Our newest Wild Web Women feature is Santa Barbara jeweler, Calla Gold! Calla helps people love their jewelry by maintaining their collection and building it with custom design, re-design, re-purposing older out of date items, and repairing and improving what they have. The average woman has five pieces of fine jewelry she isn’t wearing. She changes that.
Meet Calla Gold!
What inspired you to launch your web-based business? My first desire to own my own business came from wanting to have the freedom to find my ideal clients, wanting the freedom to travel and wanting a lifestyle of family flexibility. A less pleasant reason was sexual harassment in the workplace. In my own business, I get the respect, and the boundaries and the joy in being productive that I dreamed of.
How has your previous employment experience aided you professionally? My previous employment included horse exercising and training when thirteen to help me afford my own horse. In addition to those activities, I sold flowers on street corners and sold my body to science in experiments that let me know that living in a jungle like humid place or a super cold place were not places I wanted to live in.
My work in sales let me know that I was good at something besides office work which all my friends were going into. I got a job in sales going door to door with Fuller Brush. After doing that for a year, I knew I could do anything.
It was then that I realized I liked meeting with clients in their home or office because I got to know them in a way that being behind a counter didn’t allow. That led to my choosing to be a Personal Jeweler, meeting my clients at their homes or offices as opposed to having a store.
It’s interesting that who you think you are and who you become are very affected by the work you do and what you excel at.
Do you weave your values into your business? Yes. I learned that getting to know someone can help you give them what they need in the problem-solving department. I want to make a difference in someone’s life in my work. Even if just to make sure their ring fits properly so they enjoy it more.
I knew that I was a blur-the-boundaries kind of person and that I needed to do something that would allow those natural friendships to happen.
One thing I love about my industry is the handshake method of agreements I have with my suppliers. It is a business based on trust and just like with young horses you must be patient. To build their trust, you must always be worthy of trust.
What is the best part about being a web-based businesswoman? I can go on trips and set aside a time each day or two to answer necessary communication and have a wonderful adventure. I can still serve my clients even if I’m not chained to my desk. Setting my own schedule is a joy to me.
What is the most challenging part of being a web-based businesswoman? The amount of emailing necessary to do custom work at a distance. But it is worth it.
What is your favorite way to unplug from work? Take a hike, ride a bike, throw a frisbee or play with my neighbor’s kids.
How do you maintain your health? Eat right, get a massage now and then and exercise.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments? Winning the Spirit of Entrepreneurship award in retail, raising a son I’m proud of and being a mentor to young people going into business for themselves.
What is the wildest thing you have ever done? Recovered from being de-frauded by a guy who is now in jail and de-frauded a great many people.
What was wild about it was being in a low place and making myself play frisbee, go hiking and biking and seeing friends and finding happiness every day while I rebuilt my financial life.
I had some of the wildest adventures of my life on horseback. One unforgetable memory was of galloping next to a train when it ghosted up on me and my horse unexpectedly. Rocks were flying, the conductor was honking and my horse went faster than ever before. The next day he acted like nothing had happened.
What three web tools can you not live without? Gmail, password saving software, and Windows Office Suite.
What helps you increase your productivity the most? My appointment book and my lists. Lots of lists.
Do you have any personal “wild web” role models? Lorrie Thomas Ross who taught a college class I took for a deep dive into many web tools and believed I’d get to where I am today. Another role model is Lynda Weinman co-creator of Lynda.com an online education site of epicness.
What are some risks you have taken that resulted in positive outcomes? Two years into my jewelry sales career, I let go of my easy sales job and went full bore into jewelry. And then jewelry design. I was advised not to let go of my steady income gig because being a jeweler without a store was kind of a crazy idea.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date? No matter what you are doing, develop a network of business friends that you can talk to and help, back and forth and get and give inspiration with. And be accountable about your goals with that network.
How do you maintain a work/life balance? I take Sundays off no matter what. And when I am needed by my family, I figure out how to take time for them. I make time to see friends with or without my family. Because sometimes I need a little girlfriend time. I give myself permission to get pampered and then I can more easily pamper my family.
You have a book coming out soon. Can you tell us more? My book, Design Your Dream Wedding Ring, uses 35 years of questions asked to answer questions and show creative people in love what their options are. I started this book with a folder of notes ten years ago. Among other things in the book, I show what to do to ensure your ring looks good on your hand, how your lifestyle needs to be part of your design and how to communicate your desires successfully to your jeweler. I’ve shown parts of my book in draft mode to non-jewelry people and jewelry lovers alike and have gotten great and helpful feedback. My book comes out January 25th, 2019. It will be available on Amazon, through my site, and selected bookstores.
What is the #1 piece of advice would you give to someone who’s aspiring to run a web-based business and be a Wild Web Woman? I’d tell them that no matter how good your product or service is, if you’re not going out in the avenues you need to to get the word out and sell yourself and your product or service you won’t reach the heights you want to.
Thank you, Calla!
Please learn more about Calla Gold!