Entrepreneur Spotlight: Lydia McCarthy-Keen

Entrepreneur Spotlight focuses on amazing ladies who are rocking their online businesses.

This week we have the passionate and driven, founder of the ethical jewellery company, Lydia McCarthy-Keen.

Hi Lydia, What’s your business name and what’s your business all about?

Lydia McCarthy-Keen; we are a luxury, ethical jewellery company. For us, the magic happens at the intersection of where luxury and ethics meet.

We only create jewellery which hasn’t been mined. That means recycled metals and lab-grown diamonds and gemstones. Everything is made is the UK.

Fundamentally, we are changing the way smart people buy diamonds, and approach the task via three key questions:

1. Do you wear (or want to wear) diamonds?

2. Do you know where diamonds come from (really)?

3. Do you care?

In light of these, we have five non-negotiables for all the pieces we create:

1. They must be a celebration of luxury

2. They must be a bespoke, timeless design

3. They must be hand-crafted in the UK

4. They must be sustainably sourced

5. They must be made without mining

What was your “Big Why” that drove you to start your business?

I felt a schism in my brain during my own search for an engagement ring, when I came across the true story of Ismael Dalramy, and how he lost his hands in 1996 with two quick blows of an axe as part of systematic violence during the Sierra Leonean civil war. The war is when we coined the phrase, ‘blood diamond’.

He doesn’t remember the pain, he only remembers removing a crude metal ring made for him by his son, and placing it in his pocket. This was the last act his hands ever performed for him.

It strikes me that, even though the war is over, as long as we take diamonds out of the ground, the potential for violence is always a possibility. I couldn’t live with that. We need to do things differently. 

What lights you up about your business? 

Oh my, where to start? I think my top thing is knowing that an engagement ring I have sold has provided a prosthetic limb and all the necessary rehab for a victim of blood diamonds in Sierra Leone. I feel like that’s a proposal with a real promise to it. That we can use our existing relationships, our dreams and aspirations, to solve some of the world’s most meaningful problems.

Besides that, I just love my work. People don’t understand how the diamond industry works, and it’s something the industry is happy to keep secret. I enjoy drawing back the curtain on the process, taking people behind the scenes and educating them on how all diamonds are sourced and how we price and grade them. It makes people better buyers – like doing a mechanics course before buying a car!

And the stories I hear are just lovely. How people met, what their plans are. It’s a real privilege to be an insider on someone’s very personal relationship journey, long before their closest friends and family know.

What do you get to do in your business that was not possible in your 9-5? 

Um, look at diamonds all day! I used to work in the mining, oil and gas sector, and felt stifled in the corporate environment. In the past, I got emails about miners who have died. Now, I salivate over gems and know that each one has the potential to change someone’s life. 

I also love choosing how I spend my time. Sometimes I feel I haven’t spent it that wisely, which is a challenge, but I think it’s important to recognise that it’s part of a process.

What daily habits do you without fail, that make a positive impact on your business day?

I allow myself as much creative thinking space as possible. It’s challenging sometimes, but I think it’s essential to remember that 20% of the work gets 80% of the results. 

I also spend time ‘engaging with my animal’ every day. I like to think of myself as a racehorse, because it helps me understand and work with my personality when I feel challenged. 

I’m a complete nutter a lot of the time, and need a lot of self-care, grooming time and a fancy diet – I can be a bit of handful. But underneath all that, I’m really good natured, and when I have a goal in my sights, I will outperform – over a short distance – until the goal is met. Then I need to recuperate.

My husband on the other hand, sees himself as a shetland pony. This beautiful creature is strong and will take methodical, plodding steps through thick and thin in all weathers for sixteen hours a day until the goal is achieved. 

I recommend finding an animal you can relate to, and using it as a way to manage your thoughts whenever you find yourself behaving in a way you think holds you back.

Would you say you’re living the “freedom lifestyle” and how does it look and feel to you?

Ooh, interesting question, because it implies that we are not free if we are employed – I don’t believe in that world-view. I do however benefit from a life without a corporate job, and generally feel cooped up in an office.

Where do you see your business in two years’ time?

On the map. At the moment, we are under the radar, but that’s set to change. My goal for the next two years is to build a profile, so we can do more, be more, and change more in a positive way through entrepreneurship and as a company. You can help by telling a friend about me and following me online!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to a woman who’s considering starting a business, or who’s finding the initial set up of her business longer or a little trickier than expected?

Of course there will be challenge, but there’s no strain if you can find a way to flow. Business is a series of small wins, not big breakthroughs. Oh, and those dudes haven’t written the statistics on you yet, so don’t bother worrying about what is and isn’t possible for women in business today.

What’s your favourite motivational phrase/quote/mantra?

“You get what you pitch for, and you’re always pitching.” ~ Matthew Michalewicz 

Where can we see more about you and your delightful offerings? 

You can find out more about me and my services on my website, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.

It was wonderful hearing about you and your business on the Entrepreneur Spotlight, Lydia. Thank you for sharing with us, and my very best wishes to you for the future, Sharon xox

Join my free FB page and community to connect with me and other amazing entrepreneurs.

Have a book inside you? Have a launch coming up? Unleash your message and storytelling in Brand Storytelling Academy.

 

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Jen O’Donnell

Entrepreneur Spotlight focuses on amazing ladies who are rocking their online businesses.

This week we have the founder of Mint Sauce Media, Jen O’Donnell, who specialises in branding and website design.

 

 

Hi Jen, What’s your business name and what’s your business all about?

My Business is Mint Sauce Media, which I created with my partner Chris. We are a design company that specialises in branding and website design for ambitious businesses who want to showcase their skills to their best advantage.

What was your “Big Why” that drove you to start your business?

We’ve met so many people with the most amazing business ideas on this journey. They’re so full of passion about how they can help their tribe, but are getting overlooked and not seeing the results they’re capable of achieving.

 
We know how important it is to bring your branding and website into alignment with your vision, values and goals, because it helps you to be seen as an expert in your field, and serve so many more people. That’s what gets us really excited about our business!

What lights you up about your business? 

The flow of creative ideas once we start working with a new client, when we can see different avenues that would make their brand look amazing and help them get closer to achieving their big goals. Seeing our client’s businesses transform after working with us, really lights us up – of course!

What do you get to do in your business that was not possible in your 9-5? 

The flexibility to fit our working hours around our family is a huge bonus,
and to be in control of the type of work we do and the direction we take our business is really exciting!

What daily habits do you without fail, that make a positive impact on your business day?

Ensuring every day is ended by clearing and tidying the office workspace. Walking into a distraction-free workspace on a morning is so much more productive. We then plan, organise and schedule – boring, but it really does ease the stress of an overwhelming to-do list.
 
 
Making time for relaxation is also incredibly important, whether that’s meditation or just a quiet moment during the day. It helps maintain a balanced outlook on life.

Would you say you’re living the “freedom lifestyle” and how does it look and feel to you?

Absolutely, I get to work with my best friend and fit in all my family commitments – I couldn’t wish for more!

 
 
Even if some days flexibility looks like the pair of us working into the evening, it doesn’t feel like work, not once I’ve lit some scented candles and poured a little glass of red wine. We then have a natter and giggle as we work!

Where do you see your business in two years’ time?

I see the business growing and taking on more staff. I still like the model of being a small design studio. We really pride ourselves on being able to give our clients the personal touch and build relationships with those we work with, but this way we’ll be able to help more people.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to a woman who’s considering starting a business, or who’s finding the initial set up of her business longer or a little trickier than expected?

I would say put in the hours and really look deeply into your vision and values, and how applying these to your business makes you different from the rest. Once these are in alignment you have a much stronger
base to craft your visual brand and differentiate yourself. Then just keep
going, as it takes time to build up your business.

What’s your favourite motivational phrase/quote/mantra?

I love the quote “Great things never come from comfort zones.” It’s just a reminder to myself that we need to push ourselves to achieve the really good stuff we dream about!

Where can we see more about you and your delightful offerings? 

Our website Mint Sauce Media has more information on us and what we offer.

 
 
We’d love to connect on the socials with you, so you’ll find us giving general ramblings on design and life + examples of our work on Instagram or on Facebook.
 

It was wonderful hearing about you and your business on the Entrepreneur Spotlight, Jen. Thank you for sharing with us, and my very best wishes to you for the future, Sharon xox

Join my free FB page and community to connect with me and other amazing entrepreneurs.

Have a book inside you? Have a launch coming up? Unleash your message and storytelling in Brand Storytelling Academy.

 

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Triinu Holman

Entrepreneur Spotlight focuses on amazing ladies who are rocking their online businesses.

This week we have the lovely, Triinu, owner of Creative Puddles jewellery design, and runs a blog helping women to grow their product-based businesses.

Hi Triinu, What’s your business name and what’s your business all about?

I own Creative Puddles, which is a creative jewellery business. I sell online, at events, and through my Brand Ambassador/ Promoter program. My main collection is a very modern take on the traditional charm bracelet – charms that simply snap on and off like a popper, meaning you can easily change the look of your bracelet to match your outfit.

I also run a small business blog, teaching female product-based business owners how to grow their small businesses.

What was your “Big Why” that drove you to start your business?

Having a baby! I didn’t want to be away from my baby but I also wanted to continue to work, so setting up my own business was the perfect solution. My children are now a lot older and I’m so pleased that I’ve always been there at school pick up, sports days, nativities etc. And even now I can still be there for them to support them through their tween/teen years.

What lights you up about your business? 

I particularly love being out and about meeting all my customers, chatting and getting feedback. I also love running my Brand Ambassador and Brand Promoter program. People tend to join the program so they can have total flexibility over their working hours. It’s great to be able to support this and to witness people thrive and grow in confidence.

What do you get to do in your business that was not possible in your 9-5? 

It’s been a long time since I had a 9-5 but I appreciate the flexibility I have. I have been able to grow my business at a rate to suit me. When the children were young this was very much a hobby business to earn some extra cash and keep my brain ticking but now they are older I’ve upped my game and have taken my business to the next level.

What daily habits do you without fail, that make a positive impact on your business day?

Each morning I write a to do list. I’m careful to make sure that the list is not overwhelming but at the same time is challenging. The first part of the day is usually spent being re-active: answering emails, responding to enquiries and social media posts, etc. I then switch to pro-active mode where I do tasks that will ultimately lead to more sales. A solely re-active day can be a bit dull, you always need some pro-active tasks in your day to help keep your business momentum.

Would you say you’re living the “freedom lifestyle” and how does it look and feel to you?

I am living my version of a freedom lifestyle– I’m my own boss and am able to do the things I love doing on a daily basis!

Where do you see your business in two years’ time?

Growth, visibility, brand awareness and additional income streams are my goals. In addition to selling jewellery I am also growing a small business blog which in two years’ time I would like to see generating income. I love networking and encouraging other female, product-based business owners in their entrepreneurial journeys so I see this as a focus of my future business.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to a woman who’s considering starting a business, or who’s finding the initial set up of her business longer or a little trickier than expected?

Just one piece of advice?! Well, I’d encourage her to join a networking group. Sounds daunting doesn’t it but I can honestly say that there is nothing more encouraging, supporting and uplifting than being surrounded by women who are all on the same journey. Every time I go to a networking get-together I always come away with an amazing new contact or idea and I feel motivated to keep going.

What’s your favourite motivational phrase/quote/mantra?

“Actually, I can.”

I love this quote so much that I have an “actually, I can” charm in my online shop, that way, every time I look at my wrist I’m reminded that actually, I can do this.

Where can we see more about you and your delightful offerings? 

You can find me over at my online shop and small business blog, Creative Puddles.

I mainly hangout on Instagram

and I can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

It was wonderful hearing about you and your business on the Entrepreneur Spotlight, Triinu. Thank you for sharing with us, and my very best wishes to you for the future, Sharon xox

Join my free FB page and community to connect with me and other amazing entrepreneurs.

Have a book inside you? Have a launch coming up? Unleash your message and storytelling in Brand Storytelling Academy.

 

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Izabela Nair

Entrepreneur Spotlight focuses on amazing ladies who are rocking their online businesses.

This week we have the lovely, Personal Branding and PR Coach, Izabela Nair.

Hi Izabela, What’s your business name and what’s your business all about?

I’m a Personal Branding & PR Coach, and Founder of Her Style Hive. I work with introverted female entrepreneurs to help them get more visible so they gain clarity, attract PR opportunities, and become recognised as leaders in their fields.

I recently rebranded as I originally worked as a Style Coach. As much as I loved helping women discover their unique style, I felt that there was much more I could do to help them powerfully show up online and build businesses of their dreams. As a PR professional by trade, it made so much sense to me to expand my services and teach women how they can market themselves.

My work is built on three pillars: PR, confidence and style. I’m a firm believer that style is much more than the clothes and make up you wear. Style is also about your body language, attitude and how you present yourself. Your style comes from being totally comfortable and at ease with yourself. It’s about sharing your personal story with the world and shining bright like a star. 

What was your “Big Why” that drove you to start your business?

Before I launched my business, I ran a personal style blog and met many who were hiding behind the computer screen.

As an introvert, I know first hand how difficult it is to overcome insecurities and pluck up the courage to pursue your dreams.

Ever since I remember, I preferred my own company. I never put my hand up in school despite knowing the answers to the questions. People often made me feel like an outsider, because I preferred to read books rather than party until the early hours.

I was shy and felt like I was not good enough to achieve what I wanted. Despite my love for fashion and dream to become a blogger, I had a hard time getting out there.

When I initially launched my blog, the fear of being judged stopped me from promoting my work. I was shy to get in front of the camera and tell others what I do. I thought everyone would laugh at me.

After spending a lot of time on personal development, I made the decision to re-launch my online space and pursue my passion. My budget for clothes was limited but that didn’t stop me from developing my signature look aka bold colours and patterns and showing up on social media.

I’m deeply passionate about style, confidence, entrepreneurship and PR. I want all women to remember that they have the right to feel amazing and create the life they have always dreamt about.

What lights you up about your business? 

I love seeing the results that I help my ladies to get, when they discover they have the power within themselves to overcome insecurities and to create the life they desire. They realise they can be and have what they want right now. 

What do you get to do in your business that was not possible in your 9-5? 

I like the creative side of my business. Creating style lookbooks or sharing Instagram moodboards is very fulfilling.   

What daily habits do you without fail, that make a positive impact on your business day?

Journaling is my number one positive habit. I started journaling a few months ago and I can see what a massive difference it has made to my mindset.

Would you say you’re living the “freedom lifestyle” and how does it look and feel to you?

It’s still work in progress. I’m very ambitious and I often take on more than I can chew. My brain seems to never switch off as I juggle multiple projects at once. 

I’m still learning how to switch off and take breaks. I’ve always been a workaholic so unplugging doesn’t come easily to me.

Where do you see your business in two years’ time?

I have big dreams for Her Style Hive. I’d like to create a community for women where they come together and be unapologetically themselves. My goal is also to host events and to write a book.   

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to a woman who’s considering starting a business, or who’s finding the initial set up of her business longer or a little trickier than expected?

Don’t compare yourself to others and stay true to who you are. As business owners, we often look at others and wonder why we can’t be as successful as them. You can’t compare your page 1 with someone’s page 1000.

What’s your favourite motivational phrase/quote/mantra?

My favourite quote is: “Obstacles are just detours in the right direction.”

This is something I remind myself of every time something doesn’t turn out the way I wanted.

Where can we see more about you and your delightful offerings? 

My new website is currently under construction but you will be able to find me at here.

You can find also find me on: Instagram and Facebook.

And here’s my FREE Quickstart Guide to Doing Your Own PR.

It was wonderful hearing about you and your business on the Entrepreneur Spotlight, Izabela. Thank you for sharing with us, and my very best wishes to you for the future, Sharon xox

Join my free FB page to connect with me and other amazing entrepreneurs.

Have a book inside you? Have a launch coming up? Unleash your message and storytelling in Brand Storytelling Academy.

 

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Lucie Ward

Entrepreneur Spotlight focuses on amazing ladies who are rocking their online businesses.

This week we have the fabulous graphic and website designer, Lucie Ward, the founder of InkSpike Studio.

Hi Lucie, What’s your business name and what’s your business all about?

InkSpike Studio is a graphic and web design studio, specialising in helping women in passion-led, service-based business, discover their true, authentic to the core, brand identity.  

I adore working with women who have found their true calling, and are passionate about the services they provide, and the customers they serve. 

Together we go on a journey to uncover their business personality. After the research and development stages, my wonderful clients come away from the experience with a brand design they feel a deep connection with.

What was your “Big Why” that drove you to start your business?

I’ve always known I was meant to be doing something entrepreneurial, I just didn’t know what.  

There’s been this yearning, deep inside for as long as I can remember, that I was meant to be doing something.

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to stay at home and raise my two babies. During this time, I discovered Etsy. 

Being a creative (and very impulsive) type, I tried several different avenues for creating a little income so I could help contribute to the family. I opened Etsy shops selling handmade cards, jewellery design, cufflinks, and craft shows, but there was always something missing… the passion wasn’t there, and I hated the selling aspect.

I did love the brand design element though, coming up with names and logo designs was something I found really easy, and I loved the process.

But this little nugget of info somehow escaped me for quite some time!

I desperately wanted to find “my thing”, and followed every little idea I had.

A few years ago, a friend posted something on Facebook about needing a logo, so I raised my hand and offered my help. I loved every second of the process, and knew that it was something I could do. The fact that I was actually helping people made me so happy, and receiving great feedback truly lit me up!  

Not long after I set up my Facebook page, an old friend from school got in touch about needing a logo. Things seemed to just open up, I was in flow. It was like the universe had been waiting for me to find this, and opportunities seemed to appear at just the right moment.  

I was in complete alignment. 

It was, and it still is, the most magical thing. 

What lights you up about your business? 

I obviously love the creative side, but the thing that truly lights me up is knowing that I am helping people. It really is the best thing ever!

Receiving kind words and thank you cards from clients. It fills my heart with so much joy. 

What do you get to do in your business that was not possible in your 9-5? 

Freedom: I’m able to schedule my days exactly how I want or need to. I’m able to plan things around my children’s school holidays, or sick days. I can set the times I work, and work late into the night if I want to.  

Joy: As I mentioned above, my work brings pure happiness to my days. Not many people can say they love their jobs. Of course, there are things that I struggle with or I don’t enjoy quite so much within my biz, but overall, it’s a whole lot of happy!

What daily habits do you without fail, that make a positive impact on your business day?

To be completely honest with you, I don’t do this every day, I’m trying to but sometimes I don’t make time for it. When I do, meditation is one of the best ways to bring alignment and positive energy into my work day. In general, I’m pretty disorganised and chaotic in my day to day life, so when I carve out time for some quiet space, it helps me to focus, and also helps to bring new ideas to light.

Would you say you’re living the “freedom lifestyle” and how does it look and feel to you?

I think I’m getting there. I’m definitely on the right path.

My work days fit into the freedom lifestyle, as I have complete control over them, but I’m not yet able to leave my business on auto-pilot and have it generate income. So if I’m not working, my biz isn’t bringing in money. 

One of the most exciting parts of running your own business, is you can design it exactly how you want. I’m currently working on some on demand offerings that don’t require me to be involved quite so much.

Where do you see your business in two years’ time?

In two years, I will definitely still be working with awesome women in business, helping them create their dream brands, and I hope to also have a group workshop which takes people through the design process in a group setting, so a bit more DIY.  

I also have an idea for a female community and collaboration project, that I’m super excited about. I hope to have it up and running by then.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to a woman who’s considering starting a business, or who’s finding the initial set up of her business longer or a little trickier than expected?

OK, there are more than one here, I couldn’t pick just one!

If you’ve got the passion, stick with it. You will make it, but you have to be willing to stick through the tough times. 

If you know you’re meant for something but aren’t sure what, then just experiment, and keep trying. Your true path will show up. You just have to be willing to look for it, and not give up.

Also try and find some business friends. Not long after I started my business, I joined The FEA Members Club, and met a couple of local women who were also just starting out in their business. We meet up often, and are on Messenger throughout the day. Just having the support of people who understand the struggles of creating your own business is a complete game changer!

What’s your favourite motivational phrase/quote/mantra?

Ahh there are so many!!!! Embrace your weird is something I tend to live by though!

Where can we see more about you and your delightful offerings? 

You can find me over at my website InkSpike Studio, and on Facebook and Instagram.

It was wonderful hearing about you and your business on the Entrepreneur Spotlight, Lucie. Thank you for sharing with us, and my very best wishes to you for the future, Sharon xox

Join my free FB page and community to connect with me and other amazing entrepreneurs.

Have a book inside you? Have a launch coming up? Unleash your message and storytelling in Brand Storytelling Academy.