Torero Spotlight: Sparkle Couture
One violin. Thousands of crystals and pearls. Twelve hours. One vision.
Chloe Spilotro, a junior at the University of San Diego, has been creating a variety of jeweled products since she was 12 years old. Ranging from tech accessories to shoes to license plate frames and even to a violin, starting Sparkle Couture by Chloe in 2006 came naturally.
“One of my mom’s friends had a jewelry company and I wanted to get into it, but I took a different route. I got some flip flops and Swarovski crystals and just glued them on,” Spilotro said.
When friends became interested and wanted to buy items from her, the business took off. Aside from jeweling flip flops and phone cases, Spilotro’s company has recently transitioned into commission work. Because of the limited time commitment with school, she jewels what people ask her to, such as athletic shoes, makeup brushes and her favorite: a violin.
The violin she decorated helped her win a contest held by Dreamtime Creations, a company wholesale supplier for beads, crystals, rhinestones, trims and jewelry supplies. Spilotro submitted the violin into its Professor of Crystal Contest along with 500 other entries. The grand prize included a trip to the Swarovski headquarters in Rhode Island, with airfare and hotel covered. Spilotro received a “Bible of Crystal” and training by the vice president of product development at Swarovski.
“Going to Rhode Island was like a dream; it did not feel real,” Spilotro said. “Being on the East Coast for the first time was amazing.”
Choosing to attend USD has helped the 20-year-old marketing and communications major learn a lot about business. She has found ways to help keep her business on track financially, especially because she has to pay taxes. She has also become more creative with her marketing strategies and found success.
Spilotro knew that USD was her dream school, but the deal was closed after she did an overnight stay.
“I sat in on three or four different classes and I fell in love with the academic environment that USD has to offer,” Spilotro said. “That sealed the deal with me.”
After graduating from USD, Spilotro plans to attend graduate school and keep her business going. While she has been wrestling with deciding the future of her company, she knows it has the potential to grow and become increasingly successful. However, it is hard to do that by herself. Spilotro recognizes that Sparkle Couture by Chloe could really expand and become a brand people use to express themselves and feel happy.
Reviewers on Etsy gave Spilotro’s company a review of four out of five stars. One customer said “This is a really great shop to work with.” Another said that Spilotro is “Etsy’s finest seller.”
“Making customers happy is the goal. [Sparkle Couture] has an element of class to it because I use Swarovski crystals and I bring a fun side to it with my designs,” Spilotro said.
Spilotro hopes her personal touch and quality of her products is appreciated by her customers. She will continue to grow her business as she heads into her last couple years at USD.