If you’re an active twitter user, odds are you’ve come across photos of lovely girls in beautiful chokers. It’s a pretty common occurrence within the world of twitter and tumblr due to the rise of grunge and alternative fashion once again.
Whether you’ve realized it or not, you’ve probably seen a fair amount of Gianna Caruso’s creations. Her shop, Raven Beads and Designs has taken the twittersphere by storm, and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon myself.
I had the opportunity to speak with Gianna about her work and what it’s like to own your own business.
Trust me guys, if you’re in need of some new jewelry, this is the place to look.
In simple terms, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Gianna Caruso, I’m a 2ndyear business student in the State University of New York college system and owner of RavenBeadsandDesigns.com.
What made you want to start your business?
I started my business as a coping mechanism when I became ill with thyroid disease. The illness forced me to quit my job and temporarily drop out of college and I found myself desperately needing something to do with my hands. I’ve always loved creating things and with absolutely no experience I decided to try my hand at jewelry making. I accidentally stumbled into a successful business, primarily because chokers and healing crystals had suddenly became HUGE.
What sets Raven Beads and Designs apart from other online shops?
I’d say what sets my shop apart is the sheer amount of time I put into my work, this is my job, my hobby, and passion. With me, it’s all or nothing. I work for hours each day, until my hands are raw. I even brought my jewelry supplies with me on my family vacation.
What have been some of the challenges and victories you’ve faced while owning your own business?
It definitely can get tricky, as with any small business, there are some days where you have so many orders you can’t take a breath, and others with none. Regardless, I love my work and I strive everyday to make the most quality pieces I can for my amazing customers. Despite the occasional struggles, I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I saw a stranger wearing one of my chokers at the mall, wow!
How has the internet played a role in your growth and expansion as a brand?
Without twitter I wouldn’t have a business. The wonderful community of online activists and feminists welcomed me with open arms two years ago. Those same people were my very first customers, helping my little creative startup go from 0 to 100 real quick.
If there’s one thing you could change about this journey so fat, what would it be?
I have very few regrets about the path I’ve taken. If I could change anything it would be the way I handle the stresses of having a business, I tend to find myself thinking of nothing else and obsessing over little things I can’t control. Every day I have to remind myself that I’m only human and not every path is smooth.
And finally, what advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business?
If you want to start your own business, by all means go for it! My number one piece of advice would be to treat your customers like royalty and never make excuses, there is nothing more frustrating than indifferent or downright nasty customer service. Greet everyone with a smile and it’ll always end up being okay!