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.
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images provide by: Olive Yew