Hey ladies! I’m back and better than ever. Yes, I took a little hiatus when sophomore year of college hit me like a ton of bricks… but here I am. Back in the saddle and ready to introduce a new little segment I’m going to call Girl Boss. It’s about… you guessed it… girl bosses. One of the reasons I’ve been far from posting recently is because my friend Courtney and I have actually started a business called Pocket Change. We thrift clothes, style them in shoots, and then sell them via Instagram! It’s taken off so quickly, and we are so so grateful. Because of this endeavor, I have a new found appreciation and respect for women, or anyone, who is bold enough to step out and start their own business. It’s really intimidating and scary at first, but following your passion, whatever that is, is so worth it. Today I’m going to share with you guys an amazing handmade jewelry company called M.Leoni, and the woman behind it, Marie Nguyen.
Marie sent me some amazing sample pieces (as you can see in the photo above) and they are all so so beautiful and wonderful quality. I get compliments on them every time I wear them! The statement pieces seriously turn heads, and I took some pictures in some of my favorites below! But the more delicate pieces in Emma’s Collection are so great for day to day wear. I wear the dainty string of pearl necklace all the time with casual outfits and feel instantly more put together when I do!
Here’s a little interview with the brains behind M.Leoni, Marie. I hope you guys enjoy!
Why did you start M.Leoni?
Well, I started making jewelry because just for myself, but I didn’t start wearing it until later. When I finally built up the confidence to start wearing it, some of my friends started to notice, and they really liked it! And they were always like “Ahh! Where did you get that?” And I remember one of my friends, Lisa… our kids had the same piano teacher. So once when I took my kids to piano lessons I ran into Lisa, and I was wearing one of my pieces for the first time. When we were talking, I noticed she was not looking at my face! And I’m like “oh my gosh, is there something on my shirt? Did I spill something?” But then she finally said “Oh I really like your necklace!” And as we continued our conversation she kept coming back to the necklace, until finally she asked me “Okay where did you get that necklace? It’s really pretty!” So I started making more pieces, and the same thing kept happening. Another friend of mine asked me where I got the piece I was wearing, and she was the first one who actually bought it off my neck! She said, “ah can I just get that one?”
I really don’t know anything about jewelry, but having two girls… I did everything with them. We did everything together, and one of our favorite activities was jewelry making. We would make jewelry at birthday parties and little things… and that’s really how I got started.
What would you say is your inspiration for the jewelry you make? I know you mentioned your daughters, do they have anything to do with how or why you create the pieces that you do?
Wow, I have to kind of think about this one! Well originally what I really wanted to do, and still do, is have really good quality products at a really good price. I really wanted them to be affordable. So that’s kind of what I was aiming for first and foremost with the products. My two girls really are my inspiration. Emma’s Collection I created for my two girls. I started out with the statement pieces like the pendant that you mentioned, I did a lot of those. I used a lot of African beads and things like that. But finally Emma, my youngest, said “Mommy we can’t really wear those pieces that you’re making.” So in a way she really challenged me, and I came up with Emma’s Collection, and she loves it and they both love it.
I love that you named a collection after your daughter. I’m realizing more and more after starting my own business with Courtney that there is so much more that goes into it than you initially expect! Or at least that’s how it was for me. That’s kind of why I was inspired to do this segment, Girl Boss, because I want it to kind of give people a taste of what it really looks like to chase a dream like this one! What challenges have you faced as you’ve begun this journey in starting a small business?
Marketing. I do not have a business background, I was originally a physician’s assistant! So I really did not know anything about marketing at all coming into it. I would say in the beginning all I did was Trunk Shows, and all of my friends really encouraged me to pursue it, but I kept going back and forth about it. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I really loved doing it. But the biggest challenge has definitely been getting my product out there and trying to do new and different things.
What’s your favorite thing about owning your own business?
Being able to create and meeting new people are definitely my favorite things.
What is one piece of advice or encouragement that you would give someone who has hopes of starting their own business, but aren’t sure that they can?
I think you have to really be passionate about it and be committed to it. i would also say really know the business you’re getting into. Having connections is great. but i think just really doing your research if you’re like me and don’t have a business degree. I think if I could go back I really wouldn’t mind taking a class or something for business. I just felt like i was clueless at first. Like “oh great, I can create, I have all of these pieces… but what’s next?” I think you just really have to study it and be committed to it, and then just really be passionate about whatever it may be that you want to pursue, whether that’s knitting or cooking or making jewelry or whatever it may be for you.
That about sums it up, folks! Shout out to Marie for following her dreams. I wish you the very best in this endeavor! Girls, go check out the website at Mleoni.com and follow them on Instagram at @mleoni.jewelry!
Do you guys have aspirations or goals of creating your own business? Maybe you actually have your own business or Etsy shop and have your own advice to give! Let me know down in the comments! I hope you guys are
having an amazing Christmas season thus far, and let me just say, I am so glad to be back.