Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in jewelry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erin Flynn, Founder of Erin Flynn Fine Jewelry, located in San Francisco, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
As a designer and creator of fine jewelry, I love being able to take someone's vision and make it come alive in a piece that gives it meaning to the wearer. In this way, I take a holistic approach to my clientele's accessory needs, helping them to imagine, design and create a well-considered jewelry wardrobe that reflects their personal style, interests, and passions, partnering with them every step of the way. In addition, my signature lines which include Megawatt, Champagne Bubbles, Heritage, and Defining Lines, among others, including a men's line, have innovative staples that can be customized to individual preferences.
A focus in the spring of 2023 is my ongoing interest and commitment to hosting regular in-store events and pop-up shops with local brands and stores in cities across the US, affording the opportunity to meet with clients and learn more about their stylistic desires and what inspires them. I am a firm believer in the importance of being able to "see fine jewelry in person...to feel it and touch it...to experience it in a way that is unique to each individual."
Further, following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, I look forward to creating opportunities for people to gather in person with events centered around community, the arts, jewelry, and beauty. As someone obsessed with style and design — especially jewelry — I love meeting people, imbibing their sartorial style, and helping them conceptualize and create their perfect jewelry wardrobe.
Tell us about yourself
My journey as an entrepreneur did not happen overnight; in fact, my own 'hustle' evolved slowly over many years, first as a hobby, then as a way to perhaps escape some of the pressures of a full-time career while raising young children, to eventually what was a personal point-of-inflection as I considered what 'happiness' means to me – both on a daily basis and over the long-term. Importantly, top of mind was the example I wanted to set for my sons as they grew older, as they started to observe my choices and think about what might lie ahead for them as they imagined their own futures. Having taken a multi-year hiatus to pursue a corporate career and raise her two young sons, I went to work at Tiffany & Co. and Cartier before re-launching my jewelry line with collections that represent an elegant and timeless style but with a modern take on traditional designs.
Prior to launching Erin Flynn Fine Jewelry, I had been designing and making jewelry for 20 years, albeit with varying levels of dedicated time and effort. I fell in love with the art in my 20s and started designing pieces for friends and family, eventually developing a line of jewelry that was sold in local boutiques and featured in national fashion and pop culture magazines such as People, US Weekly, Southern Living, and others. I have always been obsessed with the interplay of design and beauty; there has always been something so magical to me about diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry. And helping people create their jewelry wardrobe seemed to bring my clients joy – and, by extension, my joy – so simmering within me has always been the hope of being able to do what I love for a living while making a difference in people's lives.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Of course, there is the satisfaction that comes with seeing a dream to fruition, which I experienced when I officially launched in early 2021. But if there is a moment that sticks with me in particular, it is a little over a year later when I was selected as an exclusive jewelry designer for the 74th Emmy Awards® Giving Suite™ where my custom pieces were on display for celebrity presenters and winners as part of the Television Academy Foundation's annual Emmys participation. It was a night of celebration for me on many levels.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think probably the most important thing to overcome is any self-doubt that comes with the journey. There will undoubtedly be times where the hobby that always brought you joy may start to feel a little like bit like work – or even a lot like work. That's okay. There will be good days, bad days, and everything in between. Even something that is 'a labor of love' is still a labor. But ultimately, it will mean so much more to you if you give it the gift of grit along the way. Like most things in life, hang in there, and you won't regret it.
I would also say focusing on what you can do each day to achieve your goal can help keep you stay optimistic and energized. Start small – and get a few wins under your belt. Unless you are able to bend the space-time continuum, there will always only be 24 hours in the day you have to work with. Begin by carving out a little time each week and set modest goals.
Fixing your sights on the endgame can be inspiring, but it can often lead to feeling overwhelmed by all the steps it takes to get there. Map out what you think you can achieve each week or month, and feel free to course-correct along the way. Importantly when you reach a milestone, take time to acknowledge and enjoy the sense of accomplishment. Over time a series of small wins start to snowball into big ones.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I would say my top three would be:
- Define What Success Looks Like – for You. Are you looking to satiate a personal passion of yours as a creative outlet? Are you starting with the hopes of turning your hobby into a profitable little business? Do you see yourself as someday becoming a household name or brand – or all of these things? Regardless understanding what motivates you helps you ask the right questions, make better decisions, and keeps you on track to achieving your goal.
- Figure Out You Risk Tolerance – and Revisit it Often. Getting any new gig off the ground is always going to require time or money – and probably both. And for most of us, there is already too little of each, to begin with. So make an honest assessment of the level of commitment you are prepared to make. Will you have to forego another interest or activity in your life to make this happen? If you need upfront capital, what will your funding source be – personal savings, friends and family, or Kickstarter? Are you prepared to make necessary but sometimes difficult assessments and adjustments along the way without losing enthusiasm? Revisiting your risk parameters and tolerance levels will keep you level-headed about your passion and give you greater peace of mind in your pursuit.
- Be Realistic – and Give Yourself a Break. There will be obstacles you didn't plan for, opportunities that didn't work out days where you just don't have it in you. But if you think of your side hustle more as an escape, something to dream about, or hope for, even as your own little secret at first as you navigate the vicissitudes of daily life, it can really serve as a sustaining force. Without the benefit of a playbook for side hustles or life itself, we're all just winging it after all. Take it in stride, and take in all the goodness the whole experience can offer you.
But if there is just one piece of advice I would give to anyone thinking of giving it a go – along the lines of the old adage, "It's not the opportunities that we take in life that give us the most regret but rather the ones we don't" – I would say "start with a yes" and see where that takes you. The difference between the myriad 'would be' entrepreneurs out there and the ones living their dream is the conviction to start – to at least try. So with that, maybe set aside just 15 minutes tomorrow as a way to begin your own journey and start with a yes :)
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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