Friday, June 13, 2014

Mind Your Business: An Interview with Bad Bad Jewelry's Sarah Westergren

Last Thursday I opened up to you guys about my dream of creating my own line of beachwear and starting my own business and the support I got from you all was amazing!  I was really blown away by the positive responses I received from you guys - I even got a few customers already and I hadn't even started yet!

All of that positive energy just fueled my passion and desire to push forward with this whole plan of breaking away from the corporate shit hole that I'm currently in and getting to a place where I can not only do what I love, but be financially stable to support myself and my family as well.  I've read several books and articles on "building your own business" and "leaving the corporate world" but I still had a hard time connecting my life to what I was reading.  All those people who had this brilliant idea, or were already financially stable, or just had a knack for getting others to buy crap - where the hell do I fit in?  Beachwear has already been done a thousand times over (hello, PacSun?) so it's not something new, and I have about $43.72 in my bank account right now and still haven't paid this month's bills.  I felt like my business dream was a lost cause.

Then along came Sarah.

 Check out that smile!!
Sarah has been an idol of mine for quite some time. She is the owner, creator, and designing mastermind behind Bad Bad Jewelry.  If you've been hanging out with me around here for a while, you'd probably already know about Bad Bad Jewelry and my infatuation with it.  If you don't know, Bad Bad Jewelry is a unique and awesome jewelry line that is not only cute and can be worn easily, but is also fun and empowering and shows a bit of your wilder side.  Cute and bad ass.  Like Chun-Li.

I reached out to Sarah last month for a bit of help while I was getting some thoughts together for giveaway ideas and she responded graciously and asked for my help to spread the word about her campaign to raise funds to expand her company.  Since her jewelry is amazing and I had a huge girl crush on her and everything she stands for I was all, "hell yeah!" and thus, our friendship was born.  After that first response from her I was basically living in fangirl world.  She was doing what I had always dreamed of doing and I wanted to BE her. 

After emailing back and forth, I was able to get to know her a little more and realized how down-to-earth and funny she really is.  She's got the mouth of a sailor, she stands up for what she believes in, and she doesn't have life figured out yet.  She's just like us!

So, naturally, I thought to myself, "well, she's just like me, so if she can do it I could too" and being that I still didn't know jack shit about where to start, I did what any strong-willed, independent woman would do:  ask for directions.  And since the best and most honest advice comes from your friends, I asked my newest friend Sarah a couple questions about how she got started with Bad Bad Jewelry.  Check out what she had to say:

1. Did you always want to be a jewelry designer?

The straight answer is no. What I have always wanted to do was work for myself. I was the only girl in my family of four kids, so I am naturally bossy. I was 5 when I came up with my first business idea. I wanted to house stray dogs and start an adoption program. I drew out the kennel blueprint (basically a large rectangle with lines separating the kennels on a piece of notebook paper) and pitched it to my parents and insisted that this structure be put up in our large backyard. Unfortunately, and fortunately, my parents did not fund my pitch, but I never stopped dreaming up different businesses. Several yeast later I had the idea of selling gumballs in place of the popular lemonade stand like the other kids. I broke even that gumball afternoon. I was horrible with numbers.

2.  What was it that made you finally stop dreaming about it and start doing it?

I sold jewelry for a large jewelry company. After a month of attempting to coordinate house parties, and selling pieces here and there (thanks Mom) I realized I could make better quality jewelry at a lower price and with less of a mainstream look. There were a few techniques I needed to learn first. So one weekend, instead of my regular routine of going out and partying with girl friends, I stayed in and taught myself how to wire wrap. After a few weeks I made 3 dozen pieces, brought them to work, laid them out in the break room for my coworkers , and sold over $300 in that hour. I took special orders for all the popular pieces that sold out. That was a pivotal moment for me. It was clear that people bought from me because they actually liked my work and not as a favor. That changed everything for me.

3.  What is the best business advice you've gotten?

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, its actually an older book by Susan Jeffers. The book changed my life and gave me the guts and reassurance to take risks in business. I have always been a risk taker according to my dad who watched me bomb the biggest hills at our local ski resort, get back on a dirt bike an hour after I crashed into a barbed-wire fence, and speak the hardest truths at almost every opportunity. The scariest things I have ever done have all revolved around my business, and I think they are the scariest because out of everything I enjoy in life, running a creative business is what makes me come alive. I’m a visionary and I’ll do what it takes to see my vision come to life, and that means doing things that other people aren’t willing to do. If I don't follow through with ideas, than I just have a ton of open-ended projects and ideas cluttering my living room and my mind. It's hard to be in spaces like that, nothing gets done. Want me to bottom line my answer? Grow some balls, take action, and don’t look back.

4.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I will have carved out a niche for Bad Bad, preferably in the fitness realm. I will always be creating and may possibly expand to a very simple line of workout clothes, mostly for selfish reasons because I dislike the options that are currently on the market today.

Ultimately it's clear that I love empowering women to fully walk in their purpose and calling. I would love to speak at more women's events and continue to share about self-empowerment, taking risks, and really owning life.

I’ve been working out like a maniac to transform my body, so I would also love to be on the cover of a fitness magazine within 5 years. (Hey, I have fitness goals too)

5.  Any words of advice for people who are looking to pursue their dreams?

Yes, for fucks sake and all things holy, create and do what you love. Life is short, if there is something that brings you the type of joy to your core and makes you feel childlike and giddy, do THAT and keep doing that. People are attracted to other people's passion and energy. Don't let fear or haters stop you. Fear is only in the mind. Haters don't have lives outside of pointing the finger while sitting on their couch or behind their computer. I’d rather be hated on than be the one doing the hating.

The most important advice I can give is to laugh at your mistakes and give yourself a lot of grace. After all, this is life, and we are all just making it up as we go along.


Isn't she awesome?  Don't you just want her to be your best friend?  I know I do.

Sarah's campaign for Bad Bad Jewelry is still going on right now and I know you wonderful people are going to hop right on over and check it out, right?  Good.  This blogging community is so wonderful and supportive, I just know you guys are sending your positive vibes out to Sarah right now!  And because I know you're thinking "what's in it for me?" each contribution comes with a perk!  So basically it's a win/win - and we all love those.  So whaddaya waiting for?  Go on and share the love and get your Bad Bad on!

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  1. Love this. And I hope you chase your dreams with the swimsuit line girlie!

  2. She sounds awesome hell I was inspired to start a business and that isnt even my dream LOL

  3. OMG so, so inspiring - thank you for posting this! And I'm glad you're even more serious about pursuing your venture :))


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