Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in jewelry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emily Gill, founder of EG Bespoke Ltd., located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
EG Bespoke is a small boutique business in downtown Toronto where people of all walks of life come to design special heirlooms. Emily's desire to design thoughtfully for clients makes buying a ring not just a purchase but an experience in discovering your inner childlike wonder, whether they are working with parents to design a very special gold graduation gift for the first time or repurposing their engagement ring for a 50th anniversary. She specializes in timeless fine jewellery with a special focus on ethically sourced, locally made rings with coloured gemstones and vitreous glass enamel made in gold or platinum.
Tell us about yourself
For the better part of a decade, I worked in creative fields; for other jewellers, I taught classes and toted my kiln to locations to teach enameling. Over the last 13 years in Toronto, hundreds of encouraging and wise souls became my unofficial mentors on the artist's path. I began creating diamond rings initially as a side hustle to my artwork to pay off school. It snowballed into a creative service I knew I would love doing for years to come because I loved the challenges o being a business owner and communicating with people from all walks of life.
In 2015, I launched my bespoke fine jewellery line. I left all my part-time endeavours to become a full-time jewellery maker & designer. While not every day is calm when you are busy, it's finding those quiet moments to really get into your craft (I love the traditional technique of glass enameling) and cherish those meditative moments working with your hands.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Getting through the pandemic was challenging. My biggest achievement as a business owner is thriving throughout the pandemic. Not only did our customers continue to support the small business, a real sense of unity amongst those who support small businesses was solidified. In due course, I was able to roll business forward to other small businesses on a personal level and set a path towards achieving more of my business goals.
These goals are in regards to upholding quality standards, attracting clients who are as concerned about gemstone traceability and sourcing, and making sure everyone who works with me is fairly compensated and doesn't have to rush their workload and feel they have the emotional support to do their job without strain or stress because of what's going on globally.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Knowing my limitations and letting a client know when something isn't possible is absolutely the hardest part of my job. This is a business of making moments, celebrations, and passing along sentimental heirlooms, but usually, it is misunderstood how long a piece of jewellery takes to make.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Keep a side job or day job until you are sure you can last one year without making a profit (or more, depending on your overhead). I had three part-time jobs and ran my business for a while before leaping into being self-employed. I did not have financial support from my family/spouse to do so, and therefore I needed the cushion to do so.
- Know your comfort levels of growth, what your goals are in terms of volume, and understand what limits you may face with expansion with regards to quality/turnaround should you become very busy.
- Continually seek out workshops or experiences to help learn about communication, community, workplace systems, etc., even if they are outside of your industry. There is magic in finding correlations between what you do as an artist (speaking for myself) and what others do in other fields that is invaluable to your growth as a business owner and member of your community.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Thank you so much for sharing my experience as a SoloPreneur on your platform. It's great to be included!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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