So here it begins:
These blogs are a way of sharing my experiences, they will help me document my creative journey within the industry. I have made many mistakes during this process and have learnt a significant amount on how this industry and business works. I will try my best to share these with you as I believe your experiences shape your future. . If another person learns from my mistakes throughout this journey, this will be an achievement on its own.
Anyway, I am not the greatest of writers so please do excuse my grammar. However I will try to document as much as I can. Especially for those of you who are interested in knowing how things pan out in my little world of jewellery.
Everybody knows starting your own business is a huge risk that not everyone can take. However “it’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody can see but me...” that keeps me going. I have come to realise that many people actually do see it. They see you working towards something, they will see you fail miserably and I guess that is when they decide it’s not worth it. This is also where you as an individual can give-up with them or carry on working hard until you achieve your goal and pave the way for others.
By risk, I mean you will be putting your social life on hold, you will be either working two jobs or in my case would have quit the other job. You will be risking your family life and you will also be risking everything else including sanity. Yes, that is correct. Your sanity will play a great role in you being a success…
NO! listen to your gut first…
Many people will try to advise you on what to do and what not to do in how to run your business. You as an individual should always trust your instincts when making decisions. You should say no when you feel what is best for you, some decisions might be best for you financially and some not. However, you need to figure out what is most important to you.
For me I will not compromise on my principles, therefore I refuse to listen to people who give me advise based on their ‘opinions’ rather than their knowledge. I also refuse to listen to the negativity that comes with these opinions, you as an individual needs to be strong enough to face any criticism that comes with the package and always remember it is not a personal attack. Stay strong!
Always be prepared for a NO!
Yes, just like you can learn to say ‘No’, be prepared to hear it too in this industry. Not everyone will appreciate you, especially your creativeness. Some may even call you insane, that does not mean you are, (you are by the way, but that is another story for another time. You got to be insane to not follow the norm).
There was a great article written about failures, regrets and hearing a blunt “No” from someone. You see these are experiences you need, to become what you can. Also remember that not every YES is good for you, so right now you may experience a little disappointment but in the long run you will be glad that this happened. Trust ME!
The time I launched my Jewellery…
Although craft shows are perfect when you first get started in any creative field, (as you get to engage with customers and built a contact list). It is also easy to get lost with big shows because of their advertising and lose the money you do not have yet.
Therefore, when I was thinking about launching my jewellery, I did not want my brand to get lost amongst the big advertisers. I also wanted to know if there are people out there willing to buy my jewellery, before I start doing shows etc. For this reason, I had to come up with a different approach of bringing potential customers to my jewellery. I decided I wanted to exhibit on my own with no other designers and I also wanted to do it on my own terms. I knew there are people out there that have been supporting me for many years, to finally do something about this crazy dream of mine. As a result, I decided maybe it is perhaps time to take action.
Moving forward, from venue to display, it all had to be perfect and in line with my designs. I had already designed the collection I wanted to showcase so it was slightly easier on the creative side for me.
Stress, panic, second thoughts… am I doing the right thing…
I would be lying if I said this was easy and stress free and I worked really hard without a second thought. Every day I had a thought of whether or not I was doing the right thing. It is normal to have seconds thoughts, as long as you are passionate about the chosen field and fight this urge of giving up, you will be fine.
Leading up to the day of my launch, I spent every minute working towards the launch, from making jewellery, to designing display, to advertising to sending out invites, to visiting sites and meetings etc. As hectic as it sounds, this had to be me as a start up business, you are everything in your company from answering emails to cleaning is all you. So when the actual day came I was really excited to show people why I have been in hibernation for months. Nobody but my loyal friends and family knew so when people started turning up after seeing my invites and had words of encouragement that just showed me it was possible for this business to exist even with this economy and competition.
…Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends and family to the rescue.
The day before the launch, my worst nightmares were coming true, the window display had not arrived yet and the car had broken down. At this point my friend texted me asking if I needed some help, a blessing in disguise. I used her car for the rest of the day and she happily followed my instructions. Moral of the story is; do not be afraid to ask for help. So following that trend I asked my nephew to take me to IKEA for an alternative window display.
Mrs Balloon Lady…
Following on from the trend of asking for help, I did not stop there. My window display had not yet arrived. I was mega stressed and had to come up with an alternative. I gave my 14 year old nieces an idea, who happily volunteered to help me, and they ran with it hence the birth of the balloon lady. We made the most amazing window display I could have imagined. All the balloons were spray painted in white and yellow, blown up in different sizes and adorned with my handmade jewellery. The idea was simple – to add a bit of colour to my all white display inside. At this moment I realised no idea is too big or small to create, you just need determination and a little help from people around you.
Additionally, no matter how organised you are, no matter how many hours you have spent planning an event, there is always last minute prep that makes you stand out from the crowd. Although, I do believe that I work best under pressure. I spent the whole night going over last minute details and the things I could improve on. It is as simple as that. You as an individual have to know when you work best and if you are willing to pull those extra shifts to make things happen, then do it.
Moving on, my venue was on a busy street in my local area, open to public. The building itself is a newly refurbished office for Women’s Enterprise Hub, which is for helping women achieve their entrepreneurial goals. This was perfect for me.
My lovely supporters turned up early to help me set up on the day. In-terms of display, I had my brother cut up some wood boards and we spray painted them white, they were still showing the wood texture and some colour, which was perfectly minimal and elegant for my jewellery. So my suggestion would be, please do get everyone that is willing to help involved, doing everything by yourself will be very chaotic and stressful.
Where it all Started…
So I officially launched my jewellery with the help of Princes Trust, who I received funding from. Everything about the day was perfect: from display, to freebies and to my jewellery. I took some risks that paid off and I invited some inspirational bloggers that have helped me with good and bad times without knowing. So it was amazing to see these creative’s turn up to support a newbie like me.
At the end of the day my advice would be if you are passionate about something and you want to start something ,just do it. It is alright to fear the unknown but our future is unknown, we can only shape it once we start working hard towards it positively. I hope whatever I have mentioned above helps someone even in the thought process. It only requires hard work, passion and determination to achieve your goals. Good luck and let me know how you get on!!
Please leave a comment if you enjoyed reading this journey and if this helped.