Alumni Spotlight – Alie Chomicki tackling college and her business one step at a time
When 2019 North Penn graduate Alie Chomicki asked her parents if she could get a job during her senior year in high school, her parents told her to prioritize her studies first. So what did she end up doing? She started her own business using the money she got for Christmas.
“I decided to think about what I wanted to sell. I love makeup and I do it all the time, but my favorite part about makeup is the lipgloss because it adds so much to the look,” Chomicki said. “When I bought lip glosses from the stores, they were very nice, but a lot of them were too sticky. I decided to create a formula that wasn’t too sticky and after that, I started my business.”
And from there, she created Pretty Girl Things where she initially sold lip glosses but has now expanded it to lashes and accessories. When deciding on the name, she wanted it to be original while also having a special meaning to it.
“I just want everyone who wears my products to feel pretty and beautiful,” Chomicki said. “I wanted the name of my business to be broad because I wanted to open my website to not just selling lip glosses but also to sell lashes and other products or maybe accessories.”
Before her online store went live, she had to take things a step at a time. She began by researching what websites she could use and deciding on a theme for it. Then, she had to create an Instagram account in order to sell her products to people outside of North Penn. Chomicki did her research through Youtube and Instagram but changed things up to make it her own.
“When I made my Instagram in January of 2019, I saw that I was getting no likes on my posts. I had around 70 followers and had only 5 likes. At the time, I was only selling to people at school, but then I started adding hashtags on my posts, and by the end of February, I started getting hundreds of thousands of likes because my pictures kept getting exposure,” Chomicki said.
Chomicki had never tried making her own lip glosses prior to starting her business, so she had to do research on the basic ingredients. Most lip glosses have a similar base, but you can add more things to it like pigments, oils, or scents.
“Sometimes, I’ll be thinking throughout the day about what type of lip glosses I want to make, and I’ll go through my inventory and play around with different pigments or scents. It’s just trial and error. I would swatch it on myself and make sure that I would actually want to wear it and if it would look good on others,” Chomicki said.
She also sells false lashes and works with someone who makes them. They create certain styles and from there, she picks the ones that she likes and sells them.
Chomicki also got certified to do lashes a few months ago and has created another business called Lashed by Alie where she gives other people lash extensions.
“I would see lash extensions on other people and I loved the idea of just waking up with beautiful lashes. I realized that I wanted to do that for other people and my mom also loves lash extensions and told me to get certified. I told myself that I should just take this risk and try getting certified because you never know what could happen. I wanted to try something new on top of Pretty Girl Things, so after taking the courses, I got certified and now I get to do other people’s lashes,” Chomicki said.
In order to get certified, you attend classes hosted by lash technicians who are certified to teach. The classes teach you how to place lashes on clients, give you supplies and a handbook, and they teach you about the anatomy of the eye.
As a small business owner during a pandemic, Chomicki has found that her business isn’t struggling to the same extent as other businesses because she uses an online platform. For the most part, sourcing her ingredients is the only aspect that has been impacted because many of the vendors delay some of the products.
Since she started her business, she has learned how to advertise, how to manage money, how to distinguish quality products, and has become more aware of what’s worth it in regards to products and opportunities to expand her business.
“It’s been a very interesting and rewarding experience. I started with literally nothing; I had no idea how to start or run a business. But if you really want something, you can get it, and I wanted to have my own business, so I took the time to learn and I’m very proud of myself for that,” Chomicki said.
Her favorite part about running a business is her ability to have creative control. She has the power to choose what she wants to do and what she doesn’t want to do.
Chomicki encourages those who are interested in starting a business to take the risk and try it.
“You never know how you’ll do until you try. Before I started my business, I thought about it for a few months and I told myself that I wasn’t sure I could go do it. But one day, I decided to take the risk and do it. Life is all about taking risks. If you really want to do something, just do it. Try to start your own business. Try to find people who will support you. Try to create a platform on social media so that other people can support you. Take the risk because you’ll never know what will happen, and if it doesn’t work out, you’ll know that you still tried,” Chomicki said.
Other than running her businesses, Chomicki is currently attending La Salle University where she majors in nursing.
“For my whole life, I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. My mom is a nurse and she’s had a big influence on me. I just want to take care of people,” Chomicki said.
Currently, she’s working on completing her prerequisites and is applying for several nursing schools. In the future, she hopes to become a pediatric nurse or traveling nurse and plans on continuing to run both of her businesses.
Favorite part about life after high school?
“I like the freedom. I didn’t know I would like college as much because personally, I’m not a big school person. But at college, I’ve met some very nice friends, had more freedom, and tried things that I didn’t get to when I was living at home. Since I go to school in Philly, I get to take transportation and explore more.”
What do you miss about North Penn?
“I miss the friends that I made. I don’t have that much contact with them anymore because we all went our separate ways. I miss being in classes with all of my friends. I also miss my teachers.”
Advice to High Schoolers:
“My advice is to make sure that you get the best grades that you can and make memories. With your grades, get the best grades because I believe that education is freedom. The better you do, the better you’ll be in college or wherever you choose to go in the future.”