EFactor thrives on entrepreneurs. And we want to help you connect with each other. In the Spotlight Series we highlight EFactor members and their businesses. Read, learn and get in touch with Mina Deutsch from Brooklyn, New York.
Mina is founder and owner of Mina D Jewelry, a one of a kind jewelry company. Mina’s been in the jewelry industry for over twenty years, but only started her own business a couple of years ago. We sat down with her and asked her about that striking business name; Mina D Jewelry.
“Of course the name is actually my name, and I love it! When I started the business I couldn’t come up with something that I liked, so I just picked my own name and stuck with it. I have to say, it’s been very well received. It’s a catchy name and people remember my own name because it. So it was a pretty good decision to go with Mina D.”
What’s your story? How did you become and entrepreneur?
“I became an entrepreneur because it was the logical next step for my career in the diamond industry. As the finance director for a wholesale diamond company called Olympic Diamond I was ready for the next step. And that included doing things a little different, but still using my experience within the industry. I had to keep in mind the fact that I was still with Olympic Diamond, so it had to be something that was non-conflictual. I wanted to be able to continue working with them.”
“At first I was very apprehensive of the idea to start my own business you know. I was in an industry that I was happy with. I wasn’t looking to change and I wasn’t looking to do anything different.
But once I started designing for others aside from myself and once I started the company, it turned out to be really exciting to see something grow. Of course it’s a lot of hard work and a lot of things that I did not anticipate came into play. But I have to say it’s been very rewarding and very exciting so far.”
Did you get help from others in the beginning, or did people maybe counteract your efforts?
“They did not counteract my efforts but they were not very helpful either. Because I’m in a very competitive industry and because I’m from within the industry, it was very difficult to know which direction I could reach out to for help. Making the right connection and making the announcement that I was beginning my own business was very sensitive. It was very difficult in the early stages.”
“But you deal with that by simply not giving up. You have to learn from mistakes and take each marketing experience, each event experience, each trade show as a benchmark. Review what you do and don’t say ‘I failed’, but ‘what can I do better next time and what can I learn from what I did’. Sometimes that’s very difficult. Like I said it’s a very competitive industry and you always need to be alert for new ideas. Not even so much on the creative side but especially on how to market what you already have. Keep going and keeping an open mind is essential in that process. You always have to keep your eyes and your ears open looking for new opportunities.”
How well did you prepare before you started your business?
“Unfortunately I didn’t make a very detailed business plan. And I started at a very bad time in the US economy. It was pretty much one of those jump in now, or never do it at all kind of moments. That really gives you a feeling of let’s go and let’s see what happens. And I have to say that part of that approach was very good. It’s always about taking the first step and jumping in. But if I were to do it again I would really do more research. Because especially in the early days I started the company with the wrong people, with the wrong PR firm and with the wrong marketing people. I think if I would have done better research I would have saved myself a lot of time, energy and money.”
What goals did you have in mind when you started your business?
“To go nationally. Right now the business is not as far as I wanted it to go, but we’re getting there. We’re branded, we’re trademarked and we’re very well known in the New York area. The goal is really to get it national and hopefully at some point international. It’s really about reaching every person interested in jewelry and fashion.”
What were the biggest challenges in your entrepreneurial career up to now?
“The biggest challenge is really the sales and marketing. The jewelry industry is competitive, overwhelmed and crowded with so many designers that you really need to find something that makes you different and makes you stick out. I believe that I’m different in my designs and I’m very different in my approach. Because I only use semi precious, precious and natural stones. And I keep all the designs and all the work within the US. I don’t outsource out of the country. That’s made me very unique. My broad experience has also helped. I’m in the industry for so long that I know all the ins and outs, so to speak. The knowledge is definitely a plus.”
Where’s the business heading?
“I’m looking to get national response. We’re very well known in New York and we also get recognition in some Midwest counties right now. The idea is to get noticed all over the US. I think good markets for us are the Southeast and Midwest in particular. So that’s a point that I want to connect to. And of course we want to get the brand global. We want to get an international response because I know there’s a lot more out there than just New York.”
How are you going to achieve that?
“Marketing. The right marketing, the right branching out, meeting the right people, networking, E-Factor..haha. It’s all about continuing to network. Continuing to reach out, to do research and meet the right people to eventually find that right group that can take you where you need to go.” Find out more about Mina D Jewelry and connect with Mina by following her EFactor profile.