We live in a time of self-reflection and re-evaluation of our strengths and weaknesses. I can't help but wonder how other female creators and businesswomen feel. I want to explore some aspects of how we grew, what we've learned and where our energies are getting invested in the future. Join us for this open talk with Danielle Miele, founder of the most popular Jewelry Blog - GEM GOSSIP and myself. I hope we can give some answers and possibly inspire new questions to encourage this never-ending quest for advancement.
1. What is your current obsession? Cultural, political, personal, spiritual...any
DANIELLE MIELE: Right now - my son! He is 8 months old and he is with me 24/7. I love watching him learn and grow...seeing his personality to develop. I am always obsessed with jewelry, especially right now anything David Webb and learning about agates!
ANTOANETTA: I am currently drawn to working with some unusual, geometric stones and exploring the beauty of Salt and Pepper Diamonds. I love how these Diamonds are not perfect. They don't go by the 4 C's, but they bring all the beauty and uniqueness there is through their inclusions and imperfections.
2. Which moment do you see as most transformative for you as a person as well as for your business?
DANIELLE MIELE: Motherhood has been a transformative time for me both personally and professionally. I'm making sure I have time for both, which is very tough -- so I'm being more decisive with all of my choices. It has pushed me to be better in every aspect.
ANTOANETTA: My current moment. I have given myself time to travel to Spain. This new experience is very enriching and inspires new ideas. Working out and meditation helps me deal with some stress, specifically hot sauna and cold pool. The contrast clears my mind and allows better creativity.
3. What is the meaning of "authenticity" to you and how important is it in your life?
DANIELLE MIELE: Authenticity is extremely important -- both literally and metaphorically. I only feature genuine gemstones on Gem Gossip, so everything must be authentic in that regard -- and all the information I give to my followers has to be truly from me. I love sharing tips, tricks and educational information I've learned throughout my career in the jewelry industry -- and I freely give out this information, which I'm happy to do.
ANTOANETTA: The true meaning is directly related to honesty, which is really important to me. I am always exercising the ability to have awareness about myself and others and I am monitoring how my actions affect everyone and everything around me. Also, I have found that being authentic is far easier than not. The era that we live in exposes us so fast that it's not worth the effort of being anything but yourself. For example, social media is one of these catalysts that reveals us. I stay open and show images from my daily life just to let people in and be able to close that gap between me and my customers. As far as my jewelry, knowing the sources of the stones I use, the long term relationships and trust I build with my jewelers, setters, casters are the very definition of being and staying authentic.
DANIELLE MIELE: It is so hard to look into the future -- I'm very much in the present with my thinking and being. I know the jewelry industry will definitely be different and I hope it is for the better. I know the way consumers are buying is continually changing. People don't visit stores like they once have and the online marketplace is erupting.
ANTOANETTA: Oh, let us see... Technology is definitely very exciting with the good and with the ugly. I think we will move into a faster acceptance and slower judgment of technology. I do see many more sectors of our life getting affected by some form of digital adoption. This will eliminate some jobs but it will give rise to new ones.
Of course, our interactions are closely related to those changes and our relationships will evolve as well. There will be vast accessibility and I see this will redefine the scope of our businesses as well as our communications. In jewelry, I think we will start populating the virtual world and as a designer, I would need to adapt and create within this space.
I hope our humanity can grow from it rather than collapse.
5. Do you think our fears can help us grow and actually turn into something rather positive?
DANIELLE MIELE: Yes for sure -- if the next step for you to grow as a person or business-wise makes you scared and pushes you outside your comfort zone, that's a good thing! I know when I first started, I didn't like traveling and flying on an airplane made me scared. Now I fly all the time! Another example is public speaking, which makes me so nervous. I've done a few presentations and although it's rough for me, I grow so much because of it.
ANTOANETTA: For sure. I get overwhelmed by projecting some scary scenarios of losing business or trying to deal with some imaginary apocalyptic situations until I get myself together. The fear is nothing but a challenge, a mental exercise. If we can somehow maintain a "healthy fear" I believe we can grow a lot from it.
6. When you create, are you focused on the end result or the process?
DANIELLE MIELE: Creating content for me, which is mostly through photographing jewelry, mixes both results and processes. I usually have somewhat of an idea of the end result, but often times tweak things as I go and create something even better than what I had originally planned. That's the beauty of trial-and-error.
ANTOANETTA: Both. I like to have some direction with the option for an open end. Even though, I am more driven to see the end result. When sitting with my coffee in front of the computer designing, I get surprised sometimes of how in the process my 3D model shifts from its original idea. I sometimes start a ring with an ambitious concept in mind and along the way I discover at times, less is more.
7. What is next for you? Do you have any new inspiration, project, what are you looking forward to in 2020?
DANIELLE MIELE: I have a pretty big project which I'm hoping to launch in the summer, but I can't reveal what it is just yet. I've been working on it all throughout my pregnancy. I'm also hoping to get back into blogging more and planning some fun Jewelry Road Trips this year. It was tough for me to take time off since having a baby, but I'm re-inspired!
ANTOANETTA: I am working on supercharging my online presence by engaging more on social media as well as preparing some new exhibits. Continue to design while traveling the world and starting a couple of new jewelry lines. I am pretty excited as I will be working with some new gemstones and unique shapes in 2020.