some extra money.

I did that for a few years until I had to take care of my mother. One of the last jobs I had, was at my friend’s company that made Jewelry. I presented the idea to make pet jewelry as part of our line. My friend and her business partner decided that it was not something they wanted to do at the time.

That’s when the light bulb went on and I decided to start my small pet jewelry business. I also now make some jewelry for people. I do this while continuing to care for my mother.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It has definitely not been a smooth ride. Pet jewelry does not have a broad customer base. A lot of people might have pets, but a very small group is willing to spend more money on their pets to look good, cute, etc.

Some of them barely buy food for their pets. Getting people to know that I make very good quality pet jewelry, has been hard. That’s difficult when you don’t have a bottomless bag of money. So when you start it has to be part-time, because you need a regular job to pay your bills.

Also, during the worst of the pandemic, I had to put my business on hold for about a year, because I had to do much more now that my mother was not leaving the house at all. So I, along with many other small businesses, lost a lot during the worst of the pandemic.

In business, 1 year is really more like 10. This year I decided to start up my business again and open up my Etsy shop once again.

It has not been easy, but I love what I do and if I have learned something throughout my career is to never give up on your dream

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I make Pet Jewelry for any pet. That includes horses, bunnies, chickens, and whatever pet you have, I’ll try my best to make it for you. That’s my specialty but I also now make Anklets for people and Key chains. I love to create new, unique, quality jewelry.

I use the best quality products (beads, clasps, spacers, etc.) that I can afford. These are the same beads, clasps, etc. that other businesses are using to make jewelry for people. I use them to make your pet a beautiful, quality product at affordable prices.

What I am most proud of is that, although it has been a rough road, I have not given up, even after closing for a year, here I am ready to start again.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
I was a very active child and very mature for my age. I have never been shy at all, but when I was around 6 years old, I discovered the hard way, that I was extremely allergic to seafood. It landed me in the hospital and I was in a coma for some time. I almost died.

Once I got out of the hospital, I was so weak and thin, that I had to learn to walk again!! After a couple of years of recovery, my doctor recommended I start doing some kind of physical activity. I was always interested in watching tennis on TV, so my parents asked me if I wanted to start classes at a local club in Caracas, Venezuela.

Of course, I said yes. After training for a couple of years I made the Venezuelan team and traveled all over the world representing my country. I still have my uniform and believe it or not, still fits me after more than 40 years later!!

I retired at the age of 18 and continued playing, but never pursued a career in Tennis. Instead, a traveled to the US and pursued a career in Business Management.

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