August’s Woman Entrepreneur – Jacqueline Gikow of Chelsea Rainbow

It’s here-the August issue of Women Entrepreneur focusing on Ms. Jacqueline Gikow of Chelsea Rainbow. Jacqueline is a doll and I really wish her every success possible. Her work is different and fun and you should check it out on Etsy after you read her incredibly inspiring interview below.

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1. Hi! Please introduce yourself. Tell us your name (as you want it to appear), your company name, how long have you been in business and what is your business. 

My name is Jacqueline. I’m an independent jeweler and the owner of ChelseaRainbow. I design and create beaded jewelry for women and men, and home decor accessories. I live in New York City, one of the most vibrant urban cities of the world and also the capital of fashion. You may not be able to afford a designer dress, but you can always find my fashion forward jewelry to update your own looks and my elegant home decor accessories to enhance your home. I have been in business about a year.

2. How do you define “entrepreneur”?

I define an entrepreneur as someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity and, as the decision maker, decides what, how, and how much of a good or service will be produced.

An entrepreneur supplies risk capital as a risk taker, and monitors and controls the business activities. The entrepreneur is usually a sole proprietor, a partner, or the one who owns the majority of shares in an incorporated venture.

Entrepreneurs are not necessarily motivated by profit but regard it as a standard for measuring achievement or success. I (1) greatly value self-reliance, (2) strive for distinction through excellence, (3) are highly optimistic (otherwise nothing would be undertaken), and (4) always favor challenges of medium risk (neither too easy, nor ruinous).

 5. What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

I like knowing that if I need to take an hour or a morning or whatever for some personal or family time, I can. I have some health problems that I deal with and it’s nice to know that I don’t have to call in sick and explain to a boss why I need an hour to collect myself LOL.

I also love how owning my own business has completely opened my eyes to my capabilities. When you work for someone else, it’s so easy to just not care… when it’s your own business… the success relies mostly on you as the owner. I know that if I need extra money that month or whatever its up to me to do it… it’s given me a major boost in confidence over the years.

6. What is your least favorite thing?

My least favorite part? Good question! Ok, I can’t say I like invoicing, taxes and all, but I do like to receive money (and I could use the shiny car and swimming pool hehe) 🙂

But I’d say my least favorite part is when a client keeps changing the specs and adding stuff… sure that means I get paid more, but sometimes it just feels like it’ll never end, and if a project takes 2 months instead of just 3 weeks, that also means I have to put some things on the back-burner and tell potential clients I’m booked.

7. What do you do when you feel the weight of being an entrepreneur? Not every day is great, how do you deal with this?

When the weight of being an entrepreur became heavy, I refocused my business in a way that was two-fold. First I renamed myself to allow my product line to be identified more precisely. I had to show that I produced more than just jewelry.

The other thing that I did was to add a Metrosexual line to my business. With the new Marriage law in New York, more men are buying jewelry and accessories for one another as they tie the knot.

When things are not great, I take time off. I exercise, read, get together with friends or my boyfriend. Eventually, I remember that I love what I do.

9. Do you work a full-time job? If so, what do you do? Does it interfere with your business? How do you balance these?

I am looking for a part-time job to supplement my Etsy business. I like to have something to break up the week and working for someone else provides me with some social interaction I don’t get by working for myself. 

10. How do you keep yourself focused? 

It’s a scientific fact that our brains can only be attentive on a limited amount of information for a limited amount of time. Making sure the appropriate information in mind is the one that lines up with our duties at work is where the difficulty is. To lighten the load on my brain, it is better to segment my work into small manageable pieces. The idea is I do not want to spend an entire day working on one task non-stop. Breaking it up allows my brain to ‘breathe’ and it will reward me later with effective work.

The best way to be productive is to truly enjoy and be passionate about what I’m working on. We go to great lengths and hours of work for things that interest us. Yet we lose focus instantaneously if what we are doing is not important. It might take sometime finding interest in the work I do, I might have to just think about the big picture or maybe focus on impressing those around me to stay on track.

11. How do you keep yourself creative?

We, as creative creatures are either full throttle on creativity or we’ve hit a wall, no matter which way we turn. Specifically to my work (jewelry, etc.), there are times when I don’t feel the creative juices flowing, I’ll simply walk away from the project at had for a couple of days; not only will this shed a slightly different perspective, but will also enable us to address the project with ‘new eyes and a new mind’. Another way I’ve overcome obstacles, is to look at similar jewely, and sometimes completely opposite kind of jewelry. This will either cause me to realise, that the obstacle can be maneuvered around very easily or ‘creatively’.

In most cases, when looking for a solution to overcome the mental/ creative block, we look for complicated solutions –instead, look for simple solutions that may yet lend themselves to some sophistication; more often than not, the best pieces of work have a simplicity to them, and true genius I believe lies in simplicity; a very important distinction – by ‘simple’ I don’t mean ‘easy’ necessarily, but I do mean ‘sophisticated’ and not ‘complicated.’

14. How have you found success? How do you measure it?

Everyone views success differently. Some view it by the amount of money they make in life, the nice objects they have in their home or by how fulfilled their life is. There’s not right or wrong way to measure success. Success can only be measured in life by the eyes of the beholder. What one person considers successful, may not be considered successful by another.

To me, success isn’t measured in money or materialistic possessions. It’s what I do with my time on this Earth that matters the most. What I do with my life determines my success. Making the most of your time on Earth, and living up to my full potential measures my success in my eyes. It doesn’t matter how big my house is or how fat my wallet is. That doesn’t make me successful in my eyes.

I consider myself to be very successful in life, and I’m certainly not the richest or most financially stable person in the world. My house may not be the biggest and fanciest, but it’s nice to us and suits us perfectly. I do consider myself successful because I followed my dreams to become a jeweler, and while I may not be a household name, I’m successful in my creative career. I co-founded a business, which is far more successful than we ever expected, which is success in my eyes.

17. As an entrepreneur and business woman how do you view sustainable enterprise? Is this a concern for you now? If not, are you considering it for the future

Something I’ve learned, especially from women, is that when we open ourselves up enough to share our stories, we learn much more about ourselves and our abilities.  We also gain ideas, foster a sense of community and develop friendships.  I define an entrepreneur as someone who is flexible and creative, willing to take risks, and willing to assume responsibility for the success or failure of their own decisions and efforts.  There are many entrepreneurial people who aren’t business owners just as there are many small business owners who don’t seem to be entrepreneurs.

This is a concern for me now since my business is not monetarily succesful. I am certainly considering it for the future and am a big fan of intellectual and creative freedom, so that is my favorite thing.  I also like that I can trace the success or failure of my business directly back to me – it isn’t tied up in any one else’s drama.

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Thank you Jacqueline for your time and for being an inspiration! Readers, until next month’s issue of Women Entrepreneurs. Stay tuned!

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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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