Mumpreneur’s testimonial: When children’s memories inspire business ideas – The story behind Eternally Cherished jewellery
- Mums Tips
- Mumpreneurs & Mums at work
- Published on Friday, 06 November 2020 12:19
- Last Updated on 06 November 2020
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Over the years I have come across amazing women who have created businesses from their kitchen tables. An inspirational story and a great mumpreneur’s testimonial is the one of Erin Parnell who created her Eternally Cherished jewellery to make keepsakes to treasure her daughter’s early memories.
What urged you to become an entrepreneur?
I have always been highly ambitious. I was always highly competitive and assertive, never shying away from letting it be known that I am a force to be reckoned with.
Then along came Elara my daughter.
I could not have foreseen the change she has made to my life goals, and I say life goals, because, before it was work goals which helped me “get things” for my life. I was focussed and driven on my career for so long I had just assumed that that is what I would be doing forever until I retire but then Elara unleashed something in me I never knew I had and I decided I wanted something else from my life.
Where does the inspiration behind Eternally Cherished come from?
Scrolling online looking for a keepsake of my breastfeeding journey after pumping for the trillionth time I saw some beautiful pieces but not quite me and I somehow convinced myself that I could make myself something. So, I started researching how this mystical magic liquid gold could actually be turned solid and into something beautiful.
I convinced my partner that I could do this, well, it was a bit of a disaster to say the least. However, I kept trying, adapting, amending my methods and after many weeks and failed attempts I did it, I created my first product: my purple heart.
A lot of my mummy friends commented on it and asked for some pieces to be made and before long I had their friends asking too. So, I thought to myself, “Hang on this could actually be viable, if people really do want what I am making maybe, just maybe, I can make a little website and dip my toe in the water of being an entrepreneur and from that Eternally cherished was born!”.
Describe your journey building your business alongside being a full-time mum?
I work full time, alongside running my business which often means 4:00am starts and late-night finishes but it’s always so worth it. Like most, it’s been much harder to separate my two jobs and my duties since lockdown.
I rarely get time for myself but I stay motivated because the business is my passion and I know that it will be worth it in the long run. Although I do miss out on quite a lot, it isn’t forever, it’s just for now. Each day I am working towards the end goal which is running my business fulltime from home, being my own boss and managing my own time, according to my rules and no one else’s.
What’s your number one selling product?
The ‘Always Together’ bead is the most popular, I offer it in 31 different colours and the bead has a Sterling Silver plated core. It’s made by hand and can be made using any inclusion like breastmilk or ashes. This product is really great as it’s completely flexible and it can be added to Pandora bracelets or worn on necklaces, earrings and more, a great keep safe for someone special.
What would your advice be to any other mothers who are thinking about starting a business?
Be bold, brave, trust your gut but most of all love what you do, the passion from this love will propel you to places you never thought possible!
Your business specialises in breast milk jewellery, creating a memory for that journey with your child. How did this inspire your creativity?
My creativity and passion come from being lucky enough to encapsulate people’s precious memories into stunning pieces of jewellery. I love making people happy with my products, I love creating something unique to them that they will cherish forever.
Other than breastmilk, you create jewellery out of hair, fur, ashes and fluids, do you have a strict method when creating your products?
I never set out to do items such as hair, or ashes but people asked for them so I tried, I tested I perfected it (well mostly).
I always keep each inclusion separate and respectfully. Each one is made individually and I treat each one as if it is my own, with love, care, and respect. I do have some strict methods I stick to but I always like to experiment when a customer asks me for something specific, recently I have been asked if I can somehow use a star wars universe theme in a bead for a lady for her late husband which will contain a lock of his hair. I have also been asked to create a rose breastmilk pendant, every customer is different and sometimes that means getting extra creative which I love.
What has been your saving grace during your business/mum experience?
Last year I was awarded a Government start-up loan, after submitting my business plan, to expand my business and purchase a laser engraver. This was unbelievably helpful as it’s totally enhanced the quality of products that I can offer to my customers.
What are the next steps for Eternally Cherished?
I am so incredibly proud of what I have accomplished so far, and I am really excited to see what the future holds for Eternally Cherished. It’s extremely important to me to keep the personal element of my brand but I also want the business to grow.
My goal is to quit my day job and work on Eternally Cherished full-time as well as being able to sell my jewellery across the world! I feel very lucky that something I am so passionate about will be my main job by the end of the year.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums