Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in jewelry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Danielle Crampsie, Owner of Soundwave Jewellery, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Soundwave Jewellery is a custom jewellery design company. I take recordings of people's voices and place the image of their personal sound waves on one-of-a-kind pieces of custom jewellery. All pieces are handmade by me in my personal studio. During the process, I am the only point of contact for my clients; therefore, my clients interact directly with me to design and create their personalized piece of Soundwave Jewellery.
The majority of my pieces are created for engagement or wedding rings. However, I do work with clients to commemorate their baby's first words, special anniversary gifts, graduation messages, and memorial pieces which use the voices of family members who have passed away. My clients are creative with a desire to be different. They are looking for something unique to express their emotions, feelings and commemorate important life events. They are more interested in supporting independent artists than purchasing name-brand jewellery. They are looking for something of quality, depth, and meaning which extends beyond the material.
Tell us about yourself
I am an artist and have a passion for sound, music, and culture. I created the idea for Soundwave Jewellery while attending art college in the late 90s. Originally I went to art college to study photography; however, I did not like the vibe of the teacher, so I dropped out and took what was available - jewellery! I was studying sound, textiles, and jewellery. In the jewellery studio, I developed my first series, "Soundpieces." It was a series that explored the history of music culture and its symbols as we advanced from an analog to the digital age. In the sound program, I saw the image of a sound wave for the first time. Being heavily involved in the record collecting and DJ scene, I began printing the sound wave image on textiles to create record bags.
Soon the motif of the sound wave found its way into the jewellery series. As an artist, it is my main goal to document the history and create pieces that would go on to record the history of our time. Jewellery and metal arts do not disintegrate the way that textiles do; they go on to become markers of the values of civilization's past. For this reason, I choose to continue my artistic pursuits using jewellery as my main medium. The idea for the customization of Soundwave Jewellery came naturally. Although it took some time for the technology to catch up to the idea, I remained patient and enthusiastic until I could run Soundwave Jewellery as a profitable company. My commitment to the craft of goldsmithing and the idea of Soundwave Jewellery motivates me to continue.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
While I have been honoured to win many awards, including a Niche Award in 2007 for my piece "Play, Pause, Record," my biggest accomplishments lie in my clients' stories. One of which sits particularly close to my heart and vision as an artist. A few years ago, I heard from a client who had gifted her father a Soundwave Jewellery bracelet. Unfortunately, he had recently passed away. Since he never took his bracelet off, they decided to bury him wearing it. This action was particularly meaningful to me, considering the idea of future civilization uncovering jewellery of our time was the reason I chose to abandon my studies in textiles and pursue jewellery full time.
To me, it is reminiscent of how pharaohs were buried with their gems to accompany them to the afterworld or warriors were buried with their swords for protection. The jewellery and metal work found in these graves allowed future generations to understand the values of a culture, their social system, technology, and wealth. Soundwave Jewellery blends traditional goldsmithing techniques with modern technology to record an individual's personal history. It was always created to last forever and be a record of today's history. Having this gentleman buried with his piece of Soundwave Jewellery had accomplished the goal I had set out when I first developed the idea over 20 years ago.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest thing about being an independent business owner is the act of self-motivation. When there is no one to answer to except yourself, it is hard to hold yourself accountable continuously. To motivate yourself to get up every day and improve, keep going and make the changes necessary to serve your clients better and advance your business takes a lot of self-discipline. You have to believe in yourself, trust yourself enough to fail, forgive yourself, learn from your own mistakes and keep pushing forward. At the beginning of a business venture, you have a lot of enthusiasm, promise, and hope. When a goal is completed, you have satisfaction, outside praise, and something tangible to show for your hard work. It is the middle part that no one really talks about; this is where things are uncertain, the plan is not going well, and roadmaps need to be shifted. These are the moments when self-motivation is needed to keep the business running.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you have a solid 'why?'; this is something you lean on when you feel uncertain.
- Create some form of structure in your business and life. This can come in the form of a morning routine or time blocked scheduled work session and/or 'me time to work on something outside your business. Stick to the structure you created and form boundaries (especially with family/friends) to ensure that you keep this commitment to yourself.
- Ask for help! This can come in all forms. Asking friends to review a piece of copywriting, hiring a VA to help with emails, and asking your mom to help organize your space. Sometimes you feel like everything is working against you; asking for help can remind you that you are not alone.
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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