Meet my friend Carolina!! She is the woman behind Tender Metal ( @tendermetal ), an online gift shop specializing in custom-made jewelry.
Carolina lives in Calgary with her husband and their son, where she volunteers as a La Leche League Leader, and as the director of diversity and inclusivity at Attachment Parents’ Village Calgary. How cool is she?
I’ve been such a fan of her designs since she started, especially the ones that have those powerful messages, and the best part? They are handmade!!
I think is the little details what makes this brand so special, so I wanted to invite her to the blog for us to get inspired with the story about her brand, and also get some tips on how to start a business! Enjoy!
1-How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
When I was in my mid twenties, I had my heart broken in Halifax. I was in a period of transition and was looking for a more permanent change. I walked into a jewelry store, looking for a piece to lift my spirits and landed on a pink pearl bracelet with a tiny silver lotus charm. The clerk handed it to me and said, “the lotus flower signifies new beginnings and endless possibilities.” I took it home. I loved its significance and how beautifully it applied to me at that point.
That day, I bought a one-way ticket to Cancun where I spent a few months healing from that loss and getting my internal ducks in a row. I learned to enjoy my own company and wrote a paragraph on the kind of life I wanted to have, and who I wanted to have it with.
One night in July, I had a dream where someone told me that my husband was looking for me in Vancouver. Obviously, I bought a ticket to Vancouver. People do that. Right? It was the right thing to do. The next six months were a delightful adventure. It was truly one of the most magical times in my life, where I simply chose to trust that, if I was true to myself, I would end up with the right outcome. Do you know Jason Mraz’s song “I’m yours?” It goes,
“Well you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but you’re so hot I melted
I fell right through the cracks
And now I’m trying to get back
Before the cool done run out
I’ll be giving it my best-est
And nothing’s going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it’s again my turn,
To win some or learn some
But I won’t hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I’m yours.”
January eighth was that day for me. The day preparation, opportunity, and the light of the universe came together to put Matthew and I on the same path. Our life together has been a gift and a pleasure, and that January eighth was the day it all began. We were engaged two weeks later and married that summer, a year after I had that dream in Cancun.
I made a piece of jewelry to honour the magic of that day, to remind me that dreams come true, and that romantic love exists. I figured that, if I wanted a piece of jewelry like this, others would too. And I was right. Everybody has a story.
2- What is your mission/goal?
My goal is to create pieces of jewelry that celebrate emotion and connection. Pieces that people wear every day because they are meaningful as well as beautiful.
3-What products do you offer?
I hand-stamp tiny letters on pieces of metal and use those, as well as Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls and gemstones to create pieces of jewelry that celebrate significant events and relationships in people’s lives.
4-How do you advertise your business and why?
Most of my clients come to me via word-of-mouth, meaning one of my existing clients was thrilled with their piece and told their friends, and those friends then told their friends. There’s been a lot of that. Instagram and Facebook have been useful too. And lastly, I wear my jewelry everywhere I go and talk about Tender Metal to anyone who’ll listen.
5- Any tips of how to attract clients?
I make pieces that I’m proud of, I give excellent service, and I tell everyone about Tender Metal. When I’m taking care of those three things, I relax and trust that my prospective clients will find me and that my existing clients will come back.
6- To what do you attribute your success?
I think Tender Metal has resonated with people because everyone has a story they want to celebrate. Everyone has loved, everyone has mourned a loss, everyone has relationships they want to honour and cherish.
7- What is unique about Tender Metal?
It’s my clients’ stories that make Tender Metal unique. Every custom-made piece is a co-creation between us.
8-What made you choose this type of business?
The romance. The emotion. Also, the logistics of it are perfect for my family and I at this stage of our lives. I’m able to do what I love in my Calgary studio while my husband and son work and play 3 feet away.
9- Have you turned down a client?
Not yet! I’ve been fortunate to work with clients who are respectful and who are and eager to own one of my pieces.
10- If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out what would it be?
Find a way to add value to other people’s lives where you can be your authentic self.
If you love her story, watch us this Wednesday at 9PM for a Wine and Talk on ilove604 Facebook Page! And stay tuned for our Mother’s Day Giveaway!