Senior Mary Kate Vanecko Creates Ella to Empower Young Girls

By Alexandra Smith, Chief Features Editor

Growing up is tough. Maintaining confidence and a sense of self as an adolescent when you’re still trying to discern who exactly your “self” is can seem impossible. Girls, I would argue, face even more adversity when it comes to this process. From the societal pressure to look a certain way to the physical changes to the pressure we put on ourselves to achieve every task with perfection, for girls, the teenage years can be pretty damaging to their self esteems. And that’s where Ella comes in.

Senior Mary Kate Vanecko has just created this blog and jewelry company as a way to empower young girls, inspired by her own journey.

In the site’s mission statement Mary Kate writes, “Ella focuses on strength out of recognition that society that often tells us that strength should be limited by gender. I’ve realized that expectations about how women should and shouldn’t act or look often lead me to second guess myself. I’ve also learned that reading into any of it is a waste of time. The purpose of Ella is to help create a world where girls are more concerned with what they can accomplish than how they look.”

Drawing upon her own experiences that gave and allowed her to find strength, Mary Kate created a brand that she believed would help other girls do the same. “I have always been extremely active. I played lax my first two years at HC but stopped to spend the year abroad in Ireland. Nonetheless, I found that challenging myself physically taught me how to push myself and succeed in other areas of my life. Being strong was always something that appealed to me and I became very interested in this idea of strength in women,” Mary Kate explains.

“Growing up, I’ve recognized that strength isn’t necessarily a quality we encourage in young girls. I wanted to do something to combine my interest in health and wellness with my passion for empowering girls and women,” she continues. “Additionally, I’ve recognized how much pressure there is on girls to act and look a certain way, especially with the seemingly exponential growth of social media. I have a lot of younger cousins and sisters (including my 5-year-old goddaughter Ella who inspired the name), and I wanted to create something that would inspire girls like them to recognize their own strength and power.”

And the jewelry does just that. Ella’s first piece, a pink and gold, lightweight bracelet with the word “strong” on it, is subtle yet bold, making it easy for the wearer of it to be active.

“Part of my long-term vision for Ella is for it to grow into a jewelry line that is fashionable and inspirational but also lightweight – small things you can wear while you’re going on a run or doing yoga that reminds you of your own strength,” says Mary Kate.

With this mission, Ella also features a blog that allows girls of all ages to write about and connect over their various life challenges and experiences. In the blog’s mission statement Mary Kate writes that, “Ella is a platform for girls and women to connect, inspire, and support each other” that will feature, “interviews, workouts, recipes, art, and much more.”

In the blog’s first interview series title “What College Girls Wish they Knew in High School,” seniors Meighan Grady and Emily Breakell share stories about their own confidence struggles and what they’ve learned from them.

Additionally, while currently the site focuses on ways to empower girls, MK eventually sees it as a way to empower all people to find their strength.

“Currently, the message is focused heavily on girls. Part of that comes from the fact that my current focus is jewelry which is more commonly worn by females,” MK explains. “As Ella grows, I want it to become a message that appeals to and includes all people. Implied in the messaging that girls are strong is the idea that strength is not limited by gender and that all people should recognize their own strength and potential. For now, I would love to speak with any boys or men who are interested in the company.”

To read the blog, shop the jewelry, or to let MK know you’re interested in writing for Ella, Check out the website ellajewelryco.com and contact us at ellajewelrycompany@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of ellajewelryco.com

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