Yarwood-White: Clare Yarwood-White
Clare stepped out of the shadow of her famous father to set up a successful jewellery business
Having a successful or famous parent can be a burden when trying to make it on your own – there are countless tales of stars’ offspring careering off the rails due to the weight of expectation and feelings of comparative failure.
Luckily, Clare Yarwood-White has managed to step out of the shadow of her father, the impressionist Mike Yarwood, by forging her own entrepreneurial career.
The daughter of the 1970s TV star ditched a job in the media to pursue her passion – jewellery. Her eponymous business designs and hand-makes necklaces, bracelets, earrings and dress rings for brides or those who just want an alternative to mass-produced or overly expensive jewellery. Her approach has reaped spectacular results considering the relative youth of her company. Clare designed the tiara and bridal jewellery for a high-profile wedding on TV’s Coronation Street and has appeared in Vogue.com and various other magazines and websites.
“I was only a child when my father was at the peak of his fame, and I don’t suppose he would mind me saying that his name probably doesn’t hold much clout in the jewellery industry!” she says. “If anything, it has made me very way of fame, and how destructive it can sometimes be.”
Clare saw a gap in the market for a handmade jewellery business, claiming that her customers were turned off by cheap products churned out by an overcrowded market.
“There is plenty of very inexpensive fashion jewellery on the market, but the quality is generally quite low,” she explains. “And of course there is no shortage of fabulous precious jewellery, beautiful investment pieces that will last a lifetime. I think there’s a little gap in the middle for me to squeeze into.”
The Surbiton-based entrepreneur started up in 2002 with an initial outlay of just £100 on materials and a short course in jewellery design. Deciding that the business should be entirely self-funding, it took Clare a year, while still working full-time, to get the foundations of her venture, such as a computer, tools, packaging and a website, in place.
Finally able to dedicate herself entirely to the business, Yarwood-White jewellery has enjoyed a highly profitable last two years, with Clare’s background in marketing advertising helping draw in increasing numbers of customers. The high-profile clients and the publicity that’s followed will undoubtedly boost the business further.
However, Clare admits to a lack of confidence in her ability to make it in business during her twenties.
“When I was younger, ‘entrepreneur’ was a scary word!” she says. “In my twenties, I though business was a secret that no-one had let me in on, and running a business was best left to the big boys!
“As I worked my way through various companies and bosses as an employee, I realised that much of the secret was common sense, making good decisions at the right time and that confidence playing a huge part in success.
“As my own confidence grew, I began to think, ‘I could do that’.” Clare admits that the support of her family and friends has been invaluable in the running of her business and has set up an informal networking group for women looking to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, just like she did.
“One of the reasons I set up the network was because of ‘impostor syndrome’, which I certainly suffered from,” she says. “It’s a nagging feeling that we are not really qualified to do what we are doing, or want to do, whether it is in our careers or private lives.
“I even know mums with small children who still feel they are waiting to be ‘found out’. It stems from a lack of confidence in our own abilities and although it is not exclusive to women, I haven’t met any men who admit to suffering from it!”
With ambitions to make her jewellery brand a household name within the next few years, it appears that Clare has finally overcome ‘impostor syndrome.’ The designer is adamant that budding entrepreneurs can make it through persistence.
“If you refuse to give up, eventually you’ll be the one left standing,” she insists. “Tell everyone about the business you are planning to launch, the first time you say it you may feel embarrassed, but once you’ve said it enough times, it starts to become real.”