2013 August

Secrets of my Success: Jessica Rose of London Jewellery School

08 08 2013

Jessica Rose already has an EveryWoman business award notched up, winning the Under 25’s category in the 2012 awards, and now has a nomination for the British Young Business Awards.  Not bad for a business that started in a community hall in South London in 2009.  Jessica’s love for jewellery and her passion for teaching and inspiring others is the stellar combination that saw her create the London Jewellery School, now Europe’s largest jewellery training centre which teaches over 50 classes a month.  Jessica shares an inspiring account of her success…

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What is your title/position:

Jessica Rose, Founder and Director of the London Jewellery School

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  How did you get to where you are now?

There have been a few…

  • Deciding I didn’t want to work for anyone else. This happened about ten minutes into the first job I ever had working for someone else.
  • Falling in love with making jewellery. This happened about ten minutes into my first ever jewellery-making class!
  • Moving the London Jewellery School to Hatton Garden. We moved the school there about a year into the business and our customer-base doubled overnight due to the kudos of the area and the central location.
  • Making the decision to grow the business.  

Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.

World domination via the medium of jewellery-making has always been on the cards. The vision for the school, which is unashamedly bold, is ‘to bring jewellery-making to the world’ and we are working towards that one-day at a time.

When I first set up the school it was out of a need for high-quality and accessible jewellery classes in London that were simultaneously fun, creative, friendly and professional, and we were the first to provide this on a large scale.

As we move forward with the school and develop new classes and elements to the business, that vision and our ethos that ‘everyone can make jewellery’ are the cornerstones of who we are and they guide everything we do.

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality?  Where do you start?

I think this would have to be employing the right people. I have an amazing team of staff and professional jewellery tutors behind me.  They, along with the students of course, are what make the school. As much as my inner control freak would love to do everything myself , as a business owner with a growing business this isn’t possible. Finding the right people to build and develop your business is crucial to its sustainability and success.

LJS2How do you stay motivated and inspired?

For me motivation and inspiration come from different avenues. I am motivated out of the necessity to support myself, physically and financially.  Having been estranged from my parents since being a teenager, I have no safety net of financial or other support which makes me extremely driven to make something of myself and build a life where I can be secure and happy. I also employ quite a lot of people, around 5 staff and 30 freelancers, and always feel a strong responsibility and commitment to make things work for the people that have helped me get to where I am today.

My inspiration comes from the students at the school. It may sound cheesy but there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone start the day with little or no knowledge in jewellery-making and leave at the end with a handful of professional pieces they made themselves. It always takes me back to my first class and the sense of achievement and excitement I felt coming away.

It is also amazing to watch and support people in setting up their own jewellery businesses; this is my real passion I suppose. Seeing all hard work put in is paying off slowly but surely is a great feeling.

Other than that, I am also hugely inspired by other entrepreneurs, particularly of the female variety. From Anita Roddick to Beyoncé – anyone doing what they love and working to change their corner of the world for the better, is an inspiration to me.

[Tweet “”Anyone doing what they love and working to change their corner of the world for the better, is an inspiration to me” – @Jessica_RoseLJS (via @emmagwillim)”]

What has been your biggest lesson learned?

Don’t forget about VAT! I did, and the outcome was very stressful and almost bankrupted my business. It was a silly mistake, made out of naivety, but taught me that keeping a firm hold on your finances as a business owner is absolutely crucial.

Other than that I think the key to running a successful business that lasts is to keep your goals, ethos and vision in mind at every stage of the process. It is so easy to go off on a tangent, to get excited about new possibilities and not consider the consequences or outcomes – I am still working on taming my inner ‘child in a sweetshop’ style approach to new projects.

What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

I think my biggest fear is losing what makes us special as we grow. When you have a very small business that you are in complete control of, you make every decision and can direct everything the way you want it. As you grow it is more difficult to maintain this approach. Having a great staff and tutor team is what makes the growth of the London Jewellery School possible.

I am also pretty terrified that one day we will have eaten all the world’s biscuits – we have a giant luxury biscuit tin in the studio and get through enough biscuits to feed a city!

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

Well its no secret, but I think the overall reason why we are still going strong, despite major setbacks in the past, is my passion and dedication to what we are doing.

Its not just about jewellery for me: it is about showing everyone, from all walks of life, that it doesn’t matter if you were rubbish at art at school or have never been classed as creative, or if you ended up in a job that you hate or if you are unhappy with how your life has turned out, you can change it. You can get creative and we will help you. You can learn to be a professional jeweller, if you so wish, you can follow your passion and do what you love, you can set up your own business and you can make your life what you want it to be.

If I, someone with no family support, or money, or fancy training or skills, can build London Jewellery School I hope that shows others that there are no limits to what can be achieved, as long as you are willing to put in the time, elbow grease and take a leap of faith to make it happen.

[Tweet “”There are no limits to what can be achieved, as long as you are willing to put in time, elbow grease + take a leap of faith to make it happen” – @Jessica_RoseLJS (via @emmagwillim)”]

What 3 tips would you offer ambitious women reading this?

  1. When setting up a business or choosing a path in life make sure it is something you are dedicated to and truly care about.
  2. Be bold with your vision – don’t be afraid to be ambitious. High aims never hurt anyone.
  3. Get on and do it. If you wait for the timing to be perfect you will be waiting forever. At the end of the day action is what counts and makes things happen so get writing your to-do list and begin making your goals a reality.

[Tweet “”If you wait for the timing to be perfect you will be waiting forever” – @Jessica_RoseLJS (via @emmagwillim)”]


What book has most inspired you?

I am not very good a reading books to the end. I dip in and out but enjoyed the following

They are all very classic, entrepreneurial books and have my mind buzzing with ideas before the end.

If you want to connect with Jessica, discuss business ideas or anything jewellery-related, say hello via Twitter or through the website


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The Wealth Files: How to calculate your net worth (with cheat sheet)

08 07 2013

What’s your net worth?  If you don’t know the exact figure, do you know if it’s positive or negative?

It’s not the most thrilling topic, sorry, but I’m being a bore for your own good…  If you want to become wealthy you MUST take control of your finances.  

Step one: know your net worth.

Know the value of everything you own less the value of everything you owe.  Slowly growing your net worth is the key to creating a wealthy lifestyle.

net worthI’ve created a little cheat sheet for you to take a snapshot of your net worth, right here, right now.  But I’d also suggest checking in on your ‘money date night‘ regularly. Remember, what you put your focus on grows.  You can download it here

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Behind the Scenes: Emily Surash of Piccolo Bambino

08 06 2013

Multi-tasking mummy of two and founder of Piccolo Bambino, a contemporary children’s toys, gifts and clothing online shop, shares a peek behind the scenes of her business and her tips for managing entrepreneurship alongside her most-important role raising her own little bambinos.

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What’s your title/position:

I’m Emily Surash, founder and owner of Piccolo Bambino.

Tell me a bit about your business:

I worked as a nurse until having my second child. I found shift work just didn’t fit in with raising my two children.  This is when I decided to set up Piccolo Bambino.

I’d spent many years looking at the different products on the market for babies and toddlers and always thought it would be a great idea to bring all the different things I’d seen and love together into one web shop. I love things that are a little different, things that have a retro twist or a vintage feel.  I want the products on Piccolo Bambino to be different from those the leading retailers are selling.  I also knew that I wanted to support UK designers and other small companies, such a designer-makers on Handmade in Britain.  I did a lot of internet research which helped me get an idea of the different products available and contacted small UK designers to see if they would be interested in stocking some products on Piccolo Bambino.

I feel Piccolo Bambino offers gorgeous modern gifts and toys that are unique, contemporary and yet have a vintage feel.  We stock a wide range of mealtime dining sets, bibs and wooden spoons, cuddly toys and comfort blankets to keep your little ones happy at bedtime. When they want to play, we have an adorable range of soft and wooden toys. We also now stock handmade children’s clothes, which are just adorable.

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

Schedule, what’s a schedule? I work around my two children who are four and two. This means I grab whenever I can during the day and do most of my work after 7pm once they are in bed. You can usually find me still up at midnight, this seems to be when I have most of my ideas!!! I do however now have the luxury of two hours to myself on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Although two hours isn’t a long time it gives me chance to check my emails and respond without being interrupted. Everyday is different as during the day my mummy jobs come first.

How do you plan and organise your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?

I organise each day as it comes. I usually know at the beginning of the week what things I need to do so I write a list and tick each thing off as I’ve done it. I wouldn’t know where I was without my never-ending list! Working in the daytime is played by ear depending on what the children are doing.  I bought a laptop when I first set-up my business which has been a lifesaver. I’m able to always have it open so I can have quick looks throughout the day at my emails, Twitter and Facebook.  Social networks have been a fantastic tool for promoting Piccolo Bambino.

[Tweet “”One thing to really remember when you are working from home and looking after children is having you time” – @piccolobambin0 (via @emmagwillim)”]One thing to really remember when you are working from home and looking after children is having you time. I sometimes forget and it can get to the end of the week and I’ve not really seen my husband or sat away from my laptop in an evening. My husband is very supportive but time as a couple is very important.

PBWhat are your essential office tools?

I wouldn’t be able to run Piccolo Bambino without my laptop. I am able to move it anywhere in or out of the house and still be in control. When I first set the business up I thought I would be able to manage with a desktop computer – I was so wrong. My laptop really enables me to fit my business around my home life. I also couldn’t be without my bubble wrap, brown paper and parcel tape!

Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?

I would recommend Mumpreneur UK, a support network for mums in business that offers advice, resources, articles and events to parents who run their own business.  I know people who use this and say they do get a lot out of it.

Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style.  How does it motivate/focus your work?

I have a desk and a red chair. I love my chair but I don’t really sit at it that much! The only time I do sit at it is when I’m doing my bookkeeping. Mostly, I work at the dining room table or on the floor. I’ve never been any different – all the way through my education I worked like that!

What book has most inspired you?

When I read it’s to relax and unwind from a busy day so I try to pick light-hearted fiction. If I can change the word ‘book’ in the question to magazine then I can easily answer it! The magazines that have most inspired me whilst setting up Piccolo Bambino are all the ones baby related! I do love Juno and Junior. They keep me on trend and are very interesting to see what’s the ‘in’ baby thing of the moment.

What’s your typical working lunch?

I eat lunch with my bambinos, so once I have collected them from playgroup/nursery we go home for lunch together. I try to make different things every day of the week.  Today we have had BBQ leftovers which was yummy!

And how do you switch off once the working day is done?

To be honest, I struggle.  I have to say it’s something I’m not very good at. If I’ve been working in the evening I always try to switch off by 10pm and watch the news, but more often once its finished I pick my laptop up again!! It’s something I really need to work on.

What makes your life sparkle?

My family – need I say more


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Tools of the trade: 10 apps that make my life a little easier

08 05 2013

Here’s a round-up of the ten online tools that I l-o-v-e love:

Making connecting a little easier:

Hootsuite: When a new post is live on my blog but I’m ‘out of office’, Hootsuite is my answer.  To be more effective I plan ahead Twitter, Facebook and Google+ posts with a link to my latest blog post. That way, when I’m online I can use my time to get involved in conversations rather than sending out links to my website.

Tweriod: A new discovery, Tweriod can illustrate trends with your Twitter followers: whether they’re active on Twitter most during the week or weekends, and at what times of the day. 

Wisestamp: To make emails look a little more professional, Wisestamp links with your email platform to add a slick-looking signature to your emails including social media links.

Making information organising a little easier:

Google Drive: With my goal of having a flexible work-style, Google Drive is a dream for saving all my files in the cloud so I can access on-the-go.

Evernote: While Google Drive is my home for all my business files and folders, Evernote is where I pool all the non-business inspiration, ideas and articles I want to bookmark for future reference.  I’ve got everything saved here: from ideas for creative play with my little one and sewing tutorials, through to ideas for future goals and visions. 

Pinterest: I’m a visual person so I love being able to save gorgeous, inspirational images for my home and business on Pinterest.  Also, as Pinterest is now the third largest social network in the world, I’ve upped my game in making sure I have a business presence on there.

Making managing my time a little easier:

Google Calendar: All my appointments and reminders are saved into Google Calendar and synced with my calendars on my iMac and iPhone.  When it comes to planning my time I’m a pen and paper girl but, with Google Calendar (and it’s fab reminders) I’ve got a place to ‘pool’ the many things I need to remember.  And, to make it even more super-duper, the labels function on Google Calendar makes it much easier to see priorities for different areas – personal, business, home – at one glance.

ToDoIst: The home for all my big projects, ToDoist syncs with my Google Calendar to drop project reminders and tasks into the relevant week/month so (in an ideal world) nothing gets forgotten and my big plans stay on track.

Making planning my blog posts a little easier:

WordPress Editorial Calendar PlugIn: This is the single-most useful app I’ve discovered in the last 6 months.  Before, I was planning out my blog posts and Secrets of my Success interview series using a paper year-planner but, as things inevitably got moved around, it started to look messy.  Introducing the Editorial Calendar plug-in: it lets you create draft blog posts for the relevant days and it’s easy to move things around and re-schedule the date and time of posts with just a click.  And it’s neat!

Making keeping on top of financials a little easier:

Freshbooks: A really easy-to-use, online accounting website.  It’s easy to set up invoices and expenses, recurring payments and you can even track time which is ideal for service businesses.  Freshbooks also sends you a weekly update so you can see an overview of your business finances in a really, simple format.  I’m a fan.

They’re my ten favourites of the moment.  How about you?  What online tool makes your life easier?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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How to be a better planner

08 02 2013

The #GlitteratiSocial topic this week: Every creative’s favourite word, PLANNING

Are you a planner? Does it come naturally to you? What are your struggles? What tips can you share with other creative entrepreneurs?

The Twitter chat starts at 5pm…

See you there, Emma x

the skinny

Glitterati Social is a weekly get-together for creative female entrepreneurs.  Each Friday between 5-5.30pm (GMT), Emma Gwillim hosts a live Twitter chat focused on a nominated topic so that the Glitterati community can share their experiences, offer advice, build new relationships and encourage one another to design a life and business that sparkles. #GlitteratiSocial

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The Wealth Files: are you too nice to be wealthy?

08 01 2013

Step right up if you want to be a rich b***ch?

Nope, not a label I’d want either. I was brought up to be a good girl, to play nice, be kind. I might desire success and financial freedom but you can keep the label, thanks. What is it they say? “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”

But what if playing nice is holding you back? What if there’s a flip side to some of the typically feminine attributes? Do any of these ‘nice girl’ tendencies sound familiar?

  • You’re empathetic.  You care deeply about the thoughts and feelings of others.
    • BUT maybe you care too much about other people think and are forgetting what’s important to you…
  • You’re not afraid to be vulnerable. You’re aware of your limitations and you’re not afraid to ask for help.
    • BUT that’s distracting your from your unique talents, skills and brilliance and in asking for what you deserve…
  • You’re a nurturer. You feel fulfilled in caring for and serving people you love.
    • BUT you’re not nurturing your own dreams and aspirations…
  • You’re open-armed. You welcome and involve others, you’re a good listener.
    • BUT you forget to listen to your own intuition…
  • You’re generous. You’re liberal with your time, your money, your energy.
    • BUT you’re generous to a fault and forgetting your personal and financial goals in the process…

Stay nice. Be a nurturer, it’s who you are.  BUT, to realise your own brilliance, you need to be nice to yourself too (without the guilt).  Here’s the rules for the Nice Girl 2.0:

– Be clear on what’s important to you and what you’re striving for. And then commit to it.  Don’t be afraid to say no. You may have to cancel a few nights with the girls to create the time to focus on your business idea or to save money towards your dream project.

– Focus on what makes you unique and brilliant and what value that has to offer the world.  Then ask to be rewarded for it.  Ask for what you deserve.

– Make choices based on what’s important to you and will get you closer to your goals. You may enjoy being ‘the one to treat’ but make sure you’re paying yourself first.  Get your financial house in order before you next splash the cash…

Are you a nice girl? How do you feel playing nice has got in the way of living the life you want? What will you choose to do differently from NOW? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…

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