LOWELL, Mi. — A West Michigan teenager found what she said quieted her brain, and it changed not only her life, but the lives of others as well.
Star Shooters was born out of a pretty dark time. Like many of us, Mara Carbines’ struggles have intensified during the pandemic. It took an unsolicited order from Amazon to help set him on a brighter path.
Today, this successful jewelry business not only serves as an outlet, but it sends a message of inclusion and acceptance – and raises funds for very important causes. “Star Shooters has always been a lifelong dream, like since I was little.”
For many people, Mara Carbines is always little, but you can be sure that this 15-year-old has been through a lot, good and bad.
She says: “I was struggling with an undiagnosed learning disability and anxiety and then just trying to navigate friends and your way and trying to figure out the teachers and stuff. It can be very difficult.” Add to that a global pandemic and the stress of quarantine – the struggle has become intense for Mara.
She found her own way of coping one bead at a time. “We were all thinking – literally me, my parents were like ‘oh, be like a month, you know, get us through like the harshness of January and February, just get that little boost’ and it’s like that was starting to take off.”
The name, so apt, as Mara’s almost accidental affairs catapult further than even she anticipated. Today she sold more than 25,000 pieces by Brody’s B Cafe to Ada, all in the name of mental health. It donates 66% of its profits to non-profit organizations as I understand it, dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention.
Mara wants to make sure she supports charities dedicated to mental health, because she knows how difficult things can be. She is happy to share her story. “No one is alone – even if you feel lonely because everyone will feel lonely at some point in their life. There’s always someone who’s probably going through something similar and it’s just a feeling great and I want people to feel like that.
Mara also hopes she inspires everyone to find their “thing” – that outlet that helps them cope. “Hard times, especially hard days, can end up being something great. So if you’re having a hard day and you come home, you’re like I really want to make an earring that looks like that, or some days you’ll just come home and be like I don’t really know what I’m doing, and then you’ll just start putting things together, and it looks cool – you keep on do more and then you lose track of time, but it all turns out good in the end.
All is well in the end – with love from her family, her community and herself, the sky is not the limit for this capable and creative young woman. She says, “Everyone should aim for their dream, even if they don’t feel well at the time. When you’re sitting in the darkest times, it’s hard to lift your head and look at everything. in front of you, above you, or just being able to look up and look at the stars – it’s really awesome.
These days, Mara recruits others to help with her designs, and she receives donations of old costume jewelry, beads, and other pretty things to turn into her unique designs. And although she gives away most of what she earns, she has saved enough to buy her own car – which she is also fixing with her father.
If you want to grab a coffee and check out Star Shooters, you can visit Brody’s B Café in Ada. https://www.brodysbecafe.com/