Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in jewelry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rachel Skelly, Founder of Cast, located in San Francisco, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Cast is a fine jewelry brand bringing warmth and wonder to the shopping experience. Sadly, shopping for fine jewelry can be incredibly intimidating, hard to navigate, and even harder to understand. This is such a shame because the jewelry itself is amazing. Our mission at Cast is to do the shopping for fine jewelry as delightful as wearing it. We want to create a retail experience that brings that same magical feeling of being a kid in a candy store.
We created Cast to be a place that inspires curiosity and fosters a sense of discovery, with endless treasures to explore. With an emphasis on craft and deep storytelling, Cast is a place that inspires curiosity and encourages play. A place to discover artful pieces you won’t find anywhere else. We design our exclusive collections in collaboration with some of our favorite female designers and artists both locally and around the world. Each unique collection addresses a different need in the jewelry box, yet each piece across collections can be worn together and layered for a unique look. We affectionately call our clients “style seekers.” Jewelry is a form of expression. For our clients, jewelry not only completes a look, it tells a story and makes a look completely her own.
Tell us about yourself
I’m new to the industry, but re-imaging existing categories with a fresh creative perspective and a sense of optimism have been a sweet spot for most of my career. Before Cast, I helped rethink health and nutrition categories with the successful launches of OLLY vitamins and Plum Organics Baby Food. I love the challenge of disrupting an established industry with a lightness and joy that invites new consumers in.
As a designer, I’ve always been drawn to artful, creative objects of any kind—jewelry is at the top of that list. Fine jewelry is easy to admire. It’s so beautiful to look at and even more amazing to wear. Yet so many are understandably cautious about the category. I myself can’t remember a time when I walked into a fine jewelry store without feeling intimidated and out of place. That’s why we created Cast. We really wanted to change that cold and awkward experience to one of warmth and wonder that feels empowering.
I’m excited and inspired every day by our mission to make shopping for fine jewelry feel as delightful and amazing as wearing it. I want women to feel welcome to engage in this category and experience the joy and power that comes from discovering and wearing beautiful fine pieces that were designed to last a lifetime.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Opening our first boutique this September in Marin. This has been a dream of ours for quite some time. We always knew that we wanted to reimagine the experience of shopping for fine jewelry. To create a place that was warm and inviting, filled with inspiration and wonder. In early 2020 we had an exciting concept that we were ready to pursue, but of course, Covid had other plans. We took a momentary pause, and that turned out to be a silver lining as we had more time to vet the concept, perfect our product and get our online store up and running. We are so excited to finally be opening our first of many boutiques this fall.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I’d have to say life balance. As a mom of two small kids, it can, at times, feel like I’m on an impossible mission. I’m the type that completely throws myself into anything I do. I have a hard time separating my work from myself and my life—for many years, work was my whole life. Every brand I’ve created has felt like my baby, and Cast is the most precious of all. Now I have real babies. In fact, my youngest, Ruby, was born just a month before we launched the brand online last year. So, needless to say, it’s been a lot. Yet it has been the most thrilling and rewarding work I’ve ever done, so I wouldn’t change a single thing.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Create a business based on something you love and are naturally passionate about.
- Always seek to learn, tap the “experts,” and surround yourself with people that are smarter than you—but never lose sight of your north star!
- Stay nimble and open-minded. You never know when you might need to pivot (ahem, COVID), and being resilient may turn out to be your superpower.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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