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Steep learning curve for jewellery entrepreneur

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“I was an entrepreneur by the age of five, selling stationery to my friends,” she says. “After school, I used to help a local clothes maker, sewing buttons and cutting fabrics.”

The inspiration for setting up her own business came from an unusual source: an antiques dealer who “didn’t want to sell anything”.

“I worked in his shop and noticed he had a very odd pricing system. He just made them up as he went along, depending on who walked through the doors.

“But it was he who gave me the passion to have my own store. I used to love the freedom of choosing items for the window display.”

A “poison and drugs specialist” by background (she has a degree in toxicology and pharmacology), Goad decided to hone her jewellery skills by studying gemology, then worked as an apprentice to former royal jeweller Andrew Grima.

“I got a contract to supply a couple of department stores and it took off from there,” she says.

"“I’m an artist. I find business terrifying," she admits. "I’ve had very little training and have done everything on gut instinct. At times, that has cost me a lot. As for finance, there’s never enough. But my best projects have always been when I’m stuck in the corner with absolutely no money."

Goad’s bespoke jewellery store is on Sloane Street, incorporating two showrooms, a private room for special commissions, a design studio and an in-house workshop.

“Being a jeweller on Sloane Street is hilarious," says Goad. "I’m like a doctor or a priest. In a world where everything is mass produced, our customers think it’s a miracle when we say, ‘what would you like? We’ll design something special for you’.

"A while ago, a dishevelled-looking man came into our store, looking for a piece of jewellery for his wife. He slunk into a chair. I said, ‘How much in the dog house are you?’ And out came his life story.”

“My advice to women entrepreneurs is this: you have charm, use it.”  

Goad says that juggling her home life and work life is tricky. “Delegation isn’t my strong point. I wish I was better at it.

“But when you’re running your own business, it’s on your mind 24 hours a day and you become a flippin’ nightmare.”

Cassandra Goad was a speaker at the Inspirational Women’s Network lunch on 17 June. For details on becoming a member, contact Gemma Rowley at gr2@caspianpublishing.co.uk

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