At Benny’s Beading, shoppers will find handbags, bracelets, key chains, and waist chains made of luxury African beads.
Benita Obasuyi, the founder of Benny’s Beading, used to play with African beads in Nigeria when she was a teenager.
“I fell in love with the beauty of the beads,” Obasuyi said.
As she got older, the 23-year-old noticed how her skin would negatively react to certain jewelry metals.
“The beads are durable and comfortable on the skin,” Obasuyi said. “I fell in love with the colors and how you can use [the beads] to make beautiful, unique pieces.”
Two years after moving to Indianapolis to be closer to her family, Obasuyi made a bracelet for a friend. His friends asked for the same bracelet and said they would pay for it.
That was all the motivation she needed, and in early 2022, Obasuyi started Benny’s Beading. She began with just bracelets and sold them mostly to coworkers and friends. Soon after, her craft and designs grew, and she added more accessory options, like keychains, waist beads, ankle bracelets, and even handbags.
As her brand grew, Obasuyi realized she needed help with making the right decisions for her business and enrolled in Ivy Tech Community College’s entrepreneurship program in Indianapolis.
“I had enough of the trial and error,” Obasuyi said. “Now, I get to understand what I was doing wrong and how to correct those mistakes.”
Obasuyi says the most beneficial part of being in the program is the entrepreneurial connections and community she has gained in the classroom.
“My professor at Ivy Tech, Steve Thrash, has been very helpful. He knows of resources and is very knowledgeable as an experienced business owner himself. He facilitates discussions and encourages the other students in the program to also share their stories, making my journey much more familiar, clearer, and easier,” Obasuyi said of her experience.
Obasuyi is slated to finish the program in 2025 and is working toward opening a storefront.
“I want a space where people can come in and see the beauty for themselves. I don’t want to just be an online business,” Obasuyi said. “Even if they don't want to buy my products, I want people to just enjoy the beauty of African beads.”
You can shop for African beaded accessories at bennysbeading.com. Learn more about the Ivy Tech Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.