October 6, 2011
Education: BAH in Communications from Queen’s University
Professional Background: For over 10 years, I worked in television as a Director of Communications overseeing the PR launch of Canadian specialty channels in Canada like – Life Network, HGTV, Food Network, National Geographic, BBC Canada, BBC Kids and more. In 2005, I turned jewelry design as a more personal means of expression.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: Dog trainer.
What are you? Entrepreneur with a not-so-well trained dog. I am the owner + designer at www.suetables.com, an online jewelry business with eight reps who hand stamp jewelry and run their own businesses. Suetables is where customization meets trend at a reasonable price.
Brief Summary of your Start Up: Before I started Suetables (www.suetables.com), I hunted for vintage silver spoons. When friends had babies, I learned, painstakingly to hand stamp these uneven surfaces with steel-like nails with letter/name impressions. They made personal and unique gifts. Learning this art, inspired me to hand stamp jewelry. I started with one “letter necklace” with my sister’s kids initials on it. My sister loved it and everyone wanted one. People kept asking me, “what else do you have?”
After selling hundreds of only ONE necklace, I started a line of hand-stamped personalized sterling silver jewelry long before anyone else was doing it. I hope to have a rep/”mompreneur” in every North American city one day.
Company Website? www.suetables.com
What inspired you? After my second child, I decided to stay home. But, I craved creativity, something to call my own and a job that provided flexibility. I was mad with desire to have something MORE. I stayed up at night surfing for ideas. I feel so blessed that, in the end, my hobby turned into a business. Sometimes the answer in life is right in front of you. It took my friends to show me.
How long have you been in business? Almost six years.
How did you fund it? Personal line of credit. I never bought more inventory that I could afford.
Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? I respect and bounce ideas off many business people – including my clients. I talk to fellow entrepreneurs. Sometimes, I email an entrepreneur out of the blue and ask them for coffee. Networking really helps inspire ideas.
Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups? Yes, I have been working with Mogul Mom, Heather Allard with an online networking group of entrepreneurs. Heather is truly an inspiration. http://www.themogulmom.com/heather-allard/
Current Business Challenge? Building online sales and finding a like-minded US reps to help me build the business.
What are you doing about it? I am hiring someone to help me with SEO (search engine optimization) and re-building my web site so it is easier to order, navigate and has a search-engine friendly template.
I am also going to go hand stamp sterling silver jewelry at gift and trunk shows in the US – grass routes style. That is how I built my business in Canada. That is how I found my eight Canadian reps. Like an Avon rep, Suetables’ reps run their own companies, buy silver upfront and work with clients to create the perfect mix of charms that reflect what the client loves. Our reps don’t just sell an item to someone – they learn to hand stamp and they help create it. It is the perfect business for a mom that craves something MORE but also wants flexibility.
Favorite motivational quote: “Life is like email. Delete the spam; act on the important messages; laugh at the funny stuff, then pass the best parts on to your friends.”
Family? is everything. I am a daughter, sister, girlfriend and mother to two wonderful wiggly boys.
If so, how do you balance family and business? I don’t think you ever arrive at the perfect “balanced” place. It is a constant journey of creating checks and balances.
Favorite book? A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
What do you do to relax? I walk the dog in the ravine, go to Pilates, art galleries, read magazines or watch movies. And I take a bath every day.
What do you want to change most about your world? Mother Teresa said, “the problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.” I’d like to teach my boys that we need wider circles. In the short term, if I can teach them to let my boyfriend’s daughter and son into their hearts, then I can teach them, in the long run, to find room to expand their heart and thinking to accept and have empathy for all kinds of groups. You don’t have to work for United Nations to do the noble work of drawing bigger and wider circles.
What are you most proud of? I’m proud that I am making a living doing what I love with a product that celebrates life and loved ones. I am proud that I am creating those opportunities for other moms through my rep growth model. I am proud that am am re-building my life. I am proud of my two boys. They have taught me how to keep on loving even when I am tired, scared, frustrated or angry. Did I say tired?
What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses? When you start a business, you are often doing everything yourself and you work alone. Find someone who believes in you and your product and is willing to take the time to strategize and discuss ideas with you. My boyfriend has been an incredible inspiration, daily support and travel companion on my designing trips to various corners of the world.
Also, to build a business, you have to take risks. You WILL make mistakes and that is OK.
Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)?cMy Apple computer and Website Magazine (a great resource for online businesses!)
If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use? Crystals. They are one of earth’s most common minerals but they are so rich in many ways. They are beautiful and they have healing powers. For holiday 2011, my boyfriend and I are traveling to Czech to add crystals to my jewelry line.