GLENDALE, Ariz. — A Valley college student has turned pandemic boredom and a love for Harry Styles into a booming business.
“I went from being in classes every single day and I had no time for anything but school. And I went straight from that to living at home," said Emily Santos.
It was a sign of the times. The pandemic caused Emily Santos, a biomedical student at ASU, to move back home with her parents.
Her downtime took her in one direction she never could have imagined.
“That’s when I fell into the Harry community," Santos said, referring to Harry Styles.
Santos came across a video of Styles doing an interview, wearing a t-shirt that caught her attention. She desperately tried to find it herself. When she couldn't, she turned to her dad who happens to be an expert in printing to make it for her.
“He made it for me and then I posted a video being like look at this shirt my dad made me and then it went viral on TikTok overnight," Santos said.
Fans everywhere wanted it and the rest is history.
More than a hundred thousand followers on TikTok later, Emily turned it into a business called Pressedpaper Shop.
“Since then, the shop has grown exponentially," Santos said. "We probably send out one hundred to three hundred packages a day.”
Her brand has become so popular her parents quit their jobs to help.
“We turned the spare bedroom in our house into an office and now it’s a fully functioning office. My dad’s in the garage printing," Santos explained.
Now, as Styles is on tour, so is Emily. She travels the country and is often greeted by fans who line up hoping to get their hands on one of her colorful designs.
“I never expected this to be what it is but it’s the thing that makes me the most happy," Santos said.
This weekend is a full-circle moment. Emily is back home and her merch stand is set up in Glendale as Styles is set to play Gila River Arena Saturday night.
“It’s really crazy to see even just one person in my hometown come out to support us," Santos said.
Emily is working to finish college but is continuing down this unexpected path. The one thing she hopes others take away from the story of her life? Follow your passion.
“My message would be to just do it," Santos said.
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