This Eagle's Jewelry Business Serves a Higher Purpose
Every time Rachel St. Louis (’24) sells another piece of her unique aviation-themed jewelry, she gets a little closer to finishing the construction of her own actual airplane, a SkyReach BushCat.
St. Louis, who is pursuing a B.S. in Air Traffic Management at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus, opened Rachel’s Jewelry when she was just 8, after fixing one of her mom’s earrings and then selling some pieces at craft fairs in her native Maine.
Today, her earrings, necklaces, bracelets, key rings, t-shirts, pendants and charms not only reflect her love of aviation, but they are also helping finance her dream of building and flying her aircraft.
“Originally, my business was just to sell things, but then I decided I wanted to build my own plane,” St. Louis said. “I searched for which one I wanted to build and then decided to use profits from my business as money for the plane since my parents weren’t going to fund it.”
While not bankrolling her dream, St. Louis’s parents are still a key part of the equation. Her dad, Mike St. Louis, is a pilot and it was flights she took with him that helped spark her passion for the sky.
“I just always loved flying,” St. Louis said. “When I was younger, I’d look down and my father would allow me to take the yoke and fly with it, which really made me want to build my own plane.”
For his part, Mike St. Louis has helped his daughter build her business and her aircraft.
“Sometimes she has questions to do with certain mechanical things, and I have more experience than she does so I help her out in whatever way I can,” Mike St. Louis said. “Building the business unit was a learning experience for both of us. There were challenges involved, but that only helped us learn more.”
Once her mobile business was built, St. Louis attended aerospace and aviation trade shows with her dad, with the biggest being the EAA AirVenture Fly-In at Oshkosh. As for the aircraft, most of it has been completed with the engine – an $18,000 investment – purchased recently and the initial test flight on the near horizon.
When St. Louis got accepted at Embry-Riddle and moved to Florida, so did her business, her plane and her family.
Her parents opened up a flight school at DeLand Airport with AeroSport, a dealer for BushCat, BlackHawk Paramotors and the Sling aircraft series, and St. Louis is now a private pilot student.
St. Louis and her father attribute the success of her jewelry business to aviation aficionados who can’t get enough of anything that has to do with flying. With their support, St. Louis hopes to be airborne at the controls of her BushCat soon.
“None of this would’ve been possible without the aviation community having my daughter’s back,” Mike St. Louis said.