By Peyton Sams
A California native has brought her passion for fashion and accessorizing to Oxford with a popular, personalized handmade jewelry business.
University of Mississippi senior Caileigh Tuma is originally from Newport Beach, California. In November of 2015, Tuma created Caileigh Hana Designs, a company that offers a variety of handmade statement jewelry pieces and simple necklaces.
Tuma is based in Oxford during the school year, but continues her work in Newport Beach over summer and winter breaks.
Growing up in a trendy California area, Tuma was exposed to the newest fashions and hip accessories. Throughout elementary school, she found joy in creating her own fashion pieces.
“I remember being little and going to Laguna Beach on the weekends with my mom,” she said. “We would spend all day tanning while learning to make several designs with all different kinds of beads and strings.”
Tuma began by making personal jewelry, but she was soon asked by several friends to make jewelry for them. After she began getting a lot of requests from her friends and family to keep creating jewelry, Tuma decided to create her own jewelry business and began selling designs online.
“Aside from starting my jewelry business in order to create fun accessories for myself and others to enjoy, I find myself enjoying its therapeutic benefits as well,” she said. “I have attention deficit disorder, so I get bored very easily. When I’m not doing anything, my brain is constantly moving thousands of miles per hour. While I’m making my jewelry, it allows me to do something with my hands, distracts my brain and allows me to relax.”
Tuma is inspired by fellow jewelry designers. She watches to see what other people are creating, then adds her own personal twist. She takes pride in having different taste than others, which sparks her creativity.
Each design varies. She is also inspired by her mom, who creates her own jewelry and has taught her to work to the best of her ability while enjoying what she does.
Tuma describes her jewelry as “dainty and simple.” She likes to make all of her pieces unique, but wants her customers to be able to wear them as much as possible.”
“I try and make my prices reasonably low while still making money off what I do,” Tuma said. “I would rather have more people wearing my stuff and make a smaller profit than have only a few people wearing it because of a high price. This business is more than just a monetary gain for me. I want to make jewelry that everyone can feel like they can afford to wear.”
Changing styles and keeping up with what people want are some of Tuma’s biggest challenges. In Oxford, she is unable to get her favorite beads and strings from California. She orders some jewelry-making material online, but worries about what it looks like in person. Tuma tries to purchase jewelry making needs and materials before coming to Oxford for the school year.
It is also challenging being a student and maintaining a jewelry business. Some pieces are harder to make than others, and she spends much time learning how to make these new additions for her business.
Depending on the demand or the arrival of new beading material, Tuma spends at least five hours each week designing and creating new jewelry to satisfy the needs and wants of her customers.
“I have been a customer of Caileigh Hana Designs from the beginning,” said UM student Allison Thomas. “Caileigh is dedicated to making the best and newest jewelry. She has a great eye for fashion and an amazing work ethic. It really is no surprise that she is so successful.”
Tuma said making people happy and seeing people wear her creations is the best part about her business.
“It’s fun seeing pictures or seeing people out and about wearing my jewelry,” Tuma said. “It definitely puts a smile on my face to know that people have a desire to wear what I make.”
To learn more about Caileigh Hana Designs, you can visit her Instagram account @caileighanadesigns. You can browse online and request personalized orders.