Hiya! A while ago we asked you in our Instagram story to send us the burning questions you had for Leanne, our Wildthings founder. Oh boy, we want to say thank you; what an enthusiasm! We’ve received lots of questions and you definitely wormed some good stuff out of her :) And no, it’s not her shoesize, guilty pleasures or her favorite Spotify playlists that you are interested in.
What you were aiming for, are her experiences as a businesswoman and tips to start your own business. Below are the questions she picked to answer. Maybe, after reading, you have enough courage and inspiration to make your own dreams come true. Go woman go!
CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME TIPS ABOUT HOW TO START MY OWN COMPANY?
Of course! I think starting your own business is really a matter of just doing it. A lot of people have the dream but might be too afraid to make the big step.
There are different ways to start your company. Either you can have very big business plans and have everything arranged before you start, or you can start very small, see how everything goes and grow organically with your company. The last example is the way I did it. I really believe in having a plan but also being able to adjust from the plan and start with a small investment. When starting your own business, be prepared to sacrifice all your free time and be prepared to always have your company on your mind when you wake up and when you go to bed. My advice would also be to save a little bit of money so you can manage for a few months without a steady income or keep a parttime job next to your own company during the starting phase.
I CAN'T DECIDE WHAT KIND OF BRAND IDENTITY I WANT FOR MY MARKETING COMPANY. CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME TIPS?
My tip would be to make sure the branding fits with your own personality and the style that you like. Get inspiration from things you see all over the world, stay close to your own style and then make a decision. Besides that, you need to realize that during the years your style and the style of your customers change. For instance, we changed our logo, our packaging and our website almost every two years. It doesn’t mean you have chosen your brand identity badly, but it shows that you as a person and your brand evolves into something new. Don’t be scared, just do it!
HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT SUPPLIERS? AND HOW DID YOU FIND THE RIGHT SUPPLIER IN BALI?
There are two things to keep in mind when you are looking for a place to source your products. First of all, you can purchase products that are already made but not branded/have no label. You can buy these products for yourself and sell them under your brand name. Or you can go to another type of supplier where you can hand in your own designs and let them produce your own design (like we do).
The questions for both options are, how many pieces do you want to make? Because some suppliers have minimum order quantities. How sustainable do you want the supplier to be? How do they source their materials/products? I believe in seeing where products are actually made and if everything is ethical on the work floor. That’s why I went to Bali a few times to drive around with my scooter looking for suppliers. And believe me, I visited a lot of jewelry makers. By seeing how they work and asking a lot of questions I was able to make my decision. I think if you are really serious about the production process it’s definitely worth visiting your supplier to make sure that they are producing in a way you also stand for. If visiting is not an option for you, you have to look online. Make sure to start off by ordering a sample before you start with a big production because you never know if you’ll get what the supplier is promising.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU WOULD GIVE NEW ENTREPENEURS?
The biggest mistakes I made in the last couple of years were things that I already had a gut feeling about. For example, people who say that they are experts, tell you what to do and push you into directions to take a certain step. Even though I felt like it was not really going to work, I still followed the advice and did it. And that is where I made the biggest mistakes in the last couple of years. These mistakes have taught me to listen to my instinct. So, my advice for you: Even when people have a lot of knowledge and expertise it doesn’t mean that it fits with your strategy or goals. Always listen to yourself.
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH NEW DESIGNS? AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST INSPIRED BY?
When I start making a new collection, I always first try to find a theme. Most themes I used are inspired by nature, because it’s so diverse and there is just so much inspiration to find in nature. Once I have found a theme, I start thinking of things that are related to the theme. For example, colors and shapes. I mostly try to find themes and trends looking at countries like Australia and the US, seeing what the upcoming fashion, interior and art trends are doing. With this mix of inspiration, I come up with new ideas. To give an example, for the L’artiste collection I went to various libraries and museums to find inspiration. Next to that I start with visualizing the final campaign in my mind. Once that is all set, I start developing the pieces. I draw them out on paper and start discussing the idea with our jewelry makers. They will make a 3D design or a wax example, depending on the design. And from there we start the sampling process.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLLECTION?
That’s a really hard question, because they are all my babies! But of course, I have some favorite pieces. When I look at my own jewelry box, I combine a lot of pieces. Pieces I got from family, that I found abroad and of course a mix of my Wildthings favorites, which are mostly a few pieces of every collection. Because our pieces are not very time sensitive you can always wear them four seasons later, it doesn’t matter. Just mix it with the jewelry you already have to create your own style. For me the pieces that are most valuable are the ones that were the hardest to develop. The more effort I put in a piece, the more special it is for me.
IF YOU CAN GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
That is a very good question. There are a few mistakes that I made, that costs me money, time and energy. Of course, I would like to go back in time and not make these mistakes, but I think if I didn’t make these mistakes, I wouldn’t learn from them and not be where I am right now. I just make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again.
Every collection, something goes wrong. Sometimes it’s something we could have thought about, sometimes it’s the circumstances. Every new collection we all say: this year we are going to do it all right and we fix all the issues. But then another issue appears, but that’s life. You are not going to have everything perfectly right. We just need to accept it.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS?
There are so many moments that make you feel super happy and makes it worth all the time and energy I have put into my company. I think every month there is another highlight. For instance, the first store that bought my jewelry and the first time that I saw one of my pieces on someone’s neck at a café. The first time I saw the jewelry at the Bijenkorf Amsterdam or when I see our full team on Zoom. All the first times are super exciting. After a while some things become more normal and you get used to it, but there is always another goal to work towards. The biggest Wildthings highlight for me when I was super proud was when we opened our flagshipstore in Bali. Because you could really experience and see our brand in real life in a 60M2 Wildthings world where I had the freedom to design every centimeter of the store. I could have never experiences these moments without all your support, thank you!