SPICE GIRLS: Jewellery Designer Duo Making Waves - The Banda Islands and Beyond
When people ask me 'How did you start your jewellery business and why Bali?' I grab a bottle of wine and say 'you better stay the night!' When people say 'Oh, I see, you were in the right place, right time,' I reply, 'No, I put myself there.' There is no right place right time. It's a case of constantly being presented with opportunity, seeing how it can be used and then grabbing it by the balls. Nothing in life comes easy….well, I fully disagree. I think it the universe wants you to have it, it will give it to you.
BUT…..you MUST get your ducks in a line first.
This is no big secret.
How can a universe give you something you are not ready for? Well, it doesn't. It can smack you around a few times saying 'be grateful for these lessons I am teaching you, because they will hold you in good stead later down the track.' How do we normally see the lessons? We see them as obstacles. Wouldn't it be better to see these obstacles as an integral part of solving the jigsaw and tethering your ducks?
It's all very well in retrospect isn't it. The concept of retrospect is to look back on something. I generally don't look back and my lofty ideas propel me into the future, much sometimes to the chagrin of my peers and my business partner. You see, I am 'BIG' picture, world domination stuff. They write books about people like me, or crucify them. But I'm good with either of those, because if there were not big picture people in the world, how would anything get created?
I was losing my identity. Already done the new mum thing, but at one point it wasn't enough to be working 12 hour days in my own business, with a child in day care from 7am in the morning until 6pm at night, trying to keep my body rocking like it was 20 again, and keeping up a social life. Heard this story a million time haven't you? Blaah blaah. Well I was happy to keep going until I either ran myself into the ground or became a drug addict. It seemed everyone around me was happy to keep doing it too. Did I take the opportunity to get out of it? Hell yes.
I had been a model for 7 years, traveling around the world, doing hair shows and the weird advertising jobs no one else wanted and the catwalk shows where I either got the revealing outfits for androgyny types, or they shaved my eyebrows off. I was never going to be a Cindy or a Claudia. I was non symmetrical and happy, two things that never helped my success in the industry. I was willing to have my back painted with Van Gogh's sunflowers and catch pneumonia in the name of art and that also never stood me to good stead either. I was branded 'the model that will do any of the weird stuff,' and when you do that, the price on your head drops exponentially. My face never really saw the light of fame. A couple of bigger breaks that were ego driven happened, but I think my heart was half in it. I both loved and hated the fashion industry, because I was studying it and working in it all at the same time and I could see all the cracks. Problem for me was that I had really set my heart on it from the age of 8. My mother will tell you. Fast forward 20 years and I was now sticking my fingers up to the whole industry. Angsty and driven to find something to keep myself connected to fashion without feeling the luggage of failure.
Fast forward another 20 years and here I am in paradise. Living on a set of 17,000 islands, famous for the spice trails of olden times.
But I am sure you have read the news. Right now, my paradise is being rocked by a volcano. I would still be rubbing my eyes and throwing my hands in the air to anyone who thought that living on an island that has 3 active volcanoes on it, was a good idea, but I tell you a secret. It was to tether my ducks. Little did I know that Bali would be my greatest teacher, my most difficult assignment, my longest catwalk.
Did I think I would set up a jewellery business with a former version of myself? My business partner is going through all the things I went through in the past, but now. We are the same age and we came together for a reason to make beautiful jewellery using nature as our design canvas, but we also came together to learn some seriously valuable lessons in both our private lives and in business. Pretty much EVERY curve ball has hit us and yet we still stand strong. We've been hit by dengue, we've been hit by a bike, we've been hit by the government, we've been hit by weather and still, still we are alive and laughing and the most important thing we believe is that we are not alone in these feelings. There are plenty of women out there on overdrive, or trying to make an idea they have real, or in toxic relationshits (as my friends like to call them) where they are literally being emotionally strangled.
For our own health, our jewellery designs come from nature. It seems to be the right thing to do for us. It's all around and it is there for our pleasure. To watch, to feel, to be part of and at one with. To see the textures on a shell and create a new product from loving that, or to see a stone the colour of an iceberg and use it in a ring design. We are enamoured and staggered by nature's resilience and it's unique beauty. Is it a reflection of us? Damn right it is.
A year ago we decided to create something for other women here on the island. The Bali Women in Business Group. There are so many of us out there in the world, that have these incredible resilient 'selves' and clever brains, who want to create….. To design and develop products…but most importantly to design and develop themselves as entrepreneurs. We all the have the ability to overcome hurdles and achieve greatness. We all have the ability to learn how to see opportunities and to take them.
I no longer worry about the wrinkles or warts (I do have plenty of the former and thankfully none of the latter) I came here to create. I was born under the sign of Sag. I am a Pioneer. A Traveler. A Designer. A Creator. A Mover and A Shaker.
What are you going to be when you grow up? :>)www.niniandnessjewellery.com