Why did you choose the words Dream, Love and Shine for your 3 Wishes Collection?
Because that’s my wish for women. To be able to dream big, love like they have never been hurt and shine everyday. I feel that those three words apply to all parts of your life and your business and they’re really important. Dreams are such a big part of life and for me when I started my business it was my dream. So that’s really the concept behind the 3 Wishes range inspired by an old Celtic belief that on a full moon you’d turn over all your silver coins and make a wish. So every piece in the range has a secret message on the back. It’s nice to look down at your wrist during the day and be reminded of it, and it makes you smile and feel happy.
They are inspirational words and you’ve had some very inspirational figures in your life as well and one of them was your grandmother …
My grandma, Joyce, was a huge influence on me. She was fabulous. She came to New Zealand as an immigrant with nothing and she built her life up from there.
There is a particular strand of pearls in my family and their story really resonates with me and it laid the foundations for a future in jewellery. My grandmother spent three years in a prisoner of war camp in Indonesia and hid the pearls in her undergarments. I grew up with that story of the pearls and how important jewellery can be and what it can represent. It’s more than just beads, it’s actually a legacy. Memories are associated with jewellery and for me that’s why I love jewellery, it’s more than just metal and beads, it represents so much more. Whether it’s about expressing yourself, letting your own style come out and showing how you can wear things and having fun with it or if it’s about special memories associated with those you love. Jewellery means a lot.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I was 24 and working as a graphic designer and realised it wasn’t my passion. As a child I loved making jewellery so I took a leap of faith and started Kagi and it’s grown from there.
What is your business mantra?
There’s one I always hold true which is a Mark Twain quote and that is ‘never abandon your dreams because once they are gone you may still exist but you’ve ceased to live.’
What inspired you to launch Kagi’s Win a Wish campaign?
Win a Wish with Kagi will allow two women to follow their dreams and make their business come true. I was able to do that so I want to be able to help two women to do that so we are giving a cash bonus of $5000 to each winner and the opportunity to be mentored by me as well.
What stage in the business do you have to be to be eligible to enter for Win a Wish with Kagi?
Any stage. I’m happy to work with people who are starting up. Who have just got the idea and want to come up with a plan of how to make it reality. And I’d also love to work with women who want to take their business to the next level. I started my business on the kitchen table when I was 24, now I have 30 staff and 300 stores stocking the brand. I’ve spent the last nine years growing the brand and the business and I’ve been through a lot of challenges along the way and I’d love to share those and help other women go through them.
Can you share some of those challenges?
Having a business challenges you every day and that’s what I love about having a business. A lot of challenges and it’s how you respond to them that makes the difference. It’s always a challenge entering into a new export market as it can feel like you are starting the business again. I see challenges more as opportunities. I made a lot of those mistakes but I’m proud of those mistakes because they’ve got me to where I am today as well.
So what did you need to get started in business?
You need an idea to begin with. You need some passion and fire in the belly because you’ll need that to keep going when it sometimes gets tough. And you need a plan. You need to think about where you want your business to be in three years time. And set up your life and lifestyle around it so that you can actually make that a reality. I was very fortunate to have some amazing mentors who worked with me and they helped point out some pitfalls and speed bumps along the way.
Do you think more women could be in business?
The opportunity is definitely there and I think we don’t back ourselves as much as we should. We need to sometimes take a leap of faith and follow our dreams. It can be difficult. It probably will be difficult but it’s worthwhile when it’s your dream and it’s what you want to be doing.
To enter Win a Wish with Kagi follow this link: www.kagi.net