Dani's Playground: Jewellery, Love and Compassion
Who are small business owners who love what they do?
One day Dani entered a shop to fix her broken bracelet...Fast-forward and she is the founder of a unique jewellery studio Aetra! What happened?
1. Once upon a time …
There was a girl who was interested in objects. When she was 15 she enjoyed making jewellery. But she grew up and started doing other things. Then one day in 2012, in her father's hometown of Patras, she entered a workshop looking to fix her broken bracelet... In this shop, she met two goldsmiths and decided to ask them if she could learn from them. They said yes! One thing led to another.. and three years ago she moved from being an apprentice to a jewellery designer and opened her own business – Aetra Studio!
2. What was the first step you took when starting Aetra?
Joining the goldsmith’s workshop was one of the first major steps. At first, I thought I would become a goldsmith. But by working with them, I changed my mind. Even though I enjoyed working with my hands, thinking about the business aspect, I understood that I have limited time and the part where I want to invest it is the design. So I decided to find local partners to support me in creating the actual jewellery. In Greece, we have a long tradition of artisans, and in this way, I can contribute more to the local community, fair play and generally sustainability.
3. What did you learn about yourself through your business?
I learned that I am in the process and that it’s both fun and scary. I also understood that it is a lonely job and that although I started with the idea of being a jewellery designer, as a solopreneur I need to be everything: an accountant, a marketing person, an SEO expert and it almost seems that designing takes maybe a 5th place in crafting Aetra.
Looking back at how I changed over the past 3 years, I see that I needed to become more organized, more disciplined and generally conscious of my time.
4. What brings a smile when you think about your business?
When people love what I do! And when they wear it. This is the reward.
5. What was your first mistake and how do you see it now?
There are so many. I didn't realize how much of an investment do I need. I thought I will just start it, but then realized the cost of having an accountant, the taxes, how much you need to invest a lot in promotion and prototyping... If I were to do it again, I would advise myself to make a better business plan, set goals and stay focused.
6. How much do different environments influence your work?
A lot. My design started like an autobiographical story from the 3 countries of my life: Brasil, Greece and Germany. Brazil is so intense and full of life, Berlin is more edgy, sharp and the weather is dark and in Greece.. it’s something in between. My first launch had 3 lines dedicated to each place.
7. What do we need more of?
Love. Compassion. Understanding. When you love yourself you also do better things outside. And the way to do that is to look after the people who are close to you. It’s a small-big step and it’s something that is easily doable.
8. Finally, is there something you wish I asked?
Do you have any hobbies? What you do in your spare time also busts your life. I like to walk, listen to music, do sports, and play music. This helps me to keep going.
P.S. Find Aetra on Instagram here.
P.S.S. If you need a bit of support to work on your own playground, check us out.