Meet the Maker – Sarah Greenberg of Sarah Swell

Sarah Swell Jewelry

Sarah Swell Jewelry

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re going behind the scenes with the loveliest of handcrafted jewelry artists: Sarah Greenberg of Sarah Swell, who nurtures her burgeoning jewelry brand from a stunning studio/showroom space in Sausalito, California. Welcome, Sarah!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Sarah: I think I was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. I almost feel like it was the only choice for me. I’d say the leap began after dropping out of art school to pursue a career as a jewelry designer. It’s been a very long road for me because of various obstacles that presented themselves, but the end goal has always been clear. Sometimes after a bad day/week/month, I think about closing the business, but then I realize that what I’d want to do is just start another business anyway!

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Sarah: I hoped that I would become one of the designers at the forefront of the handcrafted jewelry movement. We’re constantly working towards that goal.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Sarah: We create handcrafted precious metal jewelry that exemplifies casual luxury.

 

Sarah Swell Jewelry

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Meet the Maker – Melissa Camilleri of Compliment

Melissa Camilleri - Meet the Maker - Compliment

Melissa Camilleri - Meet the Maker - Compliment

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know the lovely Melissa Camilleri of Compliment. In addition to being an amazing maker, Melissa knows her stuff when it comes to Instagram, and I had the honor of hosting her in an Expert Interview for my Brick House Branding Course. Welcome, Melissa!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Melissa: It was kind of a perfect storm.  I had launched my business while I was still teaching high school full-time.  I thought it would be a good fundraiser for student scholarships, but I didn’t really have a gigantic desire to be an entrepreneur.  I thought I’d teach forever.

But between May and November of 2012, my personal life was really rocked.  I got divorced, moved schools, moved homes, and then three people in my family passed away unexpectedly.  I was dealing with so much grief and change in such a short amount of time, I took a leave of absence from the classroom to re-establish a new life.  During that time, I immersed myself into my business, learning all I could about e-commerce and trying to make Compliment grow.

Within about 5 months, I was forced to decide whether or not I’d return to the classroom, and I just didn’t feel ready.  I didn’t have a great plan.  I didn’t have a year’s worth of savings to back me up.  It probably wasn’t the most responsible choice I’ve ever made, but it was necessary and really strengthened my faith and my persistence.  The fear of NOT following this new dream was greater than the fear of failing.  So I just leapt and trusted that I’d figure it out on the way down.  That was three years ago and I’ve been hustling to make it all work ever since.

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Melissa: I envisioned Compliment to be defined as a jewelry brand that was about so much more than the jewelry.  When I first started, I didn’t know any other jewelry brands that were including compliments or mantras or words of any kind along with their jewelry. I was writing notes to my students who had purchased the first batches of the jewelry I was making, letting them know how proud of them I was.  I’m a natural encourager, and this brand was just an extension of me.  It was intuitive, but not yet intentional.

So in the beginning I thought Compliment would be defined as jewelry with meaning.  I think it continues to fit that definition, but now that space is crowded and I’ve gotten a little more specific with my branding as Compliment has evolved to include other gifts beside just jewelry.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Melissa: I create “gifts to uplift.”

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Melissa: At www.shopcompliment.com and in independent retailers throughout North America.

 

Melissa Camilleri - Meet the Maker - Compliment

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Melissa: I wake up around 6:30 and often while still in bed, I’ll quickly scroll through my emails and social medias to see if there are any pressing issues I need to give my attention to.  I get to my studio/office around 8-8:30 am, make myself a cup of tea, and sit at my computer and begin answering emails.

When my team arrives at 9, we will usually have a quick meeting about what’s happening or on the horizon, and then they go into the production room to make and ship any orders that need fulfillment.  I head back to the computer and work on business development.  Depending on the week, it might be writing newsletters, designing new products, online meetings with clients or contractors or collaborators, or emailing.  I feel like so much of my day is spent emailing now.

Some days we all eat at the office and take a little lunch break together.  Other days, I take my team out to lunch.  I employ high school and college students + college grads who were former students whenever possible and company culture is very important to me, so taking a break and eating together is one way I can foster a tight-knit team.  This together time is sacred to me.

After lunch, we get back to our work stations and finish up projects.  I check up on social medias, get updates on how shipping is going, and help trouble shoot any end of the day tasks, which often falls under inventory issues.  We are still working out a better system for restocking materials!

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Melissa: 1. Do you love what you’re doing so much that you are willing to stick with it – not just when the orders are rolling in, but when they slow down too?

2. How do you view failure? Do you avoid it at all costs? Do you even believe it exists? Are you afraid of it? What is your risk-tolerance?

3. Honestly assessing yourself, do you have a growth or fixed mindset? If you’re someone who is always learning and implementing, vulnerable enough to ask for help when you need it, and confident enough to not attach your self worth to how well your business is doing at any given second, then you’ve probably got what it takes. Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a ton of courage to create and stick with it.

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Melissa: Meditation.  Always.  Then, talking things out with my husband.  I’m very lucky.  He’s my #1 supporter, and I’m so blessed to be able to bounce ideas off him.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Melissa: 1. Listening to my gut since the beginning. I have a very strong intuition and have let that guide me, even when it may have seemed to an outsider that I was doing things in a way that isn’t status quo. I’m proud of my navigation skills into the unknown.

2. Choosing to host my site on Shopify early on. I was an early adopter in December of 2012. I compared a bunch of e-commerce platforms and just happened to like Shopify the best. Now, 4 years later, they have built a much more robust interface with so many more apps to help customize a store. I’m a huge fan.

I’m also a huge fan of my shipping program– Shipping Easy. I can’t say enough about their customer service. For 2 years, I was typing out each address on Avery labels, trekking to the post office each day, and mailing each package individually from the kiosk! Talk about time and money waster! Shipping Easy, paired with Shopify literally transformed SO MUCH for our internal systems.

3. Not following the crowd. I don’t follow a bunch of gurus or care to watch how other gift businesses are doing things, not because I don’t think I can learn from them, but because I know if I spend my time looking at others, rather than forging my own path, I’ll get caught in comparisonitis-mode which halts every creative urge I have. So I made an intentional decision 3 years ago to put on my blinders, and just keep doing what feels good in my own business.

4. Diversifying and bringing more “me” into the Compliment brand. I started off as a teacher but for the first 2 years of my business, I rarely talked about it. I realized that I was leading two separate lives – one as an entrepreneur and one as an educator at heart. In 2015, I had a spark of inspiration and decided to write a short e-course on building an engaged community on Instagram. I was able to now be a teacher in the business world– something that comes really naturally to me. By adding an informational product to my shop, I welcomed a whole new audience to my work, and quadrupled my income in a year. It taught me a lot about how I can combine my own special set of gifts and talents and be fully an educator and fully an entrepreneur at the same time.

 

LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

Melissa: I don’t really believe in mistakes – just learning experiences.  But one obstacle I’ve faced recently was choosing to do something “for exposure” rather than for the compensation I deserved.  I put my trust in someone who didn’t earn it and I went against what I suspected to be true about this individual.

This experience taught me exactly how I DON’T want to be in my business.  It showed me that business with integrity is everything and that if I’m not aligned in my purpose, and something feels forced, it’s not for me.  This is a value I’ve always had.  But this experience made me really get clear on who I will and will not work with.  It’s ok to say no and the fear of missing out should not ever be a reason to do something.  I’m ok with slow and steady growth if it means that my actions are always aligned with my values.

 

Melissa Camilleri - Meet the Maker - Compliment

 

LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

Melissa: YES!  The Compliment Scholarship Program!  It’s the heartbeat of Compliment and the reason why we even exist.  We set aside 5% of our proceeds every single day to support educational equity for first generation college students. The opportunity gap in the United States is real and it’s not just about race, but about the haves and the have nots.  My mission is to close that gap, first in  my own community, and then nationally.  My entire career has been devoted to this cause, as I myself am a first generation college grad.  I firmly believe that education changes people– and helps them break free from the circumstances they’re born into.

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Melissa: 1. Gusto for payroll. It’s so easy to use and way less expensive than traditional payroll systems.

2. Shipping Easy (see above!)

3. The workbook I wrote called “In Her Head.” It’s a 30-page workbook I developed based on the exercised my team and I do together before launching any new product, to really figure out who we are selling to.

 

LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

Melissa: In a few years, Compliment, Inc. will be a full fledged lifestyle company with two arms – products at www.shopcompliment.com, and education at melissacamilleri.com (which is currently in development).  Our products will be found more and more frequently on the pages of national publications.  Our educational curriculum will be implemented globally and serve hundreds of thousands of learners.

Our scholarship program will be an official non-profit foundation and have multiple companies donating to educational causes nationally.  Our scholarship will be renewable for 4 years and cover the full tuition for at least 10 students.  We will have a mentorship program established to guide these students with resources and community to support them through their undergrad careers.

 

Melissa Camilleri - Meet the Maker - Compliment

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Melissa: Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Janet Jackson, Prince, and Justin Timberlake.

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Melissa: Naps. Long ones.  If I could, I would nap every afternoon for a solid 2-3 hours.

 

LBC: If you could hire someone to do just one thing that you sort of loath doing, what would it be?

Melissa: To follow behind me in the morning and re-hang up all the clothes I pull out of the closet when trying to find something cute to wear.

 

 

Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing with Shop Compliment, and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you and your company. 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!

 

Meet the Maker – Izaskun Zabala, Jewelry Artist

Brooklyn Jewelry Artist Izaskun Zabala

Brooklyn Jewelry Artist Izaskun Zabala

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Izaskun Zabala, a jewelry designer in Brooklyn, New York.

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Izaskun: I was “let go” of my designer job at Stella & Dot. This was actually the best thing that happened to me, allowing me to stop and re-evaluate my life and my creativity.

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Izaskun: When I first got started, my collection was delicate, my prices very affordable and the design was everyday wear. While launching my company, I achieved a business diploma at the Fashion Institute of Technology and I learned about market research. Studying my competitors, the goal was to offer a different product, and to position my brand in New York’s competitive jewelry industry. This differentiation came very naturally to me: offer “high end” and everyday wear costume jewelry. That design philosophy continues to this day.

Brooklyn Jewelry Artist Izaskun Zabala

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Izaskun: High-end costume jewelry. I was trained in fine jewelry and, by nature, I am detail oriented, and quality is one of my core values. You will notice my collections are highly polished and well-crafted.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Izaskun: Nationwide at Lou & Grey stores, my website (www.izaskunzabala.com), Jill Lindsey store in Brooklyn, and outdoor markets during warm seasons.

Brooklyn Jewelry Artist Izaskun Zabala

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Izaskun: Wake up. Meditate. Breakfast. Write/answer emails and post on social media. Benchwork and/or go to the city to shop for materials and overlook production with different contractors. Maybe a meeting. Yoga and sauna before dinner. After dinner, plan the next day, write/answer emails, research the internet for inspiration or to simply learn something of interest. Meditate. Read.

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Izaskun: 1. Take a business course. Being creatively talented is a plus, but understanding the business is a must.

2. Study your competitors and differentiate your product/brand; chances are, you will get noticed.

3. Shoot for the stars. Always follow your intuition. When you fail, that’s the best learning opportunity!

 

Brooklyn Jewelry Artist Izaskun Zabala

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Izaskun: I am actually always focused! Even when I am overwhelmed with everything that is going on (which is constant), I manage to stay focused. I believe I have the gift of mental (and physical) strength.

 

LBC: Tell us about the best business decision you’ve made to date.

Izaskun: Starting my own company!

Izaskun
LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

Izaskun: I did not define my customer clearly and under-priced my creations, which resulted in working too much to earn very little money. How did I overcome it? Changing my business mentality and defining my customer.

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Izaskun: My hands; my jewelry bench and tools; and my iPhone.

Brooklyn Jewelry Artist Izaskun Zabala

LBC: If you could hire someone to do just one thing that you sort of loath doing, what would it be?

Izaskun: A production manager.

 

LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

Izaskun: “Make things you wish existed.” –Jessica Hische

 

LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?

Izaskun: I would create a center in an undeveloped country where women artisans would have access to tools and machinery to create jewelry and be taught how to manage a business.

Izaskun2
Follow Izaskun’s inspirational adventures via Instagram at @izaskunzabala.

 

Thank you, Izaskun, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing and we look
forward to all the wonderful things ahead. 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!

 

Meet the Maker – Kacie Fleming of Katya Valera and KV Wishbox

katya valera

katya valera

 

Today in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Kacie Fleming of Youngsville, NC, who is the one-woman-show behind boutique jewelry brand Katya Valera. Kacie also runs a crazy-smart subscription jewelry box program called KV Wishbox. Welcome, Kacie – we’re thrilled to have you!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

In 2011, I was browsing Etsy in search of jewelry for my bridesmaids, and I fell in love with all of these clay rose pieces I kept seeing. A few YouTube videos later, I decided I could totally make some myself, and within two weeks I’d ordered supplies, gotten to work, and had ten pieces up for sale in my brand new Etsy shop.

It was all done on such a whim, and I had no idea what I was getting into, or how much I would love something I’d never thought of doing before. But I really am glad I just went with it, because overthinking may have held me back for who knows how long.

My jewelry has become an invaluable outlet for me, as chronic illness keeps me from being able to work outside the home. I started my shop not too long after I became sick but before I’d fully realized the day-to-day repercussions of chronic illness, and my shop has been a lifesaver in many ways.

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Since it started as such a whim, I don’t think I envisioned a whole lot initially. I think I was envisioning elegant yet very affordable jewelry largely composed of those tantalizing clay rose pieces. My jewelry vision has definitely changed a bit since then.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

At Katya Valera (pronounced KAH-tyuh Vuh-LAIR-uh) you’ll find jewelry with an elegant, vintage-bohemian quality in a wide range of styles. I also offer gift sets of original poetry prints with matching sterling silver necklaces in my 3D Eloquence Collection. As of this year, I’ll also be releasing themed seasonal collections, which adds a new creative element to my work that I absolutely love. But what I’m most excited about is the launch of KV Wishbox, my seasonal jewelry box that lets you get in on the upcoming collection weeks before it’s released!

 

katya valera

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

You can browse my newest and most popular pieces at KatyaValera.com, and all of my jewelry is for sale in my Etsy shop. KV Wishbox is available at KVWishbox.com and in my Etsy shop. The Spring Wishbox will be available until February 12, and the Summer KV Wishbox will be out in May.

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

For several reasons, my work day is definitely not the norm, and it varies based on which design phase I am in. For example, I just completed months of rather franticly-paced work gearing up for my first KV Wishbox and the Spring 2016 Collection. That phase included daily hours of planning and designing, to making the pieces and photographing them (dependent on the sun’s fickleness, for the latter), to wrangling with code to complete the KV Wishbox website. It was definitely my most intensive work period yet.

Now that the Wishbox is released and the Spring Collection is ready for its March 1 debut, my work days are a bit calmer, as I have a couple weeks’ break before it’s time to do it all over again for the Summer Collection.

In addition to all of that, my work “days” tend to take place at far different hours than most, as chronic health problems currently leave me with odd sleeping hours. My work times are often dictated by the whims of my body’s abilities each day/night, so most of my work is accomplished in the evening and night. The flexibility of being in charge of my own business is perfect for my health needs and varying symptoms.

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

1) If you can afford it. Of course every business undertaking involves some risk, but really think through how much each piece will cost you, how much you’ll have to charge for it, and if you’ll have the finances to keep it all going.

2) Your business name. As I mentioned, my shop began as a whim, so I started with a name that I had only thought about for a few days. A few months down the road, I realized that it needed to be changed, and I had to go through the trouble of rebranding, redesigning my shop, and getting new business cards, etc. The process was worth it, but it probably could have been avoided.

3) The legal side—licenses and taxes. This type of information oddly seems to be a secret in the world of small business, but it’s important. Find out if your state requires a business license (probably) and if you need to be collecting sales tax and paying that, along with regular income tax (also likely). Your state might have a small business association you can consult.

Tackling this confusing world is the price we have to pay for getting to be small business owners, and you have to do a lot of digging to get answers. But keep calling and asking questions until you know everything that’s required of you—the squeaky wheel really gets the grease.

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Probably my husband. I tell him my problems, and just doing that helps. But I also bring myself back to focus by just doing my best, and then taking a break for a bit. I am glued to my computer probably 80% of the time, and am also a perfectionist with crazy-high standards for everything I do. So when I’m overwhelmed by tasks I need to accomplish, for example, I push through the ones that are most pressing, and then give myself a chance to relax. Then I can come back to my job with a clearer, calmer mind.

 

katya valera

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

One would be changing my business name and branding. I know Katya Valera is a bit of a risk in the realm of pronunciation, but I find it’s worth it because it is unique and has so much more meaning than my original name did.

Another has been deciding to offer remakes of my pieces. In the past I’ve made lots of one-of-a-kind pieces, which is fine now and then, but I would run into the issue of multiple people wanting remakes – and it’s harder to build momentum when only one of each design is available. So designing pieces in collections with multiples available has been a great decision.

And I can’t say just yet if it’s been the best decision, but I know it’s definitely been the most exciting and fulfilling creatively: Planning and releasing my themed seasonal collections, and the KV Wishboxes that precede them.

 

LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

I made a mistake from the very start that seems like such a no-brainer now, yet is so common starting out: not taking my photos in natural light. Photos are possibly the most important aspect of selling online, and I can’t believe I thought taking them in my bedroom at night would work, but you live and learn. You simply can’t beat natural light.

Browsing other pictures on Etsy and reading online about how to improve my photography really helped, but my biggest improvement has just come from trial and error. I’ve taken thousands of pictures, dozens and dozens of each piece, just to ensure I get five awesome ones. My photographs are night and day compared to what they once were…literally.

 

LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

I am definitely passionate about chronic illness awareness, for obvious reasons, and spreading the hope of alternative treatment. Life with chronic illness is very isolating and lonely, because chronic illness – especially at a young age – is not the norm. People also simply cannot understand what they haven’t experienced.

I am just one voice, but I do what I can to share insights into life with chronic illness on my blog in hopes that others will gain a better understanding of the struggles that we deal with, and what they can do to help. I also share what I have learned about the world of alternative treatments and holistic healing, in hopes that those who are suffering will also find the hope that I have found in options I once didn’t even know existed.

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

1) My camera, of course, since it’s how I showcase my pieces for the world to see.

2) PicMonkey. I guess I could make it without it, but life would be a whole lot harder!

3) Google. There are few problems or questions I haven’t been able to resolve with a couple of quick searches.

 

katya valera

 

LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

I would hope that my seasonal collections and KV Wishbox are in full swing, and I would probably have my jewelry for sale in additional online outlets. I would also love to be having customer-hosted jewelry parties several times a year, as I have done in the past.

 

LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?

My first reaction is to go with plantains—plantain fried in olive oil and pink salt are out of this world. But the smarter option would probably be chicken, as it offers more variety. Plus, I’m all about meat. Will you smuggle me in some fries now and then?

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Music is one of the few things that I love as much as jewelry, so I constantly have it going while I work. I definitely go in phases of the same artists for weeks at a time, and lately I’ve been addicted to The Civil Wars. I discovered them after the duo had already parted ways, but I continue to be no less heartbroken over it. They powered me through the past few months of gearing up for the Spring Collection and KV Wishbox, along with Joy Williams’s own music. In my book, she and The Civil Wars are not only the perfect background for a happy workplace but also inspire me in my own music. I also absolutely adore Emily West—it’s about time to be stuck on her music again for a few weeks.

 

LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but one of mine is Psalm 107:14-16: “He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.”

These verses really blew me away a couple of years ago, for both their powerful imagery and their even more so powerful meaning—I continue to deal with many obstacles, particularly with my health, that are overwhelming and upsetting. But these verses can apply to much more than that, and knowing that God can conquer anything, no matter how huge, is so comforting.

 

Thank you, Kacie, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Katya Valera and KV Wishbox. 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!

 

Meet the Maker – Ievgeniia Zlotar of Moondome Jewelry

Meet the Maker - Ievgeniia MoonDome Jewelry

Meet the Maker - Ievgeniia MoonDome Jewelry

 

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker interview series, we’re getting to know Ievgeniia Zlotar of Moondome Jewelry, a Ukranian designer who resides in Livingston, Scotland and creates the most stunning line of jewelry and accessories using raw gemstones and wire. Welcome, Ievgeniia!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Ievgeniia: There was a long, long road to where I am now, but through my life, I knew three main things: I like to study, I like to be at home, and I like to live in my own rhythm – to choose when to work, and when to spend time with my family and kids. So the idea to start my business came naturally, especially after my kids were born – I wanted to stay with them at home as long as they will need me. At the same time, I was struggling to find my own personality after having been just a mum – to be somebody beyond the daily routines.

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Ievgeniia: I had no clear vision of what my business should be. In the first stage, I was making a lots of different types of crafts – from pencil rolls to crocheted jewelry. It was just a crazy random mix that you could hardly imagine were made by the same person. One day, I saw a pretty wire-wrapped copper hairpin with green gemstones, and it changed my world. Ever since my childhood, I’d wanted to create something just as beautiful, natural, and long-lasting.

 

Meet the Maker - Ievgeniia MoonDome Jewelry

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Ievgeniia: I know that I should say I am making one-of-a-kind, bespoke and custom jewelry, but there is a much more meaning, story and magic behind each of my pieces. I want to remind people through my jewelry that they are beautiful. Nature created this amazing universe we are living in; there is no artist greater than Nature, and we are all her masterpieces. Just look at gemstones – they are beautiful even when rough and uncut; so unique, and all full of charm and mystery. I have never met a person who hates gemstones and crystals. So I want to encourage people to stay true and love themselves as they are, and live their own lives. (But if you ask my kids, they will simply answer that mammy is making crowns!)

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Ievgeniia: I started with offline sales – mostly craft markets – but now I am starting to expand online. I have my Etsy shop, and my new sparkling website is now under construction. I also have an exclusive stockist in Moscow.

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Ievgeniia: Usually I begin my day with some yoga. I am not a morning person, so it is important for me to have a nice start without immediately multitasking and and pushing myself to do something that might be effective, but is so boring. All of my necessary tasks get done at noon, when I am most focused and full of life. Then I reward myself with some creative time – doing custom orders or creating new designs. In the evenings, I try to spend time with family – have a nice walk before dinner, play with wee ones, and chat to my friends. It sounds good in theory, but what often happens is that I am still replying to emails while walking, or posting on Instagram while cooking. But I think it is normal to be this way when you are a working mum and one-man-orchestra. Be brave, my creative pals – we will get there!

 

Meet the Maker - Ievgeniia MoonDome Jewelry

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Ievgeniia: First, make sure you really love what you are doing. It will be your job every day, so don’t start something you will tire after awhile.

Second, do not pretend to be somebody who you are really not. You will find your tribe only if you stay true to yourself, and once you find it – you will enjoy your business more and more with every day, rather being in constant stress trying to keep your face on.

Third: Take your marketing strategy seriously from the first day – or even better, before your first day.

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Ievgeniia: Cleaning and organizing my stock of gemstones and supplies. I it also helps to put my wellies on to have a nice, long walk through the beautiful Scottish woods. As Zen wisdom says, you should spent 20 minutes with nature every day – unless you are busy, and then you need to spend an hour outdoors. I never make my jewelry in a bad mood or as a way to escape from stress, because I believe that I will pass those negative vibes to my creations; and because I know myself, it will never be a piece I am proud of.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Ievgeniia: My best ever decision was that I recently performed an entire re-brand. I finally understood  what I want to be my business like, and I knew whom I wanted my creations to speak to. The other great decision was to focus on Instagram as a potential marketplace. Instagram brings me a lots of inspiration, makes me closer with my customers, is easy to use on the go, and I can speak to my followers through the only existing universal language that every seeing person on this planet understands: visual  storytelling.

 

Meet the Maker - Ievgeniia MoonDome Jewelry

 

LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

Ievgeniia: I could write the encyclopedia on mistakes when launching a creative business! For example, I never studied marketing, and thought that my creations would speak for me. I thought there was no need to have a consistent style, or to communicate your work through social media.  Marketing is the magical tool that helps creative minds to tell their story behind their work. It translates the language of forms and colors into emotions and impressions. I learned my lesson, so now I am studying a lot about how to craft a business through marketing, and I am really enjoying it.

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Ievgeniia: 1) Dropbox – I use it everyday to have all my recent photos on hand.

2) Google apps – They keep all my documents organized so have access to them from all my devices.

3) Photoshop.

 

Meet the Maker - Ievgeniia MoonDome Jewelry

 

LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

Ievgeniia: I’m hopeful that my business will grow, and  that I manage to earn enough to make living from it. I also hope to see my items selling through a couple of cult brand stores. But the biggest dream is to launch my own brick and mortar shop, with a creative space for local designers where we could share and help each other through.

 

LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?

Ievgeniia: Merengue with whipped cream and fruits.

 

LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…

Ievgeniia: Indian music and good old rock ballads.

 

LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?

Ievgeniia: I would donate to a charity that supports single mums starting their business.

 

Thank you, Ievgeniia, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Moondome Jewelry. 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!