Interviews

Emma Yamamoto – Starting A Jewellery Business During Lockdown

Kirsty Turbott

What inspired you to start your shop? 

I’ve always had an interest in fashion which led me to start making jewelry for myself. After making jewelry for myself and close friends, I realized there was a large audience in demand for my products. I started my small business during the beginning of the pandemic when my province was put into full “lockdown”. It was definitely one of the most challenging times of my life because everything was drastically changing and there was nothing I could do to stop it. At the time, I worked a job in retail but due to covid I was temporarily laid off, cutting off my only source of income. However, instead of letting time pass by and dwelling on what I cannot change, I took this opportunity to dedicate 100% of my time and effort into building my business. My goal was to create jewelry that is trendy, timeless and affordable. My brand began to grow and I started to see the positive impact it had on others. I’ve had people message me saying I inspired them to start their own small business which was when I realized I’m not just doing this for me, but for others as well. 

What are the struggles you’ve encountered and how have you overcome them (if any?)

I’ve learned that having a business comes with a lot of failure, barriers and trial and error. In relation to this, a struggle I have encountered would have to be lack of time and burnout. In addition to my small business, I am a full time student in highschool and at the moment, I play on a competitive hockey team in my community. Before our province’s lockdown, my team was practicing around 4-5 times a week, I had school 5 days a week and worked a part-time job in retail. As you could imagine, running a business all by yourself is extremely time consuming and can be very stressful amidst the great opportunities that come with it. Ever since a young age, I’ve always been a super busy person with my heavy engagement in extracurriculars while managing school as well. I bring sports into this because it has had such a major impact on my life and has taught me many life skills that I have been able to translate into my small business. Time management being one of them, which has helped me optimize my potential and use my time efficiently and effectively!

Where would you like to see your shop go? 

I am very optimistic when it comes to the growth of my small business. I’m hoping to continue running my shop while in post-secondary school and am always looking for ways to improve. Along my journey of growing my small business, I’ve met so many inspiring people, learned so much from failure and as cliche as it may sound, I’ve come to the realization that you truly can do anything you put your mind to. I am so thankful for the community built around my business and the support from others is what’s motivating me to take my business even further. 

What is your definition of success? 

I think success is defined differently by everyone. We often compare ourselves to others that we view as ‘successful’ when in reality, we define our own success from within. Depending on the person, success could be attained by accomplishing an unrealistic goal you have, reaching a milestone or just a feeling of satisfaction. I believe at the end of the day, as long as you’re happy doing what you love, that’s all that matters. People perceive happiness in different forms whether it’s through materialistic items, spending time with friends or pursuing what you’re passionate about. If you are able to achieve these things while living an enjoyable life, you have succeeded.

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