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…
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.
How 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?
- When setting up a business or choosing a path in life make sure it is something you are dedicated to and truly care about.
- Be bold with your vision – don’t be afraid to be ambitious. High aims never hurt anyone.
- 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
- The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries
- Business Model Generation by Alexander Ostwewalder
- The E-myth by Michael E. Gerber
They are all very classic, entrepreneurial books and have my mind buzzing with ideas before the end.