From a brief encounter at the African Fashion Show to a Business Lifestyle Photoshoot with founder and owner of Nzingha - A small bespoke jewellery business. Such a talented and vivacious woman, her story will inspire you!... (scroll all the way down)
Name | Beverly Quintal
Owner of? Founder and Owner of Nzingha a small bespoke jewellery business. www.nzingha.bigcartel.com
Do you travel with your job...if so why & where?
I used to have a large stall in Brixton London over seven years which I used to come in by train or sometimes my husband would be kind enough to drop me to work, there are many of times if you are buying from wholesalers that you have to travel far and wide to find the product that is right for you, but our company is expanding, we are now running as a retailer and wholesaler. So I now do a lot of driving or catching local transport to meet clients. And may I drive to events or hop on a plane to sit and design my jewellery with my team of craftsmen /artisans around the world.
You contacted me via Instagram to book a "Business Lifestyle Photoshoot", what did you want the images specifically for?
I needed the images for my marketing side of the business ie. promotional leaflets, seasonal banners, website, posts on social media sites, as these images work well as a shop window to these sites.
The excitement I get from creating a piece of jewellery from nothing and using my childlike /creative
What do you enjoy most about your job?mindto develop a masterpiece to that masterpiece been at an exhibition, to a customer purchasing and wearing my pieces to that special event. To the customer having full enjoyment and attention of that piece where she wants to come back and let me know... is the best feeling in the world. When it comes full circle in a positive manner I know I've done a great job, I also know I'm in the right place in my life. doing what I'm supposed to be doing, making myself and people happy. LOVE WHAT YOU DO!.
I have a vision and in this vision, I need to know how I'm going to achieve what I need to achieve, I make a long task list for myself and my business. I would
As a small business owner, how do you structure your days?
then break all my task down into months, weeks, days, hours and minutes, then prioritise them. So each day I give myself a jobs to do list, some of this task will be very challenging and can take up your whole day but this is a good thing for me as it teaches me many things about myself and some task I have can be very quick so I can get them out of the way, but it is a must for me and my business that I write things down as this will/does helps me to keep track of my business and lifestyle. To bring me closer to my visions.
YES! But I work solely on my own running my day to day business, this has been a great experience for me as I've gone through a lot
Do you work with a team?of challenging and great times alone but learned so much with my own self-development, having to use my own mind, initiative, research etc. So if I do need to employ someone in the future at least I myself know exactly what I need for my business and the help is a bonus. Not only that, I have also saved financially!. I do have a small team of Artisans/ craftsmen around the world, who help me put my collections together (LOVE THEM!).
What tools do you find indispensable for accomplishing tasks?
My dairy, phone, products, money and myself.
What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?
Starting my business earlier. But nothing before its time, I'm enjoying my journey (take FEAR/DOUBT out of your equation and you will fly).
What advice can you give to someone with a similar desire to start a business?
Go for it and ENJOY THE RIDE (ITS THE GREATEST ROLLER COASTER OF ALL TIME).
Giving time to family and friends is the most important as they will be there for you through thick and thin so I never forget them on my journey. There have been many of times that I have needed them to help me out on my stall at an event or maybe just to pick up some carrier bags and they have never hesitated, they have always been there to help me out. So I give them my time and love back in return,(after all, I am the life and soul of the party in my family. lol). I am fortunate to work from home 2 days out of the week
How do you balance work and family demands?and have one day off a week . My husband and I always have Friday night as our date night, we will dress up and he will take me somewhere special. I have a young granddaughter so one afternoon through the week, I pick her up from school and we spend a couple of hours together, my daughter and I have a mother and daughter day once a month and we also have a large family get together's often as we are a large close family. There is always someone's birthday or a dinner or barbeque going on in our family.
Can you take us through the process of getting your business off the ground?
Hard work...Work Smart!!!. Keep working and put a lot of time into it. Some people think I started up with a bag of money but that's far from the truth, I actually started with £200 buying materials to make my pieces, staying up long hours overnight to finish them to sell at my stall the next day, braving all the elements that nature throws at you, having very little or no wages for the first year as everything is thrown straight back into my business.
The first time I set my stall up in Brixton market 7 years ago, I was in shocked as I didn't anticipate my jewellery flying of my tables so quickly. I realised this was something very new to the area and I had a product that nobody else/or very little was doing. As my stock went within 3 days I started to panic, I thought to myself what am I going to do for stock. It was Christmas week people started to ask me for earrings, bracelets and all accessories linked to jewellery, I just listened to their demands and was so excited to get these products for them...I smiled and knew I had great things to come with my business.
Using all my previous retail experiences I went into action and scoured out some jewellery wholesalers, this took my jewellery into another dimension as I started selling jewellery from the wholesalers this carried on for the next 5 years but so did everyone else caught onto it. But in my heart I wanted my own brand of jewellery back, but how was I to produce these on a mass scale and on demand, there was only little me. I started to travel again once or twice a year but always keeping my mind and eyes open for new ideas. On my journeys visiting places like Senegal, Jamaica, Zanzibar, Indonesia, South Africa, Morocco and many other exotic countries I found myself in the villages speaking with traditional craftsmen/artisans about designing my NZINGHA Jewellery brand, and the rest is history. Now 2 years on Nzingha has been re- born . I stayed in Brixton as I had my platform here for many years and this was my ideal ground to test out my new brand and my collection has been going from strength to strength.
Realising that customers loved Nzingha I wanted to get my jewellery out to a wider audience so I reduced my workload in Brixton and started to exhibit at large events, like Natural Hair and Beauty, Africa Fashion Week, Afro Hair and Beauty show, Africa On The Square and now the Ideal Home Show one of the largest home show in Europe. This move has really opened a lot of doors for me as I started to meet people on a business level, photographers like Lorraine, editors of magazines, invites to exhibit in other countries, I've been on catwalk shows, done interviews about my journey and I know there is lots more to come, I have not even touched the service yet.
I find that people only buy from people they know, like or trust. Successful selling is all about creating a successful relationship and this takes time. First find enough people to contact who might be interested in buying from me, this may have been at events that I have attended or maybe at my stall, on my social media pages, passed on info from other clients, door to door meetings for the first
Can you take us through the process of a client booking/finding/buying from you?
I have a strong database that I add onto regular, pick up business cards, phone numbers, emails, etc.
Always follow up keeping in contact with people including my database, social media, phone calls, seeing face to face, second meetings.
Know your product for when you have to pitch or present your product.
get to know your clients (REALLY GET TO KNOW THEM ). Like I said, in the beginning, they either like you, trust you or know you.
Yes, I really wanted my photo to be different and to send the correct/clear message about the Nzingha product. I found you very professional in your work, I checked out your website that put my mind at ease not only was you professional, but I had such a great day with you. You thought of things that I needed to action before the shoot and we kept in touch almost on a daily basis so we knew things would run smoothly on the day and it sure
Before your photography session with me did you have any concerns? How did the session really go? My photos are on all my social media pages and I've had a great response all family members want a picture and I have had a lift in did .sales . We have also joined each other's social media pages that keeps us connected. Thank you for visiting me at Africa on the Square event, and we will keep in touch as friends and business.
Don't hesitate book Lorraine she has a kind warm hearty spirit, who listens to your needs and wants and will go that extra mile for you, she will also become a great friend. I will be booking my second session
If you were to recommend me to your best friend, what would you say?soon .
BIG THANK YOU LORRAINE
– Inspirational stories of creatives and their business adventures.