CHICBiz is back, and we have an amazing brand that we are super excited to share! Jewel Posse is a jewelry and accessories line that offers unique handmade items! We had the pleasure of working with Jewel Posse this month for our winter shoot and let us tell you; the owner Nikki is a joy! We can see why we love her brand so much. Her passion and enthusiasm is infectious and we are so honored to be able to work with a woman of such a great energy and spirit! So check out our interview with Nikki as we get to know her and her fabulous brand Jewel Posse!
1. First, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Nikki and I’m a young entrepreneur with passions for fashion and humanitarianism. I was raised in Baltimore and work here full-time in advertising. In 2015, I launched Jewel Posse, my own online jewelry and accessories brand for women with an effortlessly cool style.
2. What was your defining moment that made you go for it and start your own brand? Were you nervous about starting your own business or did it come naturally?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I went to grad school at Wake Forest University and earned my Master of Arts in Management … fast forward four years later and I wasn’t using my degree at all (but I was still paying off those school loans!). So I decided to start a jewelry and accessories brand as a side gig.
I was definitely nervous about starting my own business but I think it was something I was always meant to do. When I was in the planning stages for Jewel Posse, there was a lot going through my mind: will people like my pieces? Will the brand be successful? Will I be able to balance my regular 9-5 with this new venture?
3. As we all know starting a business takes a lot of time and dedication? What drives you to keep going?
Honestly, it’s fun! Running a jewelry business allows me to be creative and connect with other creative people, and it combines design, business, photography and marketing into one project. I am the CEO, the CFO, the CMO, the designer, the minion and everything in between, so I’m empowered by the fact that Jewel Posse’s success is 100% in my hands. So while it’s definitely hard work, it’s fun and empowering work, which makes it easy to keep going.
4. What was the inspiration behind the name?
Jewel Posse is for women who have something in common: an effortlessly cool style. It’s a club of sorts for women who value exclusivity in their look and pride themselves on their own personal style. That made me think of a “posse” and of course, I’m making jewelry so — Jewel Posse.
5. What makes Jewel Posse so unique?
Jewel Posse is a collection of cool, stand out pieces that I design and make myself. I’m either assembling interesting pieces that I find and love or I’m making entire pieces completely from scratch (designing, sawing, sanding, polishing, soldering ,etc.).
I also only make a select number of each piece. I think jewelry (and fashion in general) should be an expression of your own personal style — not a cookie cutter version of everyone else’s — so I only make a few of each product so that anyone who shops JP can rest assured that whatever they buy will be pretty unique and unseen.
6. What is your target audience and why?
Driven women, ages 18-35, who have an effortlessly cool style. The jewelry I make is fun, edgy and cool. I make a mix of statement pieces and complementary pieces that aren’t for the fashionably lighthearted.
7. Tell us about the campaign you are doing this month and why you started it.
February is National Cancer Prevention Month and as a 3x cancer survivor (beating cancer most recently last year), I thought it was important to do something to honor the month.
Jewelry making and cancer have always been linked for me. I’ve been making jewelry since I was 9 years old. It started as a hobby that my mom got me involved with during my second battle with cancer as a way to keep my mind off of the disease. I have stuck with it over the last 17 years and actually started Jewel Posse in the midst of dealing with my most recent diagnosis.
Now that I am once again cancer-free, I’ve decided that a portion of all of my proceeds this month will go to a cancer support organization in Baltimore that helped me through my diagnosis last year. So anyone who buys anything from jewelposse.com in February will be supporting other young adults battling cancer.
8. Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
In five years, Jewel Posse will be a household name amongst young, driven women with an edgy style. I also plan for Jewel Posse to develop a voice to address and tackle major issues relevant to young women — everything from cancer to racial and gender inequality and everything in between.
9. What advice would you give to women looking to start their own business?
Fill a void. Be prepared to invest. Don’t half ass it.
Fill a void: It’s important to make a product or service that people want or need — something that’s different. Jewelry is a commodity. Everyone and their mother is selling jewelry but not everyone is selling limited edition, custom handmade jewelry at an affordable cost. Figure out what product or service you want to offer and then decide how you can make it more valuable than every other business out there selling the same thing.
Be prepared to invest: While it is possible to build a business with a limited budget, if you’re starting off on your own without investors (like myself) be prepared to put your own money into making it a success. Unpaid public relations and general word of mouth are incredibly valuable, free ways to get the word out about your business — but they shouldn’t work alone. Be prepared to strategically invest in advertising, social media promos, blogger relations, etc. to get your name out there on a large scale to your target audience.
Don’t half ass it: Just creating a company isn’t enough these days. You have to be willing to invest the time, money and effort into creating a high quality brand that presents itself well, looks professional and makes people want to shop with you. If you have a rushed launch that you’re ill-prepared to handle, your company will appear unestablished and unprofessional — and you may even discourage people from wanting to spend their money with you. Take the time and energy to launch your business the right way the first time — with a concept, a budget and a business plan. It will be worth it in the long run
- Keep up with Jewel Posse by following their below social networks:
- IG: @jewel.posse
- Snapchat: jewelposse