So as you all know I love to support local and started a #girlboss segment on the blog where we could share, learn and inspire!
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
Thula Jewellery is made locally in Somerset West in the Cape and surprise – they have a 15% off sale at the moment until 25 April, and delivery after lock down. Visit their website and fall in love. Jess is super talented and only works in sterling silver. If you have the vision, she can make it a (beautiful!) reality. Jess is passionate about making fine jewellery and that can be seen in her magnificent pieces. I have my eye on a few of her pieces..!
You started your own jewellery business – How does it feel to be a successful #girlboss that inspires others and loves what she does?
It feels good – I do love what I do, (I don’t think you can metal-smith if you don’t love it, it is hard work.) & I have had Thula now for almost 11 years, so I guess the fact I have been around for this long does indeed let me claim some sort of “success”?? 🙂
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
Don’t slack! It will catch up to you, you have to consistently put in the effort & dedication everyday, being your own boss can be hard sometimes, nobody is there to crack the whip. You have to propel yourself forward. Nobody else will do that.
Marketing, it needs to be like showering. You gotta do it everyday. Even when I’m busy, & flooded with orders, I market. I’ve learnt not to wait for a quiet lull to put in the time & energy into that. It’s got to be a consistent thing.
Turn criticism into a building block to being better & doing better. See it as an opportunity to become the best.
Where do you see your businesses in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.
I’d love to see an expansion in terms of doing pop up shops – I think I’d really enjoy that & it would get new eyes on my work. Right now I am solely an online store, with a few pieces available at Cupboard Love in Port Elizabeth. I did however do a open studio sale at the end of last year which was phenomenal. I got to meet a number of clients who had ordered from me in the past, & it was so much fun. There are still people who prefer good old fashion shopping where you touch & look at products in person. For some people it needs to be a complete experience.
What is your advice to women out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Know your strengths & weaknesses. Be prepared to hire someone to do what you don’t know how to do – whether its graphic design, website building, photography. Especially in terms of a online marketplace – if you fall short of the full package you will be overlooked. You could have a really nice product or service, but there is a lot more
that goes into it than what you are actually trying to sell. Veteran small business owners tend to be experts in a variety of fields. A lot of that comes with experience, in the early days though be prepared to delegate.
How do you keep your brand relevant to customers and the market during these scary economic times?
I create new pieces & new content. It keeps things fresh, & it keeps customers interested. I’m also consistent on social media.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?
Being your own boss means your time is your own. While sometimes I do tell people instead of having a boss, I have 20 bosses or more at any given time, that’s not entirely true! Most clients are not like bosses – they are pretty great. They are supportive, kind, & excited to wear my makes.
What is the coolest commissioned piece of jewellery you have worked on recently?
Recently I made necklaces for three generations of women in one family.
They were necklaces made with the lace of their great grandmothers wedding dress. The oval pendants were made of a backing plate which then had the lace carefully glued on with clear perspex over it – which was then framed in sterling silver.
Here is the lovely Jess, with her pooch Lillian Petunia Bean but goes by Lily 🙂 In the picture she is wearing the oval engraved necklace with her husband’s name, Bryce.
In the beautiful photography captured by the talented Duane Smith Photography. Check out his profile on Instagram.