This week our ongoing Meet the Maker interview series, we’re going behind-the-scenes with jewelry designer Jane Pope of Spartanburg, SC. Welcome, Jane!
LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?
Jane: I was just out of college, working in retail at a high-end boutique. I had an art background and knew I wanted to do something creative. I started my costume jewelry line, BALBOA, and took the plunge. 7 years later and with a growing interest in fine materials, I went back to school for fine jewelry design and fabrication.
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Jane: I don’t think I had a clear vision at the time. I just loved making beautiful pieces that made women feel special. My vision for my business and my brand has evolved quite a bit over time.
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Jane: I work with 14kt gold and semi-precious and precious gemstones. I love the unique nature of my designs, their perfect imperfections, and helping people find the perfect JPJ piece for them. If they cannot find it, I will create a custom piece.
LBC: Where can we find your products?
LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.
Jane: I do a bit of everything; I sort through emails, work on social media strategy, and work on custom designs.
LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
Jane: Now that I have been in business for 15 years, I feel like I have a little insight. I think we live in an age where everyone wants to have their own company 5 minutes ago. While I think this is a great idea at some point, working for someone who is established in your field can be invaluable. I started my business without having worked for someone. While it has had its perks, I also think it’s fun to learn from people and think it could help you know more about your strengths and weaknesses.
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
Jane: A walk around the block. A bit of fresh air helps most stresses.
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.
Jane: Saying no to projects that are not in the best interest of my business has been extremely important. “Yes” is a much easier answer when you are looking at a proposal, and feeling that you don’t want to miss something. However, I have learned to really think about projects, and deciding which are smart for me to say “no” to has been as important as saying “yes.”
LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?
Jane: Saying yes to things that were way too much work and time for a tiny return. I just powered through it. I put my head down and worked insanely hard until the project was finished. After I finished it, I looked at it as an incredible learning experience and moved on.
LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?
Jane: I have worked with two organizations that are near and dear to my heart. I had a brain tumor 3 years ago, so brain cancer research is near and dear to my heart.
The other is AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). My daughter’s teacher lost her teenage son to suicide. It is unbelievably sad to think that someone close to you is suffering and you may not know. Awareness is such an important issue.
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?
Jane: A spreadsheet that my husband made me for pricing my jewelry. It sounds silly, but I am not a spreadsheet person. He created this intense spreadsheet to help me keep everything organized. It took my assistant using it and showing me how to best use it for 3 years before I finally got the hang of everything. Now, I cannot live without it!
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Jane: JPJ reaching a larger audience. I am very proud of my product: the quality, the look, how it makes people feel. I want everyone to experience it.
LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Jane: The Mean Green Detox Salad. It doesn’t taste anything like its name. It’s delicious!
LBC: If you could hire someone to do just one thing that you sort of loath doing, what would it be?
Jane: Sort through things and throw them away as needed.
LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?
Jane: “Whip it.” – DEVO
Thank you, Jane, for sharing your talent with us! We absolutely love what you’re doing, and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for your jewelry line. 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!