I came up with the concept five years ago when I was working part time at jewellery boutiques and luxury department stores in London alongside studying for my degree. I realised that there wasn’t really a single destination for customers to connect with independent jewellery designers and makers and thought that creating something like this would be an amazing idea.
I’m currently in my final year of accountancy training at a Big Four firm, based in their Operational Restructuring team and focusing on working capital management and process improvements. My background is in the arts and humanities (I studied Liberal Arts at university) and so after university I knew it was important to train in finance—both for my own professional development and also if I ever chose to pursue entrepreneurship. At the time, Pearls & Pomegranates was a tiny nugget of an idea that I put to the side to enter the world of finance and train as an accountant.
It was during COVID lockdown that I returned to it. With no socialising, I found I had a lot of free time and the idea for Pearls & Pomegranates kept niggling at the back of my mind. So, I reached out to independent jewellers to ask them about their challenges and what they’d want from a sales platform. I decided to build something that would work for them and so Pearls & Pomegranates became more than just a sales platform. I provide holistic services to independent jewellers focusing on PR, data analytics, business strategy, and access to market-leading third-party services.
Until my third year of university I actually wanted to go into commercial law. However, after a series of graduate events, I realised that it wasn’t for me. I then partook in a three-day scheme with my current firm, which I applied to on a whim, and really loved it—so no, I wouldn’t say I planned this. Similarly with Pearls & Pomegranates, even though I had the idea for a long time, it wasn’t something that I really planned. Rather, I had some time and still had the idea, and so decided to see where it might take me. I’m a believer in taking every opportunity that comes your way, trying your best, and seeing what happens.
Imposter syndrome is definitely a big challenge for me. I’m always questioning my ideas, my plans, and what I’m doing. When I feel like this I write down ‘facts’ that contradict the thinking. For example, that I have an amazing collective of jewellers on Pearls & Pomegranates who believe in the idea, and that I’m being invited to contribute to features just like this one!
Another challenge is access to finance. I have so many ideas for Pearls & Pomegranates that I have to put on hold because I don’t have the funds available to pursue them. A goal of mine for the end of 2022 to beginning of 2023 is to raise capital.
Confirming my first jeweller was definitely my biggest achievement to date. Cold reach outs can be scary, and I’ve had a lot of rejections. Many jewellers ignored me and it’s difficult to encourage people to try something completely new. Maalo was the first jeweller who promised to sign on and when I voiced my anxieties to her that other jewellers have been ignoring me and I was scared I’d launch with only one jeweller, she said not to worry and that this time next year they’d be the ones reaching out to me. She hasn’t been wrong… I’ve already been contacted by people who initially weren’t interested!
I think that not letting rejection get you down is the key to success. It’s easy to feel disheartened when you hear ‘no’ or are ignored, but all we need are a few yeses to launch an idea and guarantee success.
Transparent conversation and an end to narratives that pit women against each other will accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality. Women are constantly being compared to one another and that puts undue pressure on us professionally and emotionally. It also means that women often are not encouraged to support each other, which reinforces competition and means that we’re not sharing skills and knowledge that can help each other succeed.
Networks like We Are The City and focus groups in the workplace allow us to hear other women’s experiences and objectives and give us space to raise each other up to encourage success.
Find comfort in making mistakes. You’re not going to get everything right the first time you do it, but that’s ok. You would never know it wasn’t going to work if you didn’t try. Don’t see a mistake as the action of doing something wrong, but rather a moment of learning. For example, I spent a lot of time, money, and energy trying to build my website on Wordpress because I’d read somewhere online that Wordpress is the best place to build a website. I don’t know how to code and I couldn’t afford to pay for someone to make it for me, so I just tried to build it myself. That prototype website looked horrific. I then made the decision to just use Shopify, a couple of plug-ins, and a theme, and I’m so glad I did. However, I don’t see that three-month attempt at Wordpress as a waste–I learnt some coding, which has helped me understand the Shopify back-end better, and I also developed an idea of what I wanted the website to look like.
My focus will be on Pearls & Pomegranates and also progressing in my job. My challenge going forward will be to balance these two elements of my life that I so enjoy but both require a lot of energy and focus from me. I would like to continue growing the number of jewellers I have on Pearls & Pomegranates, introducing customers to the concept, and educating the public on what it means to buy jewellery sustainably.