Good morning my friends! It’s Monday and that means several things for this mama. First, that caffeine is a must, my eyes will not open until I hear the coffeemaker make it’s little chime saying the magic elixir is ready! Second, Monday means that once I’ve gotten the 1001 mom things done (while drinking the above mentioned now only slightly warm coffee) to get the kiddos safely delivered for school, I’m going to return home excited to share the morning with you, my fellow moms. Lastly, a Monday means we’re going to start off our week together with an inspiring mom’s story, reheated coffee in hand.
Before I tell you about this lovely lady I want to get this disclaimer out of the way…I love a Brit! I married one and in doing so I also gained a British family (included my two 1/2 British children), British friends, an adopted second home country of England and a general love for all things British. The U.K. is now a part of who I am and a piece of my heart resides there permanently. I pretty much love all things that have any connection to a Union Jack…now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…I want to share another fabulous Brit with you.
Vanessa Wooding is a lovely English woman, true! If she wasn’t British, however, I’d still adore and admire her and her business. I came to know Vanessa pretty early in my blogging journey when she began supportively following the blog. I had no idea who she was but I could almost feel her supporting me as I journeyed forward. As it turned out we had a friend in common and through that commonality I learned more about Vanessa and her business. I was initially and still am excited to know her, just as her business sparkles-so does she!
Infinite is the best word to describe Vanessa Wooding. Her dreams are infinite because she never stops adding to them. Her days seem infinite because of how much she gets done in any given one. Her creativity is infinite because it just keeps coming! Her spirit is infinite because of how she cares for others, even those she has yet to know. Her heart is infinite because no matter how many people she has in her circle of friends, there is always room for more. Finally, her possibilities are infinite because this business of hers, GOT Jewelry, is just plain amazing! Her pieces are classic yet playful, versatile yet make a statement.
I wanted to get more Details (I like Details) so I made a plan to sit down for coffee with Vanessa. We had a latte accompanied (I told you we Moms need our coffee on Monday’s) conversation about jewelry that is sometimes perfectly imperfect (read on for this one-it’s good), marriage, motherhood, supporting other entrepreneurs instead of competing with them and the future goals of this gem of a businesswoman.
So please join me now as I talk to wife, mother, friend and entrepreneur, Vanessa Wooding:
Tell me a little about yourself and your family:
“I have been married to my husband David for 21 years. We have three girls- Georgiana is 20, Olivia is 17 and Tahlia is 8 years old. We are British couple with three Welsh daughters, our girls were born and spent their first few years in Wales. Before moving to Florida we had a somewhat nomadic existence, moving a fair amount.
After visiting a friend in Florida 12 years ago, we thought this was an area we’d like to live in and began researching where exactly we’d like to put down roots. Our ultimate choice was Dunedin and we moved here 8 years ago. As a family-we like to relax at home, go out to eat and spend time at the beach. Travel is definitely our thing! We still enjoy going on trips and returning back here.”
What has surprised you about motherhood? What gives you the most joy and the most challenge?
“I was surprised from the get go-Georgie (her oldest daughter) was 6 weeks early! Liv (Olivia, her middle daughter) was in the hospital as a baby with umbilical hernia issues, which was unexpected. One thing I took away as a lesson at that time is how important it is to trust your instincts as a parent. Tahlia (her youngest) keeps us all sane. With two older teens “testing boundaries”, wanting time (and things) and the additional worries that come with having teens, Tahlia is our low maintenance one. She is the light in our lives, brings fun, keeps us laughing and is still a child- bringing the energy and wonder that comes with childhood.
My teens have challenged me but they have taught me so much too! You have to TALK, TALK, TALK to your kids. Love on them but at the same time “track” them (laughs)!!”
Tell me about your business:
“GOT Jewelry, our accessories company started out 4 years ago. We are a wholesaler and retailer. We have built up the brand by having pop up trunk shows across Tampa Bay. Before we founded GOT, I was with Stella and Dot for 2 years. I learned a lot about branding and marketing from my work with them, which I appreciate. I owned three different boutiques (children’s clothing, lifestyle, women’s) in England before working with Stella and Dot, which fed my life-long love of design and fashion. I decided that I wanted to focus on jewelry but with my own twist and GOT allows me to do that.”
Why are you passionate about it?
“I love fashion! I also believe in talented people and want to empower them. When I’m participating in a show I always make time to walk around to look at and admire other creations. If I truly love a certain style of piece I will take some to showcase at my booth for a future event to spotlight that person’s work. I will also do this with friends or fellow entrepreneurs. For example, I have a talented friend who is a jewelry designer. I saw some of her finished pieces, thought they were amazing, and took them with me to a show I was attending to help get them seen by customers at the show.
I also love that my schedule is flexible and allows me to pop up at different locations to show our items when the event suits me but at the same time still allows me to be a stay at home mom to our daughters. It is important to me to be able to be at home for our girls as they grow. I can have this business I love while keeping my family a priority.”
What made you decide to get started and how long did you think about it before you did?
“I spent about a year deciding and then just went for it! I started the business with $200 and Facebook. I spent the money on inventory that I shipped in from Hong Kong. Once I received that merchandise, I set up a Facebook page for the business and did my first show at an event that took place at Innisbrook Golf Club. I sold out! We never really had cash flow in the beginning, I’d buy pieces and sell them, them buy more with the proceeds of those sales and have to wait for the next shipment to arrive from Hong Kong. There would be a delay to receive the next batch and once I received it-I’d do the process all over again.”
What have you learned about yourself as you’ve been in this business?
“I have learned to be more confident. I truly love what I do! I’ve learned in the power of sharing ideas instead of comparing myself and being competitive. We can learn so much from our community, even those in the same business. Share those resources and collaborate! It can’t all be about spreadsheets, make those connections!
“I think a mistake some people make when starting a new business is to overthink and overanalyze. You never have to see mistakes as mistakes, think of them as part of the learning curve. Sometimes our mistakes lead us to the next step. We have to take chances sometimes, we won’t always win but sometimes we will! For other women getting started in a new business I’d say to have faith and believe in yourself. That belief will push you through. Make a vision board and go for it!”
What are some benefits of what you do? What are some challenges?
“As I mentioned earlier, I love that I can set my own hours. I get to be creative often which I am grateful for. I have gotten to meet so many great women-other entrepreneurs and clients. Because of this business I have opportunities to help to raise money for charity, which I’m proud of.
Some of my challenges are the financial ones- cash flow and inventory that always needs to be replaced. If offered help in any aspect of my life I’d gladly choose business services-the office management parts of the business like paperwork, accounting, sales tax returns. This type of help would be appreciated for getting and staying organized.”
What are your goals as you continue with your business?
“I would love to go back to Hong Kong. David and I met when he was back in England for a visit while he was living there. I later moved there too and we lived in Hong Kong for a year. Id like to build a bigger Hong Kong network for sourcing more beads and stones to be imported here to be crafted into new pieces. I would like take my girls with us and show them where mom and dad hung out when it was our home.
Some other goals are to design more jewelry pieces, employee more people, expand nationally and worldwide. I’d love to grow, grow, grow!!”
Is this your only business? How do you organize your time and schedule?
“Yes, this is my only business but I also manage (“mom-age”) my teen daughter who is a model. This year she signed with an agency and is now working steadily (when not in school or working at her part time job). My husband also models sometimes and they recently worked for the same ad campaign. It was quite a father-daughter experience.
I set my the schedule for when jobs will be taken, who will be doing what when and get help on the weekends with shows we participate in for the business. It’s all about balance for all of us.
I also recently became a life coach and would love to help women in the area. I myself have used a life coach and know firsthand the benefits of doing so. I am also interested in helping young kids as well, especially the homeless and hungry. One goal is to someday set up a GOT non-profit which would give a percentage of our profits to local organizations and charities. I want to “put back” and give back with my time and my money.”
Can you share something others wouldn’t guess about the behind the scenes of your business:
“I work from my home- my bedroom is my office. I don’t even use a computer! My phone is my only device- I use it to take photos, write/communicate, post from etc. My phone is my life! You don’t need an “office” or a lot of equipment to start or run a business!”
Best memory of a successful moment doing what you do:
“One of my best memories is being at the Junior League Tampa Holiday Market at our first standalone booth working with my husband. All of our hard work leading up to and during the event paid off that year! The holidays were extra special because it was such a successful event.”
What current items are loving right now that you represent?
“I love my perfectly imperfect range! This range is exactly what it says-flawed but fabulous. Each piece is made of natural stones which means that they have cracks and holes (as natural stones do). Nothing is perfect in these pieces and that’s OK! Not unlike other things in life-something doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! We are all perfectly imperfect and I love that women can also wear something with this message behind it!”
What inspires you?
“My girls inspire me, my business is named after my daughters (GOT is derived from each daughter’s first initial). I want their generation to grow up to be accepted for who they are and to know that they can do anything. I do all that I do for them. I want my girls to learn that you can juggle mom life and work life by my example. It is important to us that they get a good education but be free spirited enough to follow their dreams as well.”
What advice have you given them about life and their future in business?
“To trust in what you do, be honest, and have faith. It’s important to be positive, believe in yourself and to do what makes you happy. My girls are each already involved in their unique way in the business. My oldest daughter Georgiana is a great writer and studies journalism at college, she is a great helper and sounding board for anything to do with writing. Liv gives me the teen perspective on my pieces. She will wear my items and share them on social media for her friends to see and I get the opinion from that age range. She is honest in what she likes and why she likes it. My youngest (the 8 yr old) Tahlia is our audience at live shows and likes to help with sales at shows. I have encouraged their involvement and enjoy making this a family business.”
I’d like to say thank you to Vanessa for sharing her story and GOT with us today! Many of us have lengthy holiday shopping lists we’ve just started to get to-Vanessa has some great items for gift giving you should check out! Not only does GOT have jewelry (including men’s leather jewelry) but handmade candles, bags, scarves and more! They will be wrapping up their holiday season on December 21st-before then locals can find GOT at The Kawani Art Show in Safety Harbor On December 9th (one of her favorite shows) and she will also have pop ups at local boutiques-Arabella’s in Safety Harbor & Betty’s Shop in St. Pete’s.
You can also find GOT on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/g.o.t.jewelrybyvanessawooding/ or on Instagram @gotjewelrybyvanessa.
I love what Vanessa said about showing her girls by example that you CAN juggle work life and mom life! The ability to juggle is a skill pretty high on the list of a mom’s qualifications! We can do anything we set our minds to while being the mothers we want to be-and so can the next generation when their time comes! One way of proving this is by our example!
I hope you’ll come back and join me next week to hear about another inspiring women and her business. We’re counting down to Christmas with spotlights on unique shops and the woman behind them that might just have the prefect gift for a special person person on your nice list this year! Janet