21 February 2021|Latest Posts, Launching a business, Psychology
By Leora Moreno, Founder of Leo With Love. I love my job. The (somewhat) unsavoury hours and stress are unparalleled to the sense of accomplishment and joy it brings. My background is in marketing, with a strong emphasis on social media. I’d created many social media strategies and built-up profiles for very corporate businesses until I started my jewellery company, Leo With Love, almost 3 years ago. The core principles of Leo With Love are gratitude and love, and my initial collections are inspired by the women in my life who’ve had a positive influence on it.
Having done a complete career pivot, I never thought I’d be going from a clinically corporate job to designing and making my own jewellery. I’d like to say life has a way of creating opportune moments, but honestly, it’s about when you’re willing to make the changes you want to see in your life.
The idea was born in 2016, back in LA, where I’m from. My sister was recovering from a near-terminal illness and we were talking about how you only get one certain chance in life to LIVE your life.
I loved making jewellery as presents for people but had never thought to put the two things together. Although my background is in corporate companies, the experience with my sister’s illness helped me see what was important.
After arriving back in London, I found myself in a super corporate job I hated. Although I met some really fantastic people there, the office politics were extremely toxic. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all corporate office jobs are trash, I’m just saying the wrong environment can make the most confident person question themselves. I had been tattled on to the HR -department numerous times. I thought I was being my optimistic self, but apparently, it’s a “red flag”.
You’re probably waiting for something really juicy right about now. Hate to disappoint you, but it was pretty boring. There were a few watercooler chats about being a little stressed over projects, I had a little box of “good fortunes” I bought at Urban Outfitters because it was on sale for £1 and thought it would be a cute little gift for the team if anyone needed a quick positive message / a bit of fun. Turns out, someone on the team found it really weird. Aside from telling me as much, they told our manager who had a meeting with me about not bringing in those types of gifts because it looks bad on the marketing team. Also, I’m not allowed to use the word “stressed”, I need to say “stretched” because it’s similar but not as serious.
Seven months into this job, the manager had a few more “friendly chats” with me, never because of my work or work ethic. I wasn’t going out to lunch enough with others and someone was anonymously concerned I liked to write pep talks to myself in the morning before starting my workday. Daily appreciation and kind words to myself are my normal ritual- you should definitely try it if you don’t already. In this particular environment, it was abnormal and grounds for concern.
The final straw came down to a typo. I had sent out an email to the company’s subscriber list of a few thousand without a space between two words. Should it have happened? No. Do accidents happen? Yes. Did it require a two-hour dressing down and stringent QC measures put in place? Big Nope.
It was at that point I decided I was done. This just isn’t important and I’m not using another second of this one certain chance at life to worry about a typo.
From creative to success…My tips:
Make it personal
So, Leo With Love was born. The key to success for me has been personalisation, with 2 facets of it being: jewellery and customer care. I’ve recently started engraving, and it’s opened up a lot of opportunities for the brand. With lockdown taking up much of 2020 and some of this year, people have wanted to send personalised gifts to loved ones to remind them they’re being thought of.
Make the customer your friend
Having a good relationship with my customers is really important. I believe it is a combination of the little details that make the customer feel special and will keep them coming back; particularly being authentic as a brand and having the jewellery represent something. Each piece of jewellery tells a story of its incarnation, but it is the customers to create new chapters with. I hope that each piece will come to represent a particular time in the customer’s life that they can smile upon and remember fondly when they wear it. I also like to imagine each customer is someone that I’d want to be friends with, so that has definitely set the tone for Leo With Love.
Think global, stay local
I was nervous coming up to the 2020 holiday season. December is (usually) completely filled with popups, markets, lots of sales and at least one stress cry in the midst of it. Then, I realised if I’m not doing any of those events, then people in the area were also going to be limited when it came to buying gifts.
I’d joined the NextDoor app a few weeks before, it’s kind of like a Gumtree/Facebook platform but only for people in your neighbourhood and surrounding areas. On a whim I decided to post, “introducing” myself to the neighbourhood and talking about the services I offer. Over the next few days my email was inundated with inquiries to order pieces they’d seen on the website and bespoke pieces. I made nearly as much as I would have during a normal December, but without all the excess fees of travel and popups! This tactic even secured the highest commission charge I’ve ever been paid and have another 3 in the queue. Looking to my local community was the best decision I’ve ever made, and never would have considered it had it not been for lockdown. Silver linings, right?
About the Author:
Leora Moreno, founder of Leo With Love
Leo has always been interested in jewellery and starting a business. Her Mexican heritage played a large role in this as her family would visit relatives that had a house near the silver-mining town of Taxco. Walking through a town which was full of street markets selling silver jewellery, independent designers and boutiques featuring intricate designs which encapsulated her culture, Leo’s love for jewellery only deepened.
When her sister got diagnosed with a near fatal illness, she decided you only had one certain chance at life and left her corporate job to start her jewellery brand. Leo With Love was born and is an all-encompassing lifestyle offering jewellery inspired by empowered women, for empowered women.