The year 2020 put a heavy weight on many shoulders. Being stuck inside, a year and a half ago, during quarantine left so many in desperate need of a hobby and a little positivity. Fourth year student, Alex Blomstrom made it her mission to fulfill both these goals.
Alex Blom Creates (ABC) was born in April of 2020 and first began with Blomstrom and her grandmother creating scrunchies and sending a fraction of the proceedings to Feeding America. Then came her ‘Spread Kindness’ line which promoted the idea of positivity and Blomstrom once again sent a fraction of the proceeds to the Philadelphia Black Giving Circle after the death of George Floyd shook the world to its core.
“I just wanted to spread a little bit of light because everything was just so heavy,” Bloomstrom said. “And also to be able to give back to communities that were in more need.”
Blomstrom became inspired to pursue a business in design as she watched her fellow Penn State THON committee members use their creativity for a bigger purpose. After seeing so many people experiment with upcycling their clothing during quarantine, Blomstrom began experimenting with the Cricut machine she had bought her mom for Christmas.
“Once I had the idea for the ‘Spread Kindness’ designs, and I drew those out they were just very simple but meaningful to me,” says Blomstrom. “That’s when I really loved the idea of creating apparel that you can wear and it means something and represents something to that person.”
Fast forward to today, Blomstrom is successfully running her own business incorporating her love for photography and design into an apparel line. Just on Instagram alone, she has amassed close to 19,000 followers and that number only continues to rise.
From creating content daily on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, Blomstrom thrived off of the deep dives into what she was working on for ABC, her raw accounts of her life as a business owner and her overall presence. Multiple TikToks of hers have even gone viral and she holds a following of over 27, 000 followers on her account.
“I spent a lot of time trying to build my platform as a positive space on the internet, like a space for good vibes,” Blomstrom says. “You can come here and everyone’s kind and friendly.”
Blomstrom has built a community through her consistency on social media but that doesn’t come without its challenges — especially as a college student. The balance between running a small business while staying focused on school work and other time commitments to clubs and organizations is something Blomstrom has felt the pressure of.
“I go to work on schoolwork or I will take a break and go and eat dinner and I feel guilty that I’m not working, and it shouldn’t be like that,” Blomstrom says. “I’ve really tried to mentally be like ‘it’s okay, you need a break, you need this time to take care of yourself,’ but I definitely feel pressure to be constantly active and making sure that I’m getting back to people as soon as possible, especially now that I have a following that I have.”
Feeling the toll on her mental health, Blomstrom recognized that she couldn’t juggle it all and found the best way to handle it was by creating a planner that takes all these things into consideration. By using what she has learned in her classes through being a psychology minor, she designed a planner that includes a to-do list, as well as a self-care section that poses the question, “what are you doing for yourself today?”
Blomstrom found that a mix of time management and taking time out of her day to do something completely for her like taking a walk, making breakfast or doodling has been vital for her mental health. Recognizing that it’s okay to have a bad day and that she’s only one person has helped her create healthy habits of dealing with the stress.
“I genuinely love running this business — it is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and every day I’m learning something new, and I love that about it” says Blomstrom.
The thought of what other people would think about her small business was a fear factor that caused Blomstrom to be wary of actually pursuing ABC full time. As a finance major, she was nervous to talk to one professor about her dream but he quickly reassured her with a message of encouragement that she still thinks about to this day.
Blomstrom’s passion for ABC has driven it from scrunchies to complete collection drops — some of which have sold out within a matter of minutes. Pouring her heart and soul into each design and being unapologetically herself has navigated her through even the toughest parts of being a small business owner.
Going to bed every night, Blomstrom says she is excited for what the next day will bring — challenges and all. Spending hours each day picking up orders, doodling and thinking of her next collection, she feels grateful for the opportunity and plans to continue ABC full-time after graduation. Her message of positivity has been reached throughout the world and Blomstrom has proved that you can truly do anything you set your mind to.
“I think it’s so important to be a light whenever you can because you never know the difference you can make,” Blomstrom says.