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The New Queen of Jewellery: An Interview With Alyssa Smith

According to an article on The Guardian, Alyssa Smith went from launching her own hand-made jewellery company one year to buying her own home the next. She leveraged the power of the Internet by creating a website and sharing her products on social media. From there, celebrities noticed her amazing talent and started wearing her jewellery. The rest is history!

Alyssa has won upwards of 14 awards since incorporating her company, including from Lloyds TSB, Smarta, Specsavers and SBS Theo Paphitis. She has won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award‘ for under 30’s and the ‘Real Life Entrepreneur Award” of the year. She was also voted one of the top 100 Jewellers in the UK which is a big achievement given how many jewellers were submitted throughout the country. Alyssa used to enter business awards, now she judges and presents them.

Her successes do not end there; TV shows and magazines regularly endorse her jewellery too. Furthermore, Alyssa has teamed up with a Formula 1 presenter to create the ‘Smith & Perry’ motor-sports jewellery line. Alyssa is the ‘National Ambassador‘ for the ‘Federation of Small Businessesand included in our list of The 100 Most Influential British Entrepreneurs.

A recent accomplishment by Alyssa involves taking part in a new TV series called The Money Pit. An article on The Telegraph notes:

Dave’s new Money Pit show is ‘a Jean-Claude Van Damme film meets Gladiator’

However, life wasn’t always rosy for Alyssa Smith. She’s been making jewellery since the age of five and has journeyed a great deal on the road to entrepreneurial success. I caught up with her over several weeks and asked her questions that have never been asked before, here’s what she had to say…

What do you think you have contributed to the jewellery industry?

“To be honest, it’s more of a two-way street. With just £500 to start my business and a bedroom floor for an office, I have created a gorgeous and sparkly empire which proves that if you want to, you CAN stick to your principles – creating a great British Brand, which also manufactures everything in the UK too!

Is location important for a products based business?

“My office location isn’t really that important, but the fact that I commit to having everything made in the UK is fundamental to my business – so I guess in that sense, location is very important. Being primarily an internet based business, I am able to sell worldwide at the simple click of a button, which I still find amazing!

What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

“To me, being an entrepreneur means that I can follow my dreams and have the freedom to create anything that my mind comes up with! I can also change my mind pretty quick if I don’t like something, or come up with a new masterpiece over night! I get terribly impatient so being able to make what my mind desires at the click of a finger (OK… a little while at the jewellers bench) is an incredible feeling! Being a recognised entrepreneur is even better, because people actually look up to me and find me inspiring, which means the world to me! If I can help inspire more people to live the life they always dreamed, then I think that’s a good job done indeed!

What’s your top 3 success tips for people in business?

“Top 3…. You can’t limit someone who can talk for England! But here goes –

1. Just do it!

No….I didn’t steal that from ‘Nike’, I genuinely mean it! Stop thinking about it, stop day dreaming and building imaginary brick walls as to why you CAN’T do it, and just do it! What’s the worst that can happen!? You fail. Someone says NO. So what!? Get up and try again. But different.

2. Nurture your Seed….

So you plant your seed (your business idea…you launch a business – bravo) but then you need to water your seed, and nurture it, and help it grow into a beautiful little plant. And from that little plant, you could potentially even grow a little tree – and then a mighty oak! But ONLY if you water your seed and look after it well!

3. Move with the times.

This really doesn’t warrant any more detail… Just keep ahead.

Who would you say is an influential entrepreneur to you?

“The obvious choices are obviously people like Richard Branson and Theo Paphitis, but for me, it’s people like Will King and Brad Burton – who actively support young people, and share their knowledge with others. This is really inspirational and is on much more of a communicative level that people just starting out can relate to as well.

What are some of your top achievements?

“I’m a really lucky girl – I’ve won endless business awards, filmed a TV series, managed to get myself a whole bunch of amazing groupies, have celebs who love my jewellery and have the most loyal and lovely customers I could ever have asked for. But on another level, I am also very proud of the mentoring I do at a college in my area to business and marketing students, and I was lucky enough to be named as a national ambassador for the Federation of Small Businesses too… But I would say that one of my most proudest achievements is that I have now taken on my first apprentice. This has made a huge difference to my business and I am absolutely loving every minute. It’s like planting ad nurturing a new seed all over again!

Who wears your jewellery?

“Haha! Probably easier to say who doesn’t 😉 celebs, non celebs, me, my chihuahua, women, men, children, my groupies…. Oh! Even people like Theo Paphitis, Ed Milliband and the Chancellor George Osborne!

When is the best time to wear jewellery?

“All the time. There is never a time when jewellery isn’t required. Obviously unless you’re having something like an MRI scan… then of course you cannot wear jewellery. But in my opinion, there is never a certain time you should wear jewellery. I do believe that we should wear different pieces of jewellery with different outfits though!!!

If you could put a percentage on the satisfaction in your life from 0% to 100%, what would it be and why?

“I think many people will agree with me when I say that being an entrepreneur means that you are never fully satisfied, when perhaps someone else might be perfectly happy with the same set of circumstances, an entrepreneur is always seeking that something else. It’s called drive, and it makes us who we are. Sometimes you can feel zero percent satisfied, and other times (maybe even 10 minutes later) you can feel two million percent satisfied! It’s a constant emotional roller-coaster but I wouldn’t have my life any other way. Maybe ask me this question again when I’ve grown up (i.e. never!) 😉

How have you gone about meeting so many notable people? And what would you recommend to our readers for good networking?

“Networking! Always an interesting subject! You know what? Networking isn’t just about going to meetings, swapping business cards and elevator pitches! I don’t do any of that! I don’t even have a business card! I use every single minute I can, and every single opportunity I have to network.

Being so involved with the federation of small businesses, I get to network on another level – I even high-fived George Osborne which resulted in getting him into my cufflinks a few months later! I awkwardly missed an air kiss with Ed Milliband, but he now owns a lovely tie slide made by myself too! I’ve paraded my chihuahua around the houses of parliament, and all sorts! But what I’m really trying to say here, is there is no formula to successful networking- you really just need to do what works for you, and what puts you in front of as many people as possible in a positive way. You just need to be ready at every moment of every day to seize the opportunity! So next time you’re in Starbucks in the queue, or being served by someone in Tesco’s, talk to them! I now have SO many customers who work in my local Tesco’s and Starbucks – why!? Because I said hello!

And now I’m saying goodbye! Have a lovely day and don’t forget to sparkle! x

If you enjoyed this interview with Alyssa Smith, retweet and comment please.

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