Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in jewelry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Robert A Donofrio, Founder of Futura Jewelry, located in Sea Girt, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
After decades of leading businesses in the luxury jewelry sector, I discovered the truth about gold mining. Mercury is used to separating the gold from the rock and ore where it is found, and as a result, gold mining is the largest global contributor to mercury emissions (40%). The United Nations calls mercury emissions “a serious threat to our planet,” and most of these emissions come from mining for gold for the jewelry we all wear, and I was commercializing. Being embarrassed that I had never asked where our gold comes from and knowing the risks gold mining poses, I was immediately committed to the mission of giving consumers a gold jewelry option that worked with Mother Nature, not against her. Futura Jewelry was founded soon thereafter as a compassionate, high-quality jewelry brand exclusively using certified Fairmined gold mining without mercury. The customer is everyone who buys jewelry and is interested in jewelry that works with Mother Nature, not against Her.
Tell us about yourself
My intention when I created Futura Jewelry was to give everyone a chance to be a part of the worldwide solution to a worldwide crisis. Something that was tangible and within our reach. We built Futura to meet customers’ desires to wear what they believe in. Jewelry that responded to their values and knowing they are making the planet safer one piece of jewelry at a time. Finding a true passion for giving back to people and the world is a never-ending motivator.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Being accepted by the United Nations as a partner to help solve the worldwide mercury emissions threat by reducing the use of gold mined with mercury and advocating clean gold jewelry options.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It is a lonely world. Hard to find collaborators that believe in what you believe in. When you choose to go against the system, you realize just how strong the status quo is. I believed Futura Jewelry was so necessary for the world that the road to acceptance would have been much quicker and not so rocky. The costs of remaining true to your mission are high. Getting a voice in the media is difficult, and without trustful words from mainstream voices, your market penetration remains small at best. If you sell through retail stores, you must deliver on sales per square foot that traditional brands deliver, and there is little or no patience for the learning curve of moving to ethical products.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a point of difference with your competitors.
- Have the financing to see your idea through to the end.
- Be patient, expect setbacks, and stay focused on your mission.
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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