I'm back with another Women Who Inspire Us segment- one of my favorite features on La Petite Fashionista! I had the pleasure of connecting with Justine during one of my Social Media With Style Strategy Sessions. She launched her business, Gemma Jewels, in 2014 and has a seriously inspiring story. She's also one of the sweetest people ever, we are definitely kindred spirits! I'm so excited to have her share her entrepreneurial journey with you all!
Photo via: Blue Barn Photography
Justine is based in Raleigh and just launched her business, Gemma Jewels in 2014. She is one inspiring lady from her business stories to her kind heart! Be sure to check out Gemma Jewels if you're looking for sparkling baubles for your bridal party, special occasions, or bringing a little bit of glamour to every day!
LPF: What inspired you to start your business?
Justine: I have the entrepreneurial spirit in my blood. My grandfather owned and operated his own business for over 60 years! When I was little, I was convinced that I was going to buy an old building, located down the street from my house and convert it into a veterinary clinic. Obviously, that never happened, but my entrepreneurial dream never vanished. One of my favorite events is a wedding. I knew that whatever business I would own one day, it would be in the wedding industry. While researching for the right style of jewelry that I wanted each of my bridesmaids to wear for my wedding, I became very frustrated with the price points of various jewelry pieces. Hence, Gemma Jewels was born!
LPF: What makes Gemma Jewels unique?
Justine: First of all, there are many online stores that focus primarily on fashion jewelry. Many times a smaller section of wedding jewelry pieces are included in their collection. Gemma Jewels has that idea flipped. The focus is choosing jewelry that is chic, yet affordable for every bride, bridesmaid or wedding guest. The plus to a beautiful, reasonably priced accessory is that you can wear over and over again—to another event or even when you just need some extra sparkle with an everyday outfit.
Photo via: Robyn Van Dyke
Justine: I enjoy working with brides who are so enthusiastic about choosing the perfect piece(s) for their best friends in the bridal party. I am an online boutique, but it is wonderful to get together with brides within my community, have that one-on-one interaction and really get to know their love story and wedding details.
LPF: What's the best business advice you've ever received?
Justine: Be flexible, yet do not waver on your values. There will be good and bad days in business, but just keep reminding yourself why it is you started the business and what your mission is each day.
LPF: What is your favorite part of starting Gemma Jewels?
Justine: I have met (either in person or via internet) so many wonderful women. There is a strong community of women in business who are very willing to give advice and collaborate. I am a strong believer in networking and supporting others. I value and cherish those new friendships very, very much.
Photo via: Blue Barn Photography
LPF: What are your favorite resources / mentors for small business owners?
Justine: Nancy Ray (Nancy Ray Photography) was the photographer for my wedding and she posts on her blog tidbits and personal experiences about small business happenings. She also told me about the “Making Thing Happen” conference, founded by Lara Casey of Southern Weddings Magazine. What an amazing workshop—a very inspiring and challenging two days of soul searching and goal setting/ planning. I have met wonderful friends at that conference and it was just what I needed to finally build up the courage to set my dreams in motion and “make things happen”!
LPF: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to take the leap to pursue their passions?
Justine: Your dreams should never be compromised with any excuse or the words, I can't. Give yourself permission to take a risk and forge forward with the enthusiasm and eagerness that bubbles alongside the passion. Otherwise, you will always wonder if you could be a successful business person. One of my favorite quotes is “An expert was once a beginner”. Everyone is a newbie at some point in any game or path in life. Everything has a starting point. It is how you plan, organize and set goals to forge ahead to meet the end point and attain your dream!
A special thank you to Justine for all of her insights! See more from Gemma Jewels & help support small biz at their website, facebook, instagram & pinterest!