A Gem of a Business

A Gem of a Business

Polish-born jeweller Kamila Lipska has her own online jewellry store – www.mylippi.com, and has lived for five years in Barcelona. However, it was to London that she headed in search of someone willing to share their business experience with her. She attended the London Meet a Mentor event in October 2014.

Although she studied marketing and management at university, Kamila was always fascinated by jewellry. She was particularly drawn to the idea of making her own, as she couldn’t find the items she really wanted. She recalls:

“I was always looking for something I couldn’t find so I decided to try to make jewellry myself. I found a public school and went there to learn.”

Having spent some time studying her craft, Kamila secured a place at a private school, which is where she really honed her skills, learning from truly knowledgeable and creative people:

“It was really inspiring because the school was run by artists – the best in Poland. I learnt authentic crafts and skills. We were learning new techniques, how to understand metals and how to work with them.”

Having honed her craft, Kamila made the move to Barcelona where she initially worked in an office, making jewellry and taking extra classes in her spare time. More recently she’s quit the day job and dedicated herself to her business full time:

“Right now I’m really focusing on making products. I’m not working in an office anymore, I’m just at home designing and making. I’m also working hard on promoting mylippi.com through social media and through my website.”

In fact, there’s one particular audience that Kamila would like to reach with her handmade, stylish products:

“I’m really focused on the UK market. I would say it’s my main market. It’s where I want to go and where I want to be! I want to make sure I have some traction and then move to London. That’s why I started going to workshops in London last year and Meet a Mentor was one of them.”

With her sights set on building a UK customer base, and as someone with few connections in Britain, Kamila attended the Meet a Mentor event with a particular type of individual in mind:

“My business is specialist, and it’s fashion and accessories so I was looking for a mentor who understood the UK and its markets – someone who could really help me find out where I should be, where I should go, how I should speak to retailers or shops.”

One of the things that make Kamila’s products so special is her dedication to using only the finest of materials and setting each piece only with ethically sound stones:

“My jewellry is silver combined with gold. I use stones but only trackable stones. I would never use diamonds because 50% of the market is still not trackable. I like white stones, for example white amber, which is very typically from Poland. I also like to work with Swarovski crystals. Although they’re not precious stones they’re so perfectly cut like a diamond. They give a lot of reflection to play with. Many times I go to the shop and just look for something different but all trackable, all from Europe.”

Kamila avoids importing either metals or stones from further afield than Europe because she needs to be able to guarantee quality.

Despite having an academic background in marketing, the jeweller doesn’t feel communications are her strength and support in this area is something she’d like to gain from a potential mentor, as she explains:

“I’m really good at emailing and at trade marketing but social media is something I’m learning right now and I’m not a master of it. For sure, communication is something a mentor could help me with. I think it could be the difference between being successful and being unknown.”

When it comes to the financial side of the business, forecasting and setting figures down accurately, Kamila is more confident. It also seems significant that the particular Meet a Mentor event she attended was run for female entrepreneurs:

“I’m writing a blog about experiences I want to share with women because they’re my target customers. I want to tell them where I am from, where I am right now and the steps in the middle. There were some difficult times. I am from a very poor family. To study it meant I had to get a scholarship. I had to be really good at school. I have a thousand small stories that might make women feel they can go further – they can do what they really want but they have to work on it.”

You can see Kamila’s jewellry and read her blog at www.mylippi.com