This interview is the first in our new series, “About Her Business,” which focuses on the achievements of single women around the country. Our first interviewee is Kim Turner, owner of the jewelry business Elizabeth in Pearls based in Oakland, California.
TSU: Thanks for taking the time for this interview! Tell us about your business, Elizabeth In Pearls. What kind of products or services do you offer?
EIP: Elizabeth In Pearls is a jewelry and accessories company that offers a variety of eclectic jewelry and accessories. It is named after my grandmothers, Elizabeth (Grandmommy) and Pearl (Ma Pearl.) We offer our main Elizabeth In Pearls collection for women, our House Of VintEdge (vintage inspired or vintage remixed) collection and our Cuff and Lawrence: For Men collection for men. Our men’s collection is named after my grandfathers, Cuff (Paw-Paw) and Lawrence (Granddaddy). In addition, Elizabeth In Pearls offers jewelry making classes/workshops for children, youth, and adults and we have recently added working with girls to focus on self-love and sisterhood.
TSU: What inspires your work?
EIP: My work is inspired by culture, color, nature, form and my ancestors. I am also inspired by individuality. When a person walks through life as herself/himself and honors her/his individuality, it is inspiring to me.
One of my biggest inspirations is my ancestors and their sheer will to be; to live. The best way I can relay how that translates to my jewelry, is that in spite of all of their struggle, there was still a sense of vibrancy and a story to be told and heard. I look to create vibrant pieces that are expressive and speak to people.
TSU: Walk us through your process. Where do you start when you’ve got an idea for a new design?
EIP: My process mainly starts with seeing something that inspires me. I don’t usually sketch my ideas. I generally start pulling items and putting them next to each other to see if I like how they play off of one another. It’s a harmonious process and I’m not rigid with it. If I have an idea to do something but the materials are speaking to each other and me in a different way, I go with that. I find that if I force something, it turns out to not be what it wants to be or what I want it to be.
TSU: What experiences have influenced how you approach your business today?
EIP: I’m always learning. So with that said, I’m constantly experiencing a new question I should be asking or a new angle from which I should be looking. It’s interesting to speak with other business owners and see some of the strategies they use for their businesses. This doesn’t mean their strategies will necessarily have the same effect on my business but it’s good to gather the information and determine, sometimes through trial and error, what will work best for me.
TSU: What’s the most challenging aspect of leading your own business? The most rewarding?
EIP: This question always makes me laugh because the most challenging aspect is also one of the most rewarding aspects, which is that I am responsible for everything! Everything is on my shoulders as I’m cultivating this business, which is an extension of me. I am the boss, the final say and the one who catches any heat that may come my way!
There are so many rewarding things! One of them is that I get to see people enjoying and wearing jewelry I designed and created. It always makes me smile and think about how they are wearing an extension of my thoughts. If someone could take a peek into my mind, they would see the jewelry pieces living there, maybe not in their final form but in some state of creation.
TSU: What are your goals for Elizabeth in Pearls in 2017?
EIP: In 2017, I have goals to expand into more boutiques, expand the work with girls, create more pieces for productions and travel more in the United States and abroad, with Elizabeth In Pearls.
TSU: Any advice for women looking to start their own ventures?
EIP: My advice for women looking to start their own ventures, whatever those may be, is to GO FOR IT! Although fear is real, don’t allow it to hold you back. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend you are encouraging. In other words, respect and congratulate yourself on each step and love yourself through your mistakes. Be a cheerleader for yourself and also know which friends and family members will be a cheerleader for you.
Owning your own business or stepping out to do something new can have so many challenges and be quite difficult. However, remember that challenges grow us and help us really live who we are.
TSU: Where can we find Elizabeth in Pearls’ products?