Junior helps queer students express themselves through an online jewelry store

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Julia Schwenderman, a junior at Syracuse University, was making earrings for herself when they began to receive compliments from other students. And when they did, the students asked where they could buy the jewelry.

“It’s kind of something that I do because I love it,” Schwenderman said. “Because I know it makes other people really happy, and they think it’s really cool. “

Schwenderman then launched his online store, QWLRY, in August. QWLRY mainly sells earrings, as well as charm bracelets and key chains. Customers can find photos of various products or contact Schwenderman with custom orders on the store site. Instagram page.

Schwenderman said they get a lot of influence for their jewelry from custom orders. Most of the time, a customer will request that a new item be placed on an earring. Then Schwenderman will open the new item to all customers who visit their page.


For Schwenderman, the focus on the jewelry they create is how fun and different they are. The inspiration they get for their jewelry is “all that is fun and different”. For materials, they will go to supply stores, as well as to reuse items like wine corks. They also turned things like plastic aliens and rubber skulls into earrings.

Schwenderman’s inspiration for their jewelry is “all that is fun and different”. Young-Bin Lee | Staff photographer

Katie Volkomer, a League junior who placed a custom order through QWLRY, said the process was straightforward and it was easy to request certain changes and specifications. The earrings that Volkomer purchased had stars, and although Schwenderman did not initially have any star jewelry in stock, they responded to the special request and created the earrings.

Recently, Schwenderman completely renamed his jewelry store. The store started out with the name ShopSchwendy, a play on their last name, but they changed the name to QWLRY to define the store as a gay owned business.

Car Shapiro, a sophomore at SU and QWLRY customer, appreciates the store’s focus on the LGBTQ community. As a queer student, they would go out of their way to support a queer business on campus “just to create that sense of community among people,” Shapiro said.

Schwenderman plans to take the store home to his Philadelphia area with them over the winter break. They also hope to eventually organize fundraisers through the store for organizations they care about.

“My earrings are always for anyone,” Schwenderman said. “It gives a lot of other queer people on campus or people I sell to off campus a way to express themselves outside the ordinary and also see that there is other people on campus who are happy to be fun and different. “

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