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My Journey to becoming a Jeweler and Entrepreneur

Natasha Carr-Ottaviano

Posted on June 27 2015

I’ve been avoiding opening up for a long time but now I’m gonna get real. Here, I will share my stories, the ups and downs...

This is my Journey to becoming a Jeweler and Entrepreneur

Born a military brat I've been fortunate to travel the world and gain inspiration from many unique places. My mom raised me on her own, while proudly serving in the Air Force.  She was only 21 when I was born.  She is the strongest woman I know.

I have a family that is filled with creatives and amazing artists. But for myself, I have always looked at my creativity as a hobby. Deciding to move to LA when I was 18, I had to work multiple jobs to make ends-meet. Getting caught-up in the day-to-day is easy but I knew I needed a change and wanted something more. At 23, working as a bartender/server, I knew I had to find the strength to do what I love. I started a Wednesday Craft Night with my girlfriends to find my inspiration.

I've always been super crafty but never thought of it as a career. There were a lot of Jewelry making nights and my beads collection grew immensely. From this craft night I started getting a lot of positive feedback about my work and decided to go to local farmers markets and events.

People were really responding to my jewelry! I couldn't believe it I was so excited! Folding napkins at my job I just knew, I gotta do it! I needed to do something I was passionate about and not worry about the security of a "normal" job. At first, I applied to jewelry assembler positions, but for fun applied to higher designer positions at big name companies (never sell yourself short) and I couldn't believe it when I got an interview with the biggest LA pearl company at the time. I went through three vigorous interviews and creating processes. To my amazement, I got the job.

I not only got the job, I also became the head designer!  I worked around millions of dollars worth of pearls everyday and loved it. I created designs I was super happy about and they were selling! I went to my first JCK jewelry show with the company and sold a three figure amount of my designs to several buyers. I was bamboozled, a home shopping network who bought my designs approached me about being on their show and I was ecstatic but extremely nervous! Unfortunately my company did not want me to go on the show so I had an outburst not understanding the reasoning and just took a chance, I quit. 

Shaking in my boots I decided to start my own business, young and naive, I had little experience in running my own business and had to decide how I would make my mark. Always looking for something new and innovative, I created a necklace you could wear 60 different ways, my Convertible Necklace. I got in contact with the woman who wanted me to be on the network, bought a plane ticket, and traveled with my designs. Within three months of leaving the company, I had a chance to make my business possible!

With determination on my side (along with hesitation), I was given an opportunity to sell my designs on the network but needed to produce thousands of my pieces in a matter of four months! What’s a girl to do? I had no clue about how to go about finding manufacturers, getting the money to pay for it, trademarks, business licenses, gulp...guess I gotta figure it out. I contacted so many manufacturers and finally found one who was willing to do the job ... however, they could only produce half of the order. Now these aren't the quickest or easiest necklaces to make, not only were they long but I had to hand-knot in-between each bead and gemstone.  So I needed some serious help.

I sent some to my Mom, Aunt, and a couple friends.  My friends and I, sat in my apartment for three months and hand knotted pearls and gemstones.  We were exhausted and our fingers were worn. I looked like a wild beast! I worked up until the day of the show. I finished pendants on the plane, and earrings in my hotel room but I was on my way.

Are you wondering: How it went? What happened next?

Would you like to hear more of my story? Stay tuned for more next week!

What was a time you decided to take a chance? Tell me about your journeys, stories, and/or nervous business anxieties in the comments below!

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