This week in our Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Beth Lawrence, the hardworking, risk-taking, Nashville-loving jewelry artist and business maven behind Freshie & Zero!
LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?
Beth: I initially started making jewelry at the ripe old age of 10! I would go door-to-door in my neighborhood selling my molded plastic jewelry out of a Caboodle for $3 to $5 a piece. While my styles and materials have definitely evolved over time, my passion for making jewelry has remained constant. In 2006, I officially launched my line as Freshie & Zero (Freshie is my nickname and Zero is my dog).
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Beth: My inspiration has always been the desire to make jewelry that is modern, pretty and affordable. I grew up going to craft fairs and naturally the jewelry tents were my favorite destination. As I visited each jewelry booth, I was always disappointed in either the ornateness or the high price tag of the jewelry offerings. I loved jewelry and handmade products, but I often would leave these craft fairs empty handed. Why wasn’t anyone making simple, wearable, affordable jewelry that didn’t feel like attaching a sculpture to your neck? It became my mission to craft jewelry that fit this bill.
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Beth: The jewelry I make is defined by very simple, clean lines, and it’s all handmade. Our tagline is “Made with love & a hammer in Nashville TN,” which reflects our style and passion for what we make.
LBC: Where can we find your products?
LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.
Beth: Most days I’m going back and forth between typical business duties and paperwork, and hand-making jewelry in the studio. I currently have a staff of four part-time employees. Each day, I’m in charge of setting the tone for the workday, whether it means jamming to Queen or cheesing out to the Bee Gees. It’s important to me to establish a fun work environment. If I feel the need for a little milkshake or coffee break, I take the staff out for a recharge.
LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
Beth: 1. Is it my own idea; my own voice or am I just jumping on a bandwagon?
2. Can I handle working 12-15 hours every day for a few years to get my business off the ground?
3. Will I be able to handle scaling my business up if it is successful or do I need a mentor?
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.
Beth: The first best business decision I made was to hire additional hands to help make the jewelry. My stress level immediately leveled off. Other than that, I’ve been able to say no to many opportunities that I knew I wasn’t prepared for yet but I also said yes to some opportunities that I was semi-unprepared for. I am a risk taker, so I’m not afraid to jump in and figure things out even when I have no idea how things will turn out.
LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?
Beth: The biggest issue I have faced is over-working. When I first started out, I was constantly consumed with Freshie & Zero (a result of having my studio at home). Once I moved the studio out of my house, I became better at leaving work behind and focusing on my family while I’m at home. It’s still a struggle, though, because there’s always one more email to answer, one more photo to edit, one more product listing to tweak…
LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?
Beth: I donate to my church which does a lot of community outreach all over Nashville. I am passionate about Nashville non-profits and donate to pretty much every one that ever asks me for a piece of jewelry for their auction.
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?
Beth: Quickbooks, Excel and Mac Mail.
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Beth: Hopefully less frazzled. I still feel like I run all over the place every day between my computer and production.
LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.
Beth: Fancy espresso drinks that I consume too often and pay too much for.
LBC: What’s your best recipe?
Beth: My grandmother’s (Maw-Maw) macaroni and cheese. It’s my most requested dish and it’s such good comfort food!
Thank you, Beth, for sharing your talent with us! We absolutely love your work and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Freshie & Zero! We’re cheering you on…
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!