Talent turned to business

Senior puts her creativity towards selling custom banners


Photo by Dana Summers

With a paintbrush in hand and her craft cart at the ready, senior Elise Nyffeler works on one of her custom banners. After a customer places an order, she tries to get the banner done within one week. “I usually work on four or five banners at a time,” Nyffeler said. “I always cut a batch of mini, regular and large banners before I start. I will paint the background of one, and then work on the next one while that one dries.”

Dana Summers, News Director

Throughout the week, while many other students are scrambling to finish up their schoolwork, one can find senior Elise Nyffeler with a paintbrush in hand at her dining room table. Although painting in itself is fairly common, Elise has taken her creativity one step further by making and selling homemade banners.

It all started the summer before her senior year, when the Nyffeler family made a purchase that they suspected Elise could have created herself.

“Elise is a very artistic girl, and she’s been creative from a very young age,” mother Dana Nyffeler said. “Our oldest daughter Emma ordered a banner to hang in her dorm room when she was going to college. When it arrived, I looked at it and told Elise that she could have easily made something similar herself.”

After giving it some thought, Elise began experimenting with making her own banners at home. To get started, she marketed her business through the Instagram account @bannersbyelise. She messaged accounts for the Class of 2024 at different universities, offering to pay money in exchange for their advertisement. This ultimately helped to target her main demographic of college freshmen. She also sent banners to small influencers for free, hoping to get advertisement from them as well. As her business took off, Elise partnered with other small business accounts and held mini giveaways on her page.

“Eventually, after I sold at a local level, I began partnering with more brands on a national level,” Elise said. “It’s always better to have more people seeing my business. If I’m only advertising to the same group of people who have already decided they don’t want to buy my product, I’m just wasting my time.”

As of now, 200 orders have been placed through her website, and she has shipped to 26 states. With all of these orders coming in, Elise has to find time for everything else that she is a part of.

“When Elise first started, she was working three other jobs and involved in several other activities,” Dana said. “As she sold more banners, she made her business more of a priority. She’s very organized, though, which I think really helps with her time management skills and being able to balance her busy schedule.”

As time went on, Elise perfected her own process. She begins making a banner by cutting the fabric. She then paints the background design, uses her calligraphy skills to paint the lettering on top and hammers in the eyelets. Finally, she packages it by folding up the finished banner, placing a thank you postcard inside and sealing it with a custom sticker. The banner is then ready either for pick up or to be shipped off to the customer.

“I saw Elise posting about the banners on Instagram, and I’ve been trying to support all the small businesses throughout the whole pandemic,” senior Hope Ashley said. “I saw one that had already been made with a quote on it that I really liked. I messaged her, and was able to get the banner in a couple of days.”

For those not purchasing a pre-made banner, the ordering process is still very simple. Customers can go to her website and click on the order form, or look through pages with information and design ideas.

Although the money that she has made from her business is an obvious benefit, Elise has also gained valuable skills that she plans to use later in her life.

“I do have an interest in college to major in business or marketing,” Elise said. “Both of those skills have already come in handy as I’ve tried to market and manage my own business. So I think that this has given me a lot of experience that I can use in the future.”

For now, Elise plans to keep her business moving in the same direction. Overall, making these banners has provided her with extra money, valuable skills and a unique creative outlet.