This Jewellery Label Founder Shares her Top Tips for Budding Entrepreneurs
Sharona Harris is the entrepreneurial success story we all dream to be. The once PR and marketing manager launched her jewellery label, F + H, back in 2014 after feeling uninspired in her day job, and has created a company and brand that she couldn’t be more passionate about. Since launching just two years ago, the sought-after classic-meets-tough collection has become a staple for It-girls around the country and has been seen on the likes of Margot Robbie, Jessica Gomes, and Lara Worthington. The self-made talent has shared with us her tips for launching your own business and carving a niche in a saturated market. Aspiring entrepreneurs, read on.
Owning your own business is hard, you’re never really able to switch off and you need to be a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. Having worked for entrepreneurs throughout my career, I was inspired to start my own business. I wanted to create a brand to call my own and launched F + H Jewellery after seeing a gap in the market for jewellery that wasn’t bohemian or fine and minimalist. I wanted something that suited my personal style—stylish with a tough-luxe appeal.
It takes grit, determination and the understanding that success does not magically happen overnight to launch your own business and once you’ve accepted that, there’s no stopping you. I launched F + H in less than a year from concept. In hindsight, getting the brand to market quickly meant I was forced to go ‘all in’ and didn’t have time to change my mind. It’s a good thing to put yourself on the line at times. It gives you the option to sink or swim.
I asked every contact I had in the jewellery and fashion industry as many questions as possible, as well other successful entrepreneurs and business owners. One of the most important traits of being a successful business owner is to be curious and always look to improve and learn new skills—asking others in business means you’re constantly challenged and learning. I always make sure I repay the favour to everyone that has helped me—what goes around comes around and I think that’s its very important to give back and keep the generosity flowing.
I have a degree in business and marketing but none of that compares to working directly with successful business owners who also became my mentors. By working in small businesses I had to learn a little bit of everything—management, education, sales, events, PR, marketing, social media, styling, and much more. Know that hands on experience will equip you better than anything else can (or will).
Make sure you are well rounded with all aspects of the business. Creating a brand isn’t just being a great designer, you also have to sell the product and manage finances so make sure you have a well thought out business plan and seek plenty of advice before you begin your journey.
It has definitely been tough to get solid cut-through in the market as there are so many great new brands competing for attention. Social media is a double edged sword, yes it’s easier to start a business now for very little cost, however that also means the market is flooded with brands all trying to do the same thing. Recognise your challenges and strategise a way around them. You need to make sure your brand and message are completely different to everyone else's and that you stay true to yourself.
I am an early riser, so I’m up by 5:30 a.m. where I have a quick run-through of emails before heading to a 7 a.m. yoga class—this helps with my concentration and motivation for the rest of the day! I’m at my desk by 8.30 a.m. and from there it is completely varied! A typical day could involve talking with my craftsman about current orders or new samples, touching base with my sales teams, scheduling social media, liaising with stylists and magazines for product loans, answering customer enquiries, researching, and sketching future designs and a bit of accounting (which I hate). While I usually eat lunch at my desk, I try to take an afternoon break where I take my dog to the beach for an hour. It’s really important to get some fresh air after being in the office all day—it’s essential to de-stress and rebalance.