Student uses small business to connect internationally

Junior Reaves Lo details experience running Etsy woodworking business


Reaves Lo

Outside, a new color option of skateboard ring, made by junior Reaves Lo, sits on the ground. Lo takes his own product photography for his Etsy shop. Lo offers a variety of colors and widths of rings in his shop.

Amidst the pandemic – at the time sophomore, but now junior Reaves Lo found a way to connect internationally– minus the travel. Lo began a woodworking business, WoodworkingByReaves via Etsy, to both grow his hobby and make money.

“The main reason I started woodworking is because my grandpa was a woodworker his whole life,” Lo said. “I grew up with him creating things, and I was always intrigued by that. So, I asked him to teach me one day, and that was the beginning of it all.”

Lo used woodworking as an outlet to bond with his grandfather while also expressing creativity. He also engages in other creative works like photography. Landscape photography holds his interest the most.

“He bought me my first saw,” Lo said. “Then with that, I started making my own money. With the money I made through woodworking, I bought more saws.”

For his Etsy profile, Lo captures one of his rings lined with metal. Lo uses all types of woods for his rings, including scraps of wood he finds in nature. Prices range from the inclusion of metal lined rings and different wood types. (Reaves Lo)

During quarantine, Lo grew his skill at home. He then moved his works to sale with the beginning of his Etsy business in January of 2021.

“I make a lot of vases and like flower vases and candle holders, as well as bowls, but I don’t sell those,” Lo said. “I wanted to keep my business one thing that I perfect rather than multiple things that are okay.”

His one “perfect” product is rings.

“I have different types of skateboard rings,” Lo said. “I’ve also done solid wood rings. I started to sell spoon rings, but my machine broke, so I couldn’t make any more.”

Lo started off his woodwork from scraps of skateboard wood he found. From the scraps that he can’t use for rings, he makes and sells keychains.

“I was one of the first people to ever get one of his rings,” junior James Kim said. “It’s insane how much progress he has made. He started with just skateboard wood, but now he expanded into new types of wood and metals.”

Lo spends about five to 10 hours a week on his business.

“I have learned that I’m not very good with money,” he said. “Through this business, I’ve been able to improve my budgeting and my spending in certain categories such as food and entertainment.”

Aside from making money from his business, Lo will also begin working at the new Andy’s Custard location in Prosper.

Recently, I had an order that I was making rings for someone who lost a family member, and they gave me this person’s skateboard to make multiple rings out of it, so they could give them to friends and family.

— Reaves Lo, junior

“I’ve learned through having a small business that marketing is a really big factor,” Lo said. “You can’t just post things on Etsy and hope that they sell. You have to tell people about it. You have to get out word of mouth and advertise through different websites. So, it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.”

Lo uses social media platforms Instagram and Tiktok to promote his business. With that, he creates sales codes and incentives for people who promote his products.

“I’ve been friends with Reaves for a really long time, and I have seen his business grow,” junior Savannah Smith said. “I wear his skateboard ring every day and made a Tiktok to share with my followers. It is definitely one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.”

Lo’s support from his family and friends, added with the perfecting of his products, aided in the growing of his business to more than just local customers.

The furthest orders Lo has received came from Switzerland and South Africa.

“I think my greatest achievement is I’ve made multiple engagement rings, and people have given me great reviews on them,” Lo said. “And, I’m proud to have contributed and to be a part of these people’s marriages.”