Interview by Alex Hanson
Feature Image: Women sporting Sci Chic jewelry, provided by Erin Winick
Back in February, mechanical engineering student Erin Winick introduced HERpothesis to the fashionable side of science when she shared the story behind Sci Chic, her jewelry line inspired by STEM. Now, Sci Chic is a little more than a year old and has grown exponentially in both reach and the products offered. Erin has done an amazing job creating a business, a brand, and bringing STEM to the masses through Sci Chic. I caught up with her to ask about Sci Chic’s development and her goals for the future.
Alex: You last wrote about Sci Chic for HERpothesis in February. How has Sci Chic developed, as a creative pursuit, since then?
Erin: We have grown and branched out a lot! We have really worked to build a community around Sci Chic and bring in women in STEM collaborators, include more areas of science, and sell in more places than just our website. We have included more earth science and math jewelry, as examples.
How have your goals changed since you started Sci Chic?
We have moved on from just trying to prove our idea to trying to reach a larger audience! We have products we have gotten awesome feedback on, know how to 3D print our products, and are set up to grow. Now we are working on building more videos, blogs, educational materials and ways for people to experience Sci Chic. We want to increase the prominence of science inspired fashion and spark every day conversations about science.
Do you find Sci Chic and your academic responsibilities intersecting often? How has that relationship developed over time?
Absolutely. I graduate this December so balancing Sci Chic and classes has been an ongoing battle. I am really excited to be able to dedicate more time to it come January! I have definitely learned how to prioritize my time better than ever before and realize when classes have to come first and when I can go full force into working on Sci Chic.
What has surprised you the most about your experiences with Sci Chic so far, both as a creative process and as a business?
As a creative process, I keep being surprised by how much art and creativity science has in it to pull from. People constantly give me new ideas and inspiration to pull from. It shows me everyone has some artist in them, no matter what their career path is!
As far as a business, I have learned how much goes on behind the scenes. From trademarking to incorporation to finances, even the smallest Etsy seller has so much going on that you never think about. It has made me want to support small business and makers more than ever.
Tell me about your new subscription boxes and your thought process behind them!
We are really excited to release two subscription boxes, one for adults and one for kids, each containing monthly science fashion! We are going to do a mix of Sci Chic and outside products I each box. Every month will have at least 1 3D printed plastic item in the kid’s box and 1 piece of 3D printed metal jewelry in the adult box only available to subscribers. However, we definitely want to give people variety! In addition to jewelry, we have plans to include items including headbands, stickers and patches in the kid’s box and nail art, notebooks, and shirts in the adult box. There are so many fantastic science fashion creators out there and we hope to feature as many as we can!
Additionally, we are hoping to educate both about the science topics as well as 3D printing with the boxes. Each box will have a card explaining the science behind each item, a small lesson for kids about the field of STEM, and a feature on an interesting specific aspect of that field. We will also include links to more online resources and where they can explore learning more about that area of STEM. Every month will also include links to videos showing a behind the scenes look at how we made the items for box. This will include time lapse videos showing the 3D printing of the items.
Our goal with these boxes is to give both kids and adults a glimpse into that area of STEM and hopefully spark their interest enough to go learn more! Additionally, we hope the educational materials will give our subscribers a background to be able to talk to their friends and family about the science behind their jewelry. We want to make science as accessible as possible and something that people are proud to wear.
What has been the most exciting thing Sci Chic has allowed you to do in the past year?
Honestly, meet so many amazing people. Sci Chic has given me to ability to meet more awesome likeminded people who have been fantastic supporters and mentors. Building such an amazing network of inspiring women has been a dream come true. It has given me the opportunity to travel as well, attending events such as the USA Science and Engineering Festival and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Festival.
What are your goals for Sci Chic’s future?
I hope to bring Sci Chic to more people, expand the products we offer, and continue to build a bigger community of people around Sci Chic. I hope to continue our efforts to encourage young girls and expose them to 3D printing, as well as different areas of STEM. I am excited for all the things to come that I have no ideas about yet as well! More than anything I hope Sci Chic can make a social impact for the good and continue to spread the fashionable side of science.