Jewelry designer Fran Green did it! She followed her passion and started up her own business. Read on for her thoughts on this exhilarating journey.
Take time to recover - After retiring, it’s important to set aside time to relax. The switch from working full time to zero will affect you physically and emotionally. Although some think one must have a plan in place Day 1 after retiring, it depends on the individual. I decided to take a break, enjoy each day and let it unfold. One thing that is important to me was to have a creative outlet and since I loved jewelry, that was what I chose
Follow your passion - I didn’t start out wanting to have a jewelry design business. I was loving the freedom of the creative process, being able to do it whenever I wanted, unconstrained by work pressures. Other women loved what I made so it evolved from there.
Following my passion allows me to create jewelry women love; I get to meet amazing women and it allows me many opportunities to give back. Age isn’t an issue when you do what you love. It’s actually an advantage because I have the maturity to know what I love to do. Also, for those who have a passion in another field, being older has the benefits of experience and adds credibility. I will continue to make jewelry until I don’t want to any more. Artists don’t stop painting because they reach a certain age; actors don’t leave the stage because they’re over 40.
Courage – Deciding to go the retail route after my home parties meant I had to make a choice. At my age, I wasn’t interested in starting small. Being older provided a different perspective. I could approach a small boutique or take a risk and “go for the gold” by approaching the founder and owner of the top women’s boutique in Ottawa, Marlene Shepherd. It took a lot of courage to approach her and I was scared. Terrified, actually. But it was worth the risk. Marlene has been an amazing mentor and helped me build a terrific second career, transforming my life in an amazing way. Not only do I get to have my jewelry carried at the top boutique in Ottawa, but I also have lots of fun modelling fabulous clothes!
To grow my business beyond Ottawa, I have to be courageous when I approach retailers. Sometimes they are interested; sometimes not. It’s not like I am putting my life at risk. All they can say is “no or not right now”. I love what I do and I am willing to be courageous to move forward.
Self-Care – Running a business, even part-time, has its challenges - taxes, cataloguing, creating a look book, deadlines for shows, managing a website and business development, etc. Along with caring for a parent with serious health issues, it can be very stressful. I make it a priority to ensure that my “tank is full” so that I can tap into it, when needed. I practice yoga which calms and relaxes me, along with the other benefits. I take days off to re-charge my energy and creativity so that I am more productive and available, when needed.
Balance – As much as I love creating jewelry, it’s not my entire life. I retired from a very fulfilling but stressful career which consumed me. I have a wonderful husband and lifestyle, allowing me to go to Florida for the winter. It would be easy to let the jewelry business become full-time but I realized that would not be what I needed or what was right for me. At this time in my life, I have control of how I spend my time. It takes discipline, setting aside parts of each day to work on my business; the other part either spending time with my husband or my mother or socializing with friends. When I go to Florida for the winter, I enjoy tennis and entertaining but I still find time to make jewelry and attend gem shows to find new and interesting materials. It’s my passion, after all.
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