An Interview with Gina Wright, CEO of Sonya Renee Jewelry
Earlier last week, we had the privilege of interviewing Gina Wright, CEO of Sonya Renee Jewelry in Dallas, Texas. Gina tells us all about the jewelry industry, how she designs her pieces, tips for new entrepreneurs and so much more.
Good morning Gina, thank you for joining me, let’s get right into the thick of things here –
1) What’s the story behind Sonya Renee Jewelry?
SR was created after years of dabbling in hobby crafts, eBay selling and local holiday craft shows. I took up jewelry making in high school and had fun discovering bead shops. The first items I sold for profit were hemp necklaces and bracelets followed by custom prom jewelry with Swarovski crystals. I wish I'd kept some of those hemp creations, they were labors of love, sitting hunched over, with a cord tied to my big toe to weave the 5 or 7 string pattern intermittently adding beads along the way. It wasn't until 2002 that I thought I could actually make a living at it, surely the jewelry featured in magazines that looked just like mine were being produced by successful entrepreneurs?
2) Did you always want to own your own business? If so, did you always want to have your own jewelry business?
I never knew I could own my own business, it kind of just happened at a very basic level (me make necklace, you buy it) and then I eventually had to learn how to incorporate, file taxes, build a website, hire people, etc. I never thought at any point, "I'm going to grow up and be a small business owner," such thoughts did not occur. I did however express interest to my Dad from a young age that I wanted to be a fashion designer and I would spend hours sketching outfits. Creativity flowed, mostly late at night when I felt like the rest of the world was asleep, my brain was busy making beautiful dresses. Now that I think back, I did have two dresses stitched together by a local seamstress for high school dances. One was merlot colored satin with an open back cut into the shape of a heart.
3) Where do you see Sonya Renee Jewelry in 5 years? 10 years?
Don't we all see ourselves running the world in 5 or 10 years? Whatever that means to each of us individually, I think there is something about self-starters who never stop dreaming the big dream. If I won the mega jackpot today I'd just f#$%n' travel and get a personal trainer. 😊
4) How do you come up with the designs for your pieces? Do you use certain trends?
Sometimes we do jump on trends, but the majority of the time we’re just thinking, what is our collection lacking? Can we add a chunky dome ring in brushed gold or is that not cool. Often we are inspired by the season, for example, summer is so fun for layering lots of bracelets and wearing a white tank top with a nice tan, then throw in a pop of color like turquoise tassel earrings.
5) You’re very successful for a young business owner, what would you say to anyone looking to start their own business or jewelry line?
I am???? For anyone with a dream, do your homework and learn your industry and competitors, examine them. Study the business plans of successful brands like yours and emulate but differentiate. Also, don't quit your day job until you can quit your day job.