In autumn 2017 Royal Marines military spouse Olivia Smith launched Olivia & Pearl, an accessible, luxury pearl jewellery brand and online retailer. Providing collectable, classic and contemporary pearl jewellery designed for a new generation of pearl lovers. Her contemporary take on pearls are high quality and sourced ethically while remaining affordable.
After drawing down a Start-Up Loan from X-Forces earlier this year, Olivia started researching her market and developing her brand. Through reducing product mark-up and making full use of e-commerce and direct to consumer sales, Olivia & Pearl offers luxury products at an accessible price point. With the global pearl market estimated to reach £10.7bn by 2020, Olivia is keen to gain a slice of the market and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Monica Vinader and Pandora in creating an International brand over the next 10 years.
As an avid lover of pearls when she was younger, Olivia remembers her dad often returning from his business trips with pearls. She grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and remembers washing cars and running coffee and tea stands as her own little businesses when she was younger. She worked as an actor for 10 years but ultimately realized she had no control of her own destiny or autonomy over her career. She moved to advertising for a while, but again realised that she didn’t want to work for other people and wanted to move towards selling a product instead of a service. When she finally made the leap to start up her own business, she decided to turn her love for pearls into a brand and put herself in the driver seat of her career.
To people starting up their own business I would say feel the fear and do it anyway. It is scary, but make sure you try it. Transitioning to be the only person making decisions is really hard at first and you carry the business with you all the time, but it is amazing to see your decisions become a reality.
Olivia received mentoring for X-Forces as both a business owner and a military spouse. She worked alongside X-Forces CEO Ren Kapur MBE to support military spouses in enterprise endeavours.
I struggled with my place and purpose as a military spouse. There are questions like how do you maintain a career and friendships when you move around so much.
Olivia wants to continue to support military spouses to realise that they can start-up their own businesses and find their own place in self-employment. She’s keen to continue mentoring and providing spaces for spouses to talk about their enterprise journey as she launches Olivia & Pearl.
To shop Olivia & Pearls brand new collection visit:
To find out more about X-Forces Enterprise workshops, mentoring, support and funding opportunities please visit http://bit.ly/2t2Vw0f