Career Spotlight: Angela Parker Kennedy // Olive Yew

Career Spotlight: Olive Yew
When it comes to jewelry I like pieces that are simple and beautiful. Pieces that are timeless. Jewelry that I can wear anywhere at any time. Olive Yew creates pieces that are just what I am looking for. Their jewelry is perfect for any occasion and perfect for any style. Designer and Founder of Olive Yew, Angela Parker Kennedy left her previous job to realize her dream of making jewelry. We are so lucky that she took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us and to share some advice.

What is your background?

My bachelors degree is in fine art. I went on to work in graphic design for around 15 years working in mostly print advertising. Late in my career I tried web design, SEO and SEM.

What is the story behind the concept of Olive Yew?

My last "job" moved into a contract position, allowing me to work from home, and less hours. I decided to take a metal smithing class with my new spare time and loved it. So I applied all that I knew about advertising to my new company and luckily, it worked.

When did you know it was time to launch your business and what steps did you take?

I didn't so much know it was time to launch my own business, I just knew I couldn't continue working for someone else. I had always admired business owners and knew several - my husband being one. It looked like the least risky time to begin a business, so I took the jump.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned since launching your business?

Never hire friends and never loan money. Those are things I heard all of the time, but they are SO very true. Be very careful who you hire and just how much you share. I have been fortunate in hiring some great people. It's heartbreaking when that's not the case - and unfortunately I've experienced that as well. Document everything and make sure you have a good lawyer and accountants. As you grow, they will be necessary and help guide you in the right direction.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

Our first two years we grew very quickly. I worked many 18 hour days trying to fill orders alone. My biggest obstacle was finding (and keeping) a good team around me.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day. Showing up late to work with my dog is as typical as it gets!

What is the best part of your job?

Little things that aren't so little. I love that I can make my own schedule and bring my dog to work! But let's be real - I also get to choose who I work with, where I work and what I work on. I love it!

And to keep it real, what is the worst?

You're never really "off". Even on vacation I sneak peeks at analytics and sales. Also, it's never a "steady" paycheck so it's sometimes hard to plan for large things like buying a new house. But I'm not complaining.

Looking back is there anything you wish you had done differently?

Speaking of that team, I think I wish I had taken much more time in hiring good employees. In the heat of the moment with orders rushing in sometimes pushes small business owners to hire too quickly out of desperation. Poor employees can sap the energy of existing good employees and I learned the very hard way that one bad apple can quickly begin to spoil to bunch. If you think you need to fire someone, act quickly. Don't think they will change their work ethic or overall disposition - they won't.

What is a goal you have for your business that you hope to accomplish in the next year or two?

We're working hard on becoming more organized with an annual marketing PLAN. So that's a big goal right now.

Being a busy business owner how do you stay organized?

We use smartsheet to help us in planning (budgeting, marketing calendars, etc). It's been very helpful. I also use my iPhone for everything from scheduling appointments to setting my alarm.

What has been one surreal moment you've experienced since launching Olive Yew?

It was early on when I was contacted about having a pair of earrings featured in Self magazine. It was also surreal the first night I left Olive Yew after moving the business out of my home. I felt like I was leaving my baby for the first time and was certain the place would burn down or get robbed overnight! I've chilled down a little since then (and a good alarm system).

What is your best piece of advice for others who hope to someday be a business owner?

Know that everything changes quickly and things don't always go according to plan. Look for opportunities in those changes. Things usually turn out for the best and I learned the most from some of the hardest moments. Also, you don't have to spend a lot on advertising. It's often better to learn more instead of spend more.

You can learn more about Olive Yew by checking out their:

Blog - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Pinterest

images provide by: Olive Yew


  1. This was such an interesting read! I love simple jewellery pieces like this, so thank you for introducing them to me. Love the name 'Olive Yew' too! :)

    Style Sunrise☀


  2. such lovely pieces--love the interview too. just took a peek and there are so many things i want to get.

  3. Those pieces are so amazing! And what a cute doggie!


  4. So pretty pieces! Love simple jewelry, and these looks so delicate!
    Very interesting post! :)

  5. Love the necklaces!
    Check out my Giveaway <3:

  6. Her pieces are gorgeous- great feature!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  7. Great questions she does an amazing job with the pieces.

  8. Love the pieces, so pretty! And I really cannot imagine staying organized while being a business owner, it must be tough!

  9. Fantastic post, thanks for sharing!! <3

    I currently have a giveaway on my blog, you could win a pair of sunglasses - let me know your thoughts:

    * Electric Sunrise - Fashion and Lifestyle Blog *


  10. Beautiful jewelry and awesome interview!

  11. Awww, thank you so much for the feature and to all of you sweet commenters! This was so much fun and such a lovely article. XOXO

  12. Great interview and I love when someone takes a leap of faith and follows their dreams. But yes running your own company is a lot of work and not for the faint of heart. There is much to be responsible for and over see.

    Allie of ALLIENYC

  13. I love this jewelry! Have to look up their website asap! great post !!

  14. The Olive Yew pieces are so stunning. Amazing jewelry. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  15. The Olive Yew pieces are so stunning. Amazing jewelry. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  16. What a great interview! Olive Yew has some stunning pieces, and I love Angela's work ethics. Your decision to view both sides of the coin -- the good and the not-so-good -- for a business launch is commendable, and you've written up such a thorough set of questions! Well done, and here's to wishing Angela much luck for the future of Olive Yew!

    May | THE MAYDEN | Bloglovin'

    P.S Didn't even realise Olive Yew is a pun until I read it out loud!

  17. Interesting to read hun!


  18. This was really great, her pieces are wonderful x

  19. This is such an great post. As an inspiring business owner, I'm definitely taking her advices to heart. Thank you for sharing this!

  20. How inspiring! I love reading about other women and the journey's they have taken to land where they are right now.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful interview! I've been thinking about owning my business as well so it's great to know the ups and downs of it all!


  22. This was such a fascinating read! I cherish straightforward adornments pieces like this, so thank you for acquainting them with me. Love the name 'solid rose gold' as well! :)


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