Each week, we’re featuring one of my favorite small businesses so that you can learn about their journey and how you can support them during this time. This week we are featuring Virginie of Whimsy Jewelry!
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Virginie, I am a French jeweler who moved from Paris to New York City in 2010. I make colorful enamel jewelry and also fun fine jewelry with vibrant gemstones.
What’s the story behind your company?
Funny enough, I didn’t start my path as a creative maker, I was trained as physics and chemistry engineer in Paris. After a month long trip in Vancouver I came back jet lagged and was looking for a hobby to occupy my hands while I couldn’t sleep. I stumbled upon polymer clay and immediately got hooked. I turned my little colorful compositions into brooches or rings for my friends and started watching online tutorials, before DIY was even a thing, to improve upon my skills. I then started selling my work at artisan markets in Paris in 2005 while still in engineering school and I enrolled in adult courses for metalsmithing the next year. In 2010, after leaving France and my day job I decided to take the leap and start doing my business in NYC full time. I haven’t looked back since and don’t regret a bit!
What’s your favorite product or service that you offer and why?
I love my kinetic pieces because they marry my love for jewelry and my background as a problem solving engineer. I like to come up with technical solutions to make a piece of jewelry interactive and mobile so that is fun for the person who wears it and is also a conversation starter.
What’s your advice to others who are interested in starting a business?
I have many but if I had to pick one I would say to avoid following trends and comparing your brand with others in your industry. Bring something new to the table so that your business is truly irreplaceable. Every market is saturated but if you bring your own twist on things with honesty, people will come to you.
How has Covid-19 affected your day-to-day operations? How have you pivoted during this time?
It has tremendously affected my business as most of my revenue comes from doing in person events and they all have been canceled or for some postponed until further notice. I still have a very large inventory of ready to ship pieces so I am still able to sell and ship online orders. I need to force myself to send a newsletter to my subscribers now!
How can your audience help to support you during this time?
I understand jewelry is not a priority for people at this time but a free way to support small artisans like myself is to follow us on social media and interact with our content. I am at @whimsyjewelry on IG and you can also purchase a fun piece of jewelry to cheer you or a loved one up on www.whimsyjewelry.com at 15% off with promo code “LISH” 🙂
What’s next for you and your biz? Any new products or offerings on the horizon?
I am working on copyrighting my latest kinetic designs so I can’t wait to unveil them once that is done!