Hex Cavelli: Jane Cooper

Startups talks to new entrepreneur Jane Cooper about her hand-carved alternative jewellery brand, inspired by her "fearless friends"

Name: Jane Cooper
Company Name: Hex Cavelli
Location: South West
Date Launched: 01/09/2016
Twitter handle: @HexCavelli
Website: hexcavelli.com

Tell us what your business does:

Hex Cavelli is a jewellery brand consisting of hand carved, alternative jewellery.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

The idea for this style of jewellery design was inspired by the people around me and their fearless natures. From explorers to bikers, somehow my friends seem to have an insatiable desire for anything that could go badly wrong.

This adrenaline-filled lifestyle seemed to disappear when they weren’t on their bikes, adventures or jumping from planes and it inspired me to start designing jewellery that could reflect this fearless nature, even the more subdued moments.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Jewellery is a huge market and with hand crafted goods becoming more and more popular it seemed like it would be worth a try.

The motorcycle community is growing fast and with rock ‘n’ roll styling on trend it there certainly seemed to be space for a new jewellery brand with a slightly different style.

What were you doing before starting up?

Working for a marketing agency, specialising in social marketing and content.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes, always, but I was never sure what it would be. I really enjoyed working with other people and learning from great colleagues and bosses in the past. I am glad I waited for the ideas to develop organically, even six months ago I would never have guessed I would be doing this.

How did you raise the money?

So far the business has been self-funded. I have been practicing the carving for a while and gathering the tools all year so the costs were spread out. Setting up the website myself and working in marketing certainly helped. For me, working within my means was important for the creative process and avoided putting too much pressure on the learning and carving stages.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

I sell on a number of digital platforms, I have a website, Facebook page with a shop and also Etsy. The jewellery is also stocked with local suppliers who also cater for the same market. Going forward I will be looking to expand to more small independent retailers.

I also work on custom projects which is always good fun, and it is great to work with other creatives on these projects too.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge has been having the confidence in my designs. As any overly critical artist will agree, the journey with a piece can either make you love it more or hate it completely. Overcoming an irrational dislike for some work has been really difficult but also refreshing.

I found the best way to overcome this is to listen to what others think, more often than not people will pick out details and designs that I had dismissed. Taking a step back from finished work and allowing people to react to it, rather than smothering it with my opinions has been essential.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Launching my website, it was a huge turning point. The brand was visible, and even though it was sparse, this encouraged me to work on new products along with better marketing.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Goals were key for me, I haven’t focused on the bigger picture yet and set myself huge targets. I have taken the set up one step at a time, with daily tasks to break it down and keep the momentum going.

The work/life balance has been a huge learning curve too, making sure I still have time to exercise and plenty of sleep while juggling a full time job, mastering a new craft and learning about setting up a business. It is important to keep the passion alive.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

In five years’ time I would love to have a full, diverse and developing collection of jewellery. I would also love a big portfolio of projects and collaborations that I have worked on with other creatives and collectives of individuals… along with a few fantastic stories to share about the journey.

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