Behind the Scenes with Confetti by Annette Studio
October 13, 2014
Over the last two years, we've had the opportunity to interview some pretty amazing people. From bloggers to business owners, artists to designers. And in those interviews, we have selfishly stolen so many amazing snippets of advice that have helped us to think in new ways. Today, the lovely Annette Stepanian of Confetti by Annette is sharing just that...little nuggets of advice for doing what you love, and thriving at the same time.
SMP: We heard that prior to starting Confetti by Annette, you were a lawyer! How did you make the transition into jewelry designer?

Annette: Confetti by Annette is a result of taking a leap of faith to create a life I love. Although I enjoy the intellectual challenges of the law, my life was starting to feel a bit, well, beige. I longed for more art and color in my life. So I took some time off from my job just to explore and play.

Once I started paying attention, I realized that I had always had an interest in jewelry and accessories, expressing itself in subtle ways: using my allowance as a child to make necklaces from beads I bought at the local bead store; getting lost in the curated collections of Bulgari and Cartier during weekend visits to the museum; finding the perfect rhinestone ring collecting dust in a shelf corner of a Paris flea market; or simply taking that extra minute to complete my wardrobe with a statement necklace before I left for work.

With this love of jewelry and accessories in mind, I took a stab at creating my own. I love the process: from initial concept, to sourcing materials, to constructing the pieces. But above all, I love that I can create something that delivers joy, beauty and inspiration to others.
SMP: During those first few months with your new business, what were your biggest obstacles and fears?

Annette: There were so many, but they all stemmed from a place of fear – fear of failure & fear of not being good enough. I think many people can relate to this. There is a vulnerability that comes with putting your heart into creating something and releasing it out into the world and opening it up for judgment by others. Fear is smart – it rears its ugly head in so many ingenious ways like perfectionism or procrastination. Identifying that and working through it has been the most challenging part of starting a business. It has also served as the biggest success for me as it has brought with it tremendous personal growth. Learning so many valuable lessons on my journey made me want to help others as well. I began coaching other like-minded entrepreneurs to work through how they too can find clarity and put all those ideas into action.
SMP: What was the first piece of jewelry that you ever sold?

Annette: Our “Hello Daisy” earrings which are made of Swarovski® crystal filigree with a smoky gray and clear crystals. I’ve heard from a number of customers that strangers will actually compliment them on these earrings while they are waiting in line for coffee or waiting for a table at a restaurant. Hearing that just makes my heart break out in a big smile because I know that the extended compliment probably made my customer’s day.
SMP: Tell us about your current collection and what it is inspired by.

Annette: I’m currently working on a collection inspired by the romance and beauty of Paris. I’m planning my wedding in Paris in the coming months and it’s just the most beautiful backdrop and source of inspiration for new designs. Being in love in a city that I love has created a wealth of ideas that I can't wait to share! In fact one preview piece was just recently added to the shop.
SMP: The greatest lesson in business you’ve ever learned?

Annette: Get out of the building - this is great advice from Steve Blank and Bob Dorf’s “The Start-Up Owner’s Manual” which preaches the importance of getting out of the office and meeting potential customers to gain insight on whether your product or service really has teeth. I like to add to the concept: in today’s age of technology, it’s so easy to get stuck behind a computer — doing busy work that makes you feel like you’re making progress, when in fact you're just fooling yourself. I fall into this trap all the time. Redesigning your website template for the billionth time is not going to get people to buy your product. You have to get out of the building and cultivate and maintain the human connection by meeting customers, buyers, and other small business owners.
SMP: One piece of advice for those looking to break into the jewelry industry?

Annette: Know thyself. Jewelry is a very saturated market, so you have to figure out what sets you apart from the next designer. Remember that you are unique and have your own story to tell and rely on that when you are designing. With that said, know that your work will not resonate with everyone. And that’s ok. There are plenty of people out there who will gravitate towards what you have to offer.
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SMP: What are three pieces of jewelry every woman should own?

Annette: A beautiful pair of studs. They are timeless and will never go out of style. If you can’t afford the diamonds, CZs are just as beautiful. I always say, never leave home without some sparkle and studs are an easy way to keep on sparkling.

A bold statement piece. A statement necklace, a cocktail ring, a timepiece or a pair of chandelier earrings. I believe wearing a bold piece displays self-confidence and communicates a sense of enthusiasm about life. Plus it’s a no-brainer for dressing up a basic outfit like blue jeans and a t-shirt or a little black dress. A statement piece is a super easy way to add a pop of visual interest without a lot of effort.

A sentimental piece. Whether they are the initials of a loved one, a meaningful piece, or an heirloom passed down from your grandmother, a sentimental piece can connect you with an important person in your life or a beautiful memory.