Yes girl, you heard it right! Wildthings is celebrating their 7th birthday.
To make it extra festive, this week is all about our founder Leanne. The way she started her business, successfully became a businesswoman and balances her personal and work life as a mom. At the end we have a little surprise for you, because you are the reason all our hard work pays off!
But first let's start with some more details about our founder, Leanne Jacometti. She is the driving force behind the company and puts her heart and soul into creating the wild jewelry collections. To get to know her a little better we did a Q&A.
It has now been 7 years since you started Wildthings, how did it all start?
To be honest, I did not really plan to start a company. I was working as a consultant and created jewelry on the side for myself and for a few friends. As I received more and more questions about where people could buy the pieces I started to realize that my long-time hobby might be something I could turn into my real job. In the first year I kept my job and started working on Wildthings in the evenings and weekends. After the first year I had around 10 retailers that were selling Wildthings and a small homemade webshop. I had enough believe and faith that I could turn this into a fulltime job, so I quit my consultancy job and worked on the brand by myself for another year (while still working in a shop in the weekends). When you give more energy and invest more time, of course you will also get better results. So in our third year I rented an office and the first team members became a fact. From then on we continued to grow and became the company you know as today´s Wildthings Collectables.
What was your drive to start, personally and from an entrepreneurial perspective?
My personal visualization of my dream job in 2015 was to travel the world while collecting and selling handmade collectables from craftsmen from all over the world. To have the freedom to work from anywhere, this was before working nomads actually were a thing, and decide on my own workweeks and schedules. I wanted to be my own boss with my own ambitions. Wildthings has made it possible for me to work from Bali, NYC, Lisbon, Amsterdam and many other great places in the world.
From a company perspective, my mission is to support local craftsmanship. I had encountered so many people during my travels that created amazing pieces that were not yet available in the Netherlands. Besides that I saw that in certain countries crafts and communities really relied on selling their work to tourists. Being able to help these communities with extra work while also giving customers at home a unique and handmade piece feels so great. Besides that I want to produce jewelry pieces in a way which fit for today and the future; beautiful and sustainable.
What message do you want to convey with your jewelry to the women who wear them?
Jewelry won't change the world but the women who wear them will! I believe that you should be yourself, follow your purpose and never stop dreaming. Jewelry gives you a way to express yourself and we strive to give you that edgy look.
When you start your own company there will be many ups and downs. What was a moment in the past 7 years that you would handle differently if you could do it again? And for that matter, what is an event that you are proud of?
I really started the company when I was still quite young (28) with hardly any work experience and definitely zero work experience in owning a jewelry brand. So I definitely made some mistakes and bad decisions in the past 7 years. When I make decisions they are mostly based on gut feeling. I do my research, I crunch some numbers in Excel but the final decision is always based on my gut feeling. Most of my bad decisions were when I did not listen to that feeling or was persuaded by big promises from others. I have chosen the wrong sales agents, worked with the wrong marketing agencies, stayed too long with partners out of loyalty even though I knew it was not working. It's really hard sometimes to make decisions on your own and to admit that it was the wrong step while trying to fix the issue. Besides that we have of course the day to day mistakes. When I just started I ordered the stock for our rings, not realizing that in Bali they used a different sizing system, so we ended up with huge rings that you could wear on your toes. In everything that is new and that you need to figure out also leaves room for failure. But in those moments of failure lies also your personal and entrepreneurial growth.
I am proud of my team. Of all the girls that helped Wildthings in the past 7 years. And I am always so proud when I meet someone or see someone on the street that is wearing a Wildthings Collectables design. I can't describe how happy that makes me feel.
Are you still as excited after 7 years about doing your work as at the start of your company?
I think the start of your company is always the most exciting, with all the first times. The first time being sold to de Bijenkorf, the first time being featured in a magazine, the first pop-up event, the first time to open your own shop, etc. The hard part is repeating the same thing over and over again. Uploading thousands of products to the back office, doing product photography for the twentieth time, making Excel budgets for the fortieth time. That is where the struggle is because you need to stay motivated, even for the things that you don't really like or have done too many times.
In the past years for instance the Wildthings Studio gave me a lot of energy. Working together with amazing female entrepreneurs and female-owned businesses to co-create pieces that are completely new to me such as t-shirts, ceramics and hats. Click here to see more.
As a female entrepreneur and mother you will have to prioritize between private and work, how do you ensure a good balance?
In these 7 Wildthings years I had two kids: Mick (Apr 21) and Suki (Nov 22). For me the biggest change and struggle is time. I used to work a lot on the weekends and evenings as I loved working on Wildthings and wanted to grow. With kids, you can't really do this anymore. So I guess for me it's about priorities. There is only so much me and my small team can do in a year. So we need to choose the projects we are going to pursue carefully and "park" some of the others for the next year. I think as a mother you will always miss things with your kids at home when you are working full time but I think it is also a good example for my kids.
When looking at the future, what are the goals/projects you can't wait to get started with?
I just came back from my 4 months of maternity leave and I can not wait to work on some of our new ideas. There are a few projects Wildthings is going to focus on this year. Reopening our Bali flagship store in 2023, launching a solid gold collection and mapping out plus improving our sustainability goals. Besides that we are going into a very big new step with Wildthings. Something I have been thinking about for a few years now and my gut feeling has said it is time to do it. I can't reveal what it is yet, but keep an eye out on our Instagram because it's happening soon.
Last but not least, without which piece of jewelry can't you leave the house?
I don't think I have had empty ears in the 7 years since I started Wildthings. In the first few years I kept getting more piercings so I could wear more of my designs at the same time. Even with my current 7 piercings, I would like to add a few more. I think it would feel very naked without wearing my earrings.
For all our beloved members, we have a little surprise on Sunday the 26th in your inbox. You can be the first to enter our secret sale! If you are not a member yet, sign up here. Thanks for being the best community!