Chic Interview with Anna Swonetz

Written by chicceo Published in

We had the great pleasure of working with Anna Swonetz of anna bee jewelry and Swan + Saxon for our SxSW V2V event we put on in Vegas this year. We were also lucky enough to get a Swan + Saxon custom bracelet into the swag bags that we gave away to VIP's at the event and people could not stop talking about them. The jewelry and design is just beautiful.

We recently also had the opportunity to chat with Anna about her entrepreneurial journey:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, etc.
My name is Anna Swonetz. I grew up in Nottingham England and moved to America in 2005 when I met me husband in the Yucatan on a photo shoot. I currently live in San Diego with my husband Brad who is a photographer, 20 month old daughter, Sia and dog, Bear.

2. When did you decide that you were going to start your first business?
I have always wanted to start my own business for as long as I can remember. I just didn't know what it would be. When I moved here I helped start my husband's Photography business. I was his manager, agent, producer, art director and basically everything that didn't involve taking the actual picture. I liked it and got to go to some great places, but didn't feel like it was something I wanted to do forever. I took every opportunity that came my way believing that if I did, something would present itself. My mother in law took me to a jewelry party and I liked the idea of what they were doing, but didn't like the actual jewelry that was there and thought, "I could do that in my style". I came home and told Brad that I had figured out what I was going to do. The next day I started Anna Bee Jewelry.

3. What was the transition process like for you?
It was exciting, scary and completely overwhelming as I think it is to most people even if they know what they are doing. I didn't have a clue! I taught myself to make jewelry and have no business training or knowledge of how to run a business. I have literally figured it out as I have gone along.

4. What is a major challenge you've faced and how did you overcome it?
Trying to find balance is definitely my biggest challenge. I am kind of a workaholic (as are most entrepreneurs I am sure) and trying to find balance between working and my personal life is always a struggle. Having my daughter has helped a lot though. There are so many things to stress about when you own your own business. She helps put things in to perspective.

5. Where did the concept for Anna Bee Jewelry come from?
I saw that there were a bunch of companies that made personalized jewelry, but none were clean, simple and sophisticated in design. I started off by creating what my perfect personalized necklace would look like using the quality of materials I would want to wear. My best friend gave me the nickname "Bee" while we were at University and annabee was my first ever e-mail account :) I always thought if I started a business that is what it would be called.

6. Tell us a bit about your latest project, Swan + Saxon.
I officially launched Swan + Saxon in LA at Coeur in October, which is a show for accessory and apparel buyers. I started Swan + Saxon because I decided to separate the ready to wear Jewelry from all the personalized jewelry. They naturally seem to be their own thing and I wanted to take each line in a different direction. At the moment we just make jewelry, but I am planning to expand into other accessories such as scarves, belts and bags, which I am really excited about.

7. What is your favorite mistake?
Mmm this is a hard one. I have made so many :) I never went to school for jewelry, metal work or business, so I have had to learn everything as I have gone along. I have learned that the business side of things is actually just as important and probably more than your actual product. I also didn't think about how hard pieces were to make in the beginning and how long they took to produce. For example if you design a pair of earrings that takes 2 hours to make, it's probably not going to be cost effective unless you have a really high price point. I may or may not have done that when I first started out and my first employee (who still works for me) may or may not have wanted to kill me when making them :)

For people that are thinking of starting their own business, it is really scary and I would just like to say follow your dream, your heart and your instinct. You can't determine the exact date you will get there, but if you know what you want and have focus you will get there. Also, be kind to people. Don't need to be rude or aggressive to get what you want. Treat others as you wish to be treated. We can all help each other and its also much more fun that way!

Oh also. Lists, lists, lists! If you own your own business you have a million things to do and remember. If its not written down it will go around your head over and over and will drive you crazy. (My husband will laugh at this) I always say that I think 90% of our relationship has been spent with me trying to get him to make lists!

To shop Anna's collections, visit the links below. Plus, get 20% off of your order with the discount codes listed below until 12/19/13!

www.annabeejewelry.com
  Discount code: CHICBEE

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www.swanandsaxon.com
Discount Code: CHICSWAN

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