Today we’re featuring Shannon Schreiber, co-owner of The Bead who also happens to be my lovely daughter (this is Sheila speaking, the one you usually hear from in these blog posts). J While I’m retired and have more time for writing, Shannon is still in the world of work and has to do more juggling to keep up with life and this business we’re trying to grow into more – so we divvy up the labor and I’ve done most of the blog posts. But Shannon is the real inspiration and ‘knowledge base’ of the business, so I wanted to make sure you had a chance to get to know her as well. Here is the result of my ‘formal’ interview with her (it’s so funny, thinking of a mom interviewing a daughter & partner, but that’s really what we did)…
Sheila: Why did you decide to start this small business (The Bead)?
Shannon: I decided I wanted to have my own business (with you!), after years of working for others in the jewelry business. In terms of why I was interested in this particular business, it’s because I’ve always been very intrigued and fascinated by rocks & gemstones and jewelry in general. And I wanted to see if I could turn what had been a hobby (collecting rocks and gemstones and designing/making jewelry) into a more lucrative pastime. Also, I knew I had a strong foundation for this line of work, having had long-term work experience in the business of selling jewelry and natural stones, as well as my training on the job and through GIA (Gemological Institute of America).
Ultimately I would love to make a living as a jewelry designer. Since we offer custom design services for any item in the shop, I look forward to getting more orders from clients about items made according to their vision for a special piece.
Sheila: What inspires you about jewelry design and its components?
Shannon: I’m most inspired by things like fine gemstones, precious metals, and items from antiquity. One of my favorite things is learning more about the history of famous gemstones and precious adornments – like stories of the Hope diamond, and how the ancients drilled holes through really hard stones like rubies and sapphires and polished them to make adornments, crowns, and sacred objects. I also love the geological aspects of stones – like the process that occurred when fossils were created, such as fossil agates and amber. The history of metalwork is also fascinating – knowing how people first discovered gold was malleable, and how they began to use fire and tools to shape it into something that could hold a beautiful stone.
Sheila: What is your role in the business, and what work-related tasks are you most focused on right now?
Shannon: I’m the one who provides creative inspiration and technical assistance. While I’m still working at other jobs, that’s the only practical contribution I can make. But in the meantime, I’m also creating a studio space – - clearing clutter, selling things and giving them away, whatever it takes to move past ‘kitchen table studio’ and get to a more permanent, appropriate, and dedicated work area. I’m also getting our large collection of stones and supplies organized and inventoried.
Sheila: What have you learned in the process of becoming an entrepreneur?
Shannon: Having a successful business takes an incredible amount of patience, dedication and time! The most valuable asset you can have in business is a partner that shares your passion for it. I think the typical artist approach fits me. I love the creative side of the business the most. But I’ve learned that the technical/marketing/accounting aspects of the business sometimes take a lot more time than the creative aspects.
Sheila: What’s your advice to jewelry artisans who might want to start their own business?
Shannon: Starting a new business is complex, challenging, and time-consuming. My advice is to fully research how to go about it before you go ahead with it. Investigate all your options for creating a web page, for sales venues such as e-Bay, Etsy, Amazon and other online venues – if what you have in mind is a web-based business like ours. Have a plan. Know what your limitations are regarding budget. Then do your best to stay true to your plan and budget.
Also, if you decide to work with someone else, make sure it’s someone you absolutely trust that shares your vision and is willing to do the work with you. (Like you, Mom…) J
It’s important to figure out where you can find support and resources, whether these are emotional, financial, or creative. Networking and building mentor groups and other helpers is a very important part of being successful. It’s good to remember that it is very, very difficult to do it alone – and to know that you don’t have to do it alone! There are lots of opportunities out there if you choose to investigate them, and use the help that’s available. Just a few examples are:
All the wonderful (often FREE) training resources on Etsy.com and on the web in general
Business incubators and small business development centers
Community college training programs in business, marketing, jewelry design and production, and entrepreneurship
Online FREE or low-cost trainings in more effective use of Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy, LinkedIn and more for social networking type marketing
And worth special mention is a resource we LOVE, in addition to Etsy.com programs, is the supportive community and training programs of the Biz/Life Creative Goddess Academy: http://tinyurl.com/mlufz7n
Sheila: What's your perspective on the future of the business?
Shannon: My long-range goals are more like dreams than goals, perhaps. The dream is that someday the business will be successful enough that I can pursue this field of work in a way that I love, and that will bring in enough income to make it my full-time job. For now, I’m able to provide things like technical expertise, creative inspiration, and stories/information for the blog.
Notes: This photo is of Shannon, the creator of most of the beautiful handcrafted jewelry items on our site. I've done a few, but they are not as gorgeous as hers!! :-)
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy ‘About The Bead Collection'.