My Journey Part 1 + What I've Learned
Last week Brittany asked me if I have ever shared how and why I started my business. And it dawned on me that I really just started talking about Eclectic Star without actually sharing with ya'll why I started it in the first place. So this will be a two part post, the first part will be how I got into the jewelry biz and the second part will be about what lead me to taking my leap of faith into full time entrepreneurship. I have always been the creative type. I remember as a kid I was always obsessed with new pens and paper more than most girls were obsessed about new Barbies. My mom always supported this gift too, from buying me tons of craft supplies, teaching me how to crochet and make hook-rugs to letting me "express myself" through drawing and painting all over my bedroom walls. As I got older I learned to express my creativity through other ways like dancing and writing but when real life hit my creative outlets were limited.
A little over two years ago I was sitting on my laptop online shopping for new accessories. See i'm not a "bauble" type of girl, no shade but its just not my style. I was looking for things that I could not only wear during the day while I was at work but things I could also wear when I wen't out..and it couldn't be TOO flashy. I came across a lot of great pieces but they were either way out of my budget or not really "me". So I took my bored, curious self to Hobby Lobby and decided I was going to ATTEMPT making my own jewelry. Ya'll I had no clue what I was doing but I was determined to teach myself something new. I spent the remainder of that Saturday searching Google and YouTube for instructions and was HOOKED! It was like an immediate obsession, something I hadn't felt since I was painting on my room walls. It did't even matter that my first few pieces looked a HOT mess, I was determined to figure it out. And eventually I got pretty good at it.
a couple of the first pieces I created and sold
For the first few months I'd just make things for myself and things for family and friends. No big deal. I just really enjoyed creating and it was a great escape from the job that I hated. It wasn't until someone contacted me on Twitter (social media is powerful ya'll) about purchasing one of my designs that I started to think I could actually make some money off of this. Still it wasn't anymore than a hobby to me but the more I kept creating the more people were asking to purchase from me. I've never liked authority or being told what to do so the thought of having my own business and making my own rules always fascinated me. So I got all pumped up and was like "hell yea I'm going to open up an online store". I was already spending most of my time at work thinking of new designs so I just tacked on starting a business on to that. First i had to think of a name. I wanted something that had meaning & described the pieces I was creating. I had a dream about the word "Eclectic" and looked up the meaning when I woke up. It was perfect! And the word "star" just comes from the fascination that I've always had with stars and astronomy (I can point out a ton of constellations till this day). I immediately created a logo (it was terrible!) and opened up my BigCartel shop on Feb. 24, 2012. Since then it has been up and down but deciding to turn my hobby into a business was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made.
the terrible, terrible first logo. WOOF!
What I Learned...
- Don't be afraid to try something new. I knew NOTHING about designing or creating jewelry but I knew I wanted to try it even if I didn't end up being good at it.
- Never stop learning. When I finally decided I wanted to take my hobby to the next level I bought every book possible and Gogoled until my eyes crossed. I knew nothing about the fashion industry or starting a business but I wasn't going to let that stop me.
- When starting a business put a good amount of your money towards proper branding. My fist logo was TRASH! My second logo was far from how I wanted my brand to be represented. My third I finally got it right. Really think long and hard about how you wan't your brand portrayed before you open up Photoshop or hand over your money to a designer. Trust me it will save you a ton of time and money!
- Its hard. I cried so many times out of frustration. It will be hard and you will wan't to give up but don't let one bad day ruin your amazing idea.
- Life will surprise you, just go with it. If you would have told me five years ago that I'd be a jewelry designer today I would have looked at you like you were crazy. It definitely came out of left field but I'm so happy that I just wen't with it.
- Forget what other people say and DO YOU. I've said this before but a lot of people looked down on me because I was starting an accessory business like everybody else. Had I listened to them Im almost positive I wouldn't be here talking to ya'll today.
- Have fun. I think I fell in love with what I do so much because I literally had fun doing it. I loved creating daily even before I started making money off of it.