It isn’t how many times you fall
It’s how many times you pick yourself up
A little known fact about me.
From 2007 to Q1 2010, I designed and created jewellery under the brandname Eclettica (you can view my Sold Gallery here), with an atelier on Etsy. It was an exhilarating time for artisan handmade, wire-wrapped pieces, being the zeitgeist of the moment et al. And I certainly rode the wave, becoming the jewellery designer of choice for none other than the queen of rock herself, Courtney Love Cobain.
Good Interesting times. Incidentally, you know what they say about artistic people being, well, temperamental? They were absolutely right. Cough.
I digress. It was indeed an incredible period in my life. Rollercoaster rides dealing with suppliers, customers and copycats (bane of any designer’s existence). Managing that tricky balancing act known as cashflow vs inventory. Learning all about selling and marketing and promoting on the fly. Single-handedly. Crashing and burning far more times than I care to remember.
No matter how many times you fall down,
You need to pick yourself right up and keep on fighting.
TRUER WORDS HAVE NOT BEEN SPOKEN.
I’ve been meaning to share my story as a businesswoman for yonks now but kept pushing it back on my editorial line-up because let’s be honest, the topics that matter are also the ones which require the most time to plan, plot and, finally, write. And time is a somewhat rare commodity in a working mother’s life #noexcuse I knew I needed peace, quiet, calmness to write a really good piece, which hasn’t been possible up until today, and given that International Women’s Day happens on Tuesday, the 8th, what perfect timing.
Further icing on the cake when, as part of their International Women’s Day initiative, cabi invited me to write my thoughts on the challenges I’d faced in running my own business. Procrastination promptly flew out the window.
There is no grand premise behind why I started my company, Eclettica, other than a dare. A simple dare issued by non other than my brother, for me to try my hand at creating jewellery because I dared
laugh snigger at his initial attempts GRIN I began from nothing. Zero knowledge of how to use wires, let alone twist and manipulate them into structures and shapes that remotely resembled anything anyone would want to wear. For the first few months, band-aids were my besties. Band-aids and cortisone cream.
Also, you know how some show pictures of their work studios looking all messy cool and spiffy? Well, mine was nothing like that. I was living with my parents at the time, in Borneo, while waiting for our visas to be approved, and my “studio” was a 2″ x 2″ space on the living room floor, in front of the TV. I shan’t even tell you the number of times we bled from stepping onto loose, cut bits of wire. Sigh. I shan’t lie. I wanted to give up so many times but I couldn’t. I’d invested far too much money into purchasing supplies (real gold wires and gem grade stones cost an arm and a leg, and then some).
IT WAS A "MAKE OR BREAK" MOMENT
I’d work 18 to 20 hours each day. Taking breaks in between to spend time with Eve (I was also homeschooling her back then, poor child), I would nap when she did, and work when she slept. It was tough and it was a long time before sales came in. Slightly over a year, to be precise. And when they did, they trickled, my friend, at an agonisingly slow pace. I couldn’t understand it. Everything I used was AAA quality so why wasn’t anyone buying? One night, in desperation, I increased the price on each piece by 200%. The next morning, I woke up to find that I’d sold $3,750 worth of jewellery, out of which, $2,500 came from none other than Ms Love. I’m serious.
Overnight, I learned the importance of perceived brand equity, perceived product value. That pricing one’s item below the market average was a surefire way to killing sales. From then on, I would average $25,000 sales per month, 60% of that being nett profit.
It does read like a dream come true but it was a lot of work.
Hard work. Hard knocks. A thick skin and tenacity to rival a camel.
Was it worth all of that, you ask?? Without hesitation, I say yes, it certainly was. I had the opportunity to design jewellery for people I’d never otherwise have met (The Veronicas, Kat Von D, Peri Lyons and, of course, Courtney Love), and I had my designs featured on Perez Hilton’s website, The Alan Carr Show, VMA 2010, the NME Music Awards Show 2010, in magazines such as Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Cleo, InStyle as well as US Weekly.
And it all began with a dare.
MORAL OF STORY: NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS
True? Hell, yeah.
p/s photos by eve
I link up here.