Welcome back to Give Me The Details! I’m thrilled to be hanging out with you on this glorious holiday weekend! Have you been searching the stores and can’t find what you’re looking for? Has the thought ever occurred to you to just make it yourself? I personally can’t say that thought has occurred to me very often (my craftiness has limits) but today’s mom had the confidence to believe she could try to make the piece of jewelry she couldn’t find. That one idea that she could create what she was looking for started the path to Erika Williner Designs. The business is named after the women behind it-my spotlight MomBoss, Erika Williner.
Erika is a wife, mom of a beautiful daughter and businesswoman. She creates one of a kind pieces of jewelry that come from her imagination or even yours as her client. One thing I love about Erika is how easily she shrugs off the master juggler she is. During the day she is mom first, getting her daughter off to school. She then puts on her next hat-office manager, director of marketing and general runner of all things home and business. From the time school finishes for the day until everyone else goes to bed is family time. However, while the rest of the family sleeps she doesn’t. She instead stays awake and creates. She says she’s a night owl by nature and more creative at night. I just can’t imagine doing all that she does and then continuing long after my family was asleep!
Erika invited me to visit her at her studio to talk over coffee (which I drank out of a Erika Williner Designs cup 😀) and to have a look at her beautiful jewelry in person. She was warm, friendly and spoke passionately about her work-what once was a hobby that has now turned into her business. Looking around her studio surrounded by beautiful finished pieces of gorgeous jewelry and supplies for creating even more pieces from her imagination I was struck by her talents. We spoke about motherhood, business and the busy lives we are both leading as two sweet dogs slept on the floor at our feet. This is the definition of being a MomBoss my friends-in your home, combining work and mom life but only until school is out. We were then back to our most important roles-moms!
So without further ado please join me as I talk to Erika about her work, her day to day life and what being a MomBoss means to her:
Tell me about yourself and your family:
“I am originally from Argentina. I moved to Tampa in 2005 to finish my business degree. In the meantime, I met the man of my dreams and we have created the most wonderful family. We have one daughter, Tori. She is 6 and I can’t believe she is in first grade this year! Time is flying by! Thankfully this job is allowing me to watch her grow without missing a second! I feel very fortunate of that.
I describe myself as the hustling MomBoss that finds the way to balance the equation of family/work/life factors. I guess when my daughter gets a little older I feel I will be able to give myself a little more to my “passion job”. But for now, my main job will always be being a mom..and also a MomBoss.”
What has surprised you about motherhood?
“I’m surprised every day! I have found more of my patience in motherhood not just with my daughter but with others as well. I have learned from her innocence, it’s like going back to basics. Through my daughter’s eyes life is simple and a constant reminder to find that simple joy in the everyday!
I find that I challenge myself in wanting to always make my daughter proud of me. I want to amaze her the way I was amazed by my own mother. I was raised by an incredible mom who knew when to stand back and let me grow on my own and when to draw the line. She also knew when to step in and could see when I needed that extra guidance. My mom had a brilliant career but decided at one point ( the teen years) that I needed her around. She became a stay at home mom to available for me and to watch over me too. My mom is an amazing woman.”
How long have you had this business?
“My business Erika Williner Design Co. became legit in October 2011, but I have been creating jewelry since 2002 as a hobby. I couldn’t find a piece of jewelry I wanted to wear with a certain outfit. I said to myself, why don’t I make it? I knew exactly what I wanted, so I did it! It was a successful project. Then one of my friends asked me to make some jewelry for one of her friends and she wanted to pay me. After that I started selling my creations.”
Tell me a little about your business:
“I am the sole member of my business, Erika Williner Designs. I design, make and sell my pieces at special events, online via my website and also via social media. You can also find my pieces at different boutiques in South Tampa, Dunedin, Saint Pete and in Argentina (the country where I was born).
I choose the gemstones, components and different mediums to design one-of-a-kind pieces. You can find bold pieces as well as dainty ones. I usually work during the night (when my family sleeps and when the house is quiet). During the day, in addition to running our household, I do administrative and marketing type work.”
Why is this the right business for you?
“Mainly because I feel a passion for jewelry and for creating something unique. Secondly, because there’s no bigger reward and then seeing a woman wearing my designs and making her feel sexy, secure and confident.
The flexibility that it offers also makes it ideal since I can juggle the time between my family and side work very well.
Lastly, I love meeting new people and helping them get what they are looking for. I embrace each custom order as the best challenge to make the customer more than happy with the results. Making the special piece for my customers makes me feel extremely special and honored that they choose me for it!”
So you have any advice for a fellow mom getting started in a new business?
“My only advice for a mom starting a new business is to do your homework ahead of time. That will set you up for success. You will be able to enjoy the balance of family and work and will likely have less bumps along the way. One more thing if you can, if it is among your possibilities, try to choose a job/activity you are passionate about. It will make your days much more happy!”
What are some benefits of what you do?
“This job gives me flexibility to be the mother I want to be. I can take the job with me, last night my daughter had a lesson and I brought along my supplies and worked on a piece while I waited for her. I stretch my creativity with each piece I make wherever I make it.”
What challenges have you faced in your business?
“Time management is always a challenge. Life is hectic and there never seem enough time for everything I want to do in a day. I am constantly juggling it all-the home responsibilities and the responsibilities of the business. I wear a lot of hats-all the hats a mom does. What I do has an effect on my schedule, my family and myself personally-I just do my best to fit it all in successfully. My family comes first and they are my priority.”
What are your goals as you continue with this business?
“My goals are ever changing, I’m still finding the path. I want to continue to create and keep the joy of creating. I’m currently at a crossroads of how far I will go. I haven’t advertised yet, my business has all been word of mouth so far. I need to think through the next steps of diversifying -the marketing, website updates, etc.”
What inspires you when you’re creating pieces?
“I go into the studio and look at something, it’s just a moment. It’s THAT moment and then the piece just flows from there. The moment can’t be set up, trust me I’ve tried to figure out how to set it up! I don’t know how, it just happens. My eye could catch a bead or a photo or even a tool and the idea just comes to me.”
Can you share something about the behind the scenes of your business that others wouldn’t guess?
“I am an octopus-that’s what I call myself because I’m everywhere! I am office manager, creator, salesperson. I also have a corner of my studio for my daughter to join me while I work sometimes. I have had her with me in my studio since she was small and she has been taught over the years to be respectful and careful. The beads concerned me as a choking hazard when she was really small so I taught her not touch anything without asking as well. My daughter now has her own beads and she makes jewelry for HER friends in the studio. We work together in the space.”
If you were offered help in any aspect of your life what would it be?
“It would be help with the business! The administrative part of it. The parts of it that are non-creating management parts. The paperwork of it all.”
Which of your pieces is your favorite to make?
“I really enjoy making the special request pieces. The one-of-a-kind pieces that my customers come to see me about. They come in with their vision and we make it a reality. I recently had a customer come to me to create a piece using a military dog tag that belonged to her father who had recently passed away. She entrusted me with the dog tag and 1 of the 10 casings from the 10 gun salute done at his service. That was so special for me to create and so special for her to have as a keepsake. These types of pieces give me the most satisfaction.”
Best memory of a successful moment doing what you do:
“This is my third year participating in Haute Accessories Week, which is like New York Fashion Week but for accessories. This is a runway show that showcases emerging and independent accessory designers. This year not only did I create a new collection of jewelry and present it but I also dressed up the models. I also designed and made long tulle tulle skirts for the models to wear down the runway to accompany my jewelry. I didn’t get much sleep during the time I was getting prepared for this show but it was an amazing opportunity. This year, I was also invited to participate in the St. Pete Art & Fashion Week. The invitation is a great honor, there are renowned designers that also participate in this event and I was delighted to join them.”
What business advice or hopes do you have for your daughter someday?
“I would love for her to do what she loves. As parents it is important to us for Tori to see the options that are out there. We want to show her the things that are available and have her try and see many new things. Once she’s tried a lot of different experiences, we want her to be able to decide on her own what passion she wants to follow in life.”
I take something special with me from each conversation I have with the ladies in this series. Each woman passes on some wise words-advice, tips, encouragement that I take along with me on my own journey. I believe there much to learn from each other in our community of women!
I want to say a big thank you to Erika for sharing some of her wisdom with me (and for your hospitality)! If you’d like to see more of Erika’s incredible pieces you can go to her website https://www.erikawillinerdesigns.com/ or find her on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/erikawillinerdesigns/. She is also on Instagram @erikawillinerdesigns #ewd.
GREAT NEWS- Erika is offering a special Labor Day sale to all of the readers of this article!! The sale runs from today August 31st through midnight on Monday, September 3rd. Use the code MomBoss25 to received 25% off your online order on her website.
I’m so glad to have had you join me today! I look forward to seeing you next week, I can’t wait to introduce you to the next amazing lady in this series! I wish you all a wonderful Labor Day! x Janet