ROCK HILL—Three middle-school friends from Rock Hill have turned a love of making pretty jewelry into a business that raises money for people in need.
Anna Kloman, 13; Ruthie Kelsey, 12; and Ahn Mai, 11, are the creative minds behind Broskis Bracelets (instagram.com/bros kis_bracelets), an Instagram-based business launched March 22 that has raised hundreds of dollars for Family Promise, a Rock Hill nonprofit that provides shelter and food for needy families.
The idea for the business was born when Ruthie and Anna were at a basketball tournament a while back. That’s not an unusual place for them to be, by the way, because the game is a big part of their lives. Ruthie is the daughter of Pat Kelsey, head basketball coach at Winthrop University, and Anna’s dad is Brian Kloman, the team’s assistant coach.
Ruthie said that she and her friend Ahn, both current sixth-graders at St. Anne School in Rock Hill, had started making bracelets together several years ago and wanted to turn their hobby into something bigger. Ruthie pitched the idea of a business to Anna, who thought it sounded like a great venture.
The trio’s initial plans were disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis, but they decided to push ahead anyway and launched their business.
Asked where the quirky business name comes from, Ruthie said her dad uses the word “Broski” frequently and she and her friends picked it up. They thought it would be a fun and memorable name for their venture.
The girls can’t get together because of social-distancing rules, but every day after home-schooling is complete, they work on their jewelry. They share ideas and new designs through video chats and online discussions.
The Broskis catalog includes a wide selection of bracelets, plus handmade earrings and woven necklaces. From the beginning, their intent was to do good while being creative.
“When we launched, we were hoping to make a positive impact in our community during these rough times,” Ruthie said.
Initially, the girls hoped to raise just $100 for Family Promise, but they surpassed that goal in just one week. An article in the Rock Hill paper and support from the Winthrop basketball team spread the word about their jewelry around the state and in other parts of the country.
As of April 29, Broskis Bracelets has brought in more than $500 for the charity, and sales are still going.
Lisa Kelsey, Ruthie’s mom, has watched all of their efforts and is proud of what they’ve been able to do even during a crisis.
“It’s a lot of work for them having to juggle making bracelets and filling orders with school, but they’ve been able to keep up and we’re all very proud of them,” Mrs. Kelsey said.