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Medaling yourself. No apologies.

Why should we have someone else decide what we should wear? Women are choosing and buying their own jewelry and then creating their own style and story in the way they layer it. Karen Van Der Hout, Van Der Hout Jewelry

Gone are the days when fine jewelry was something you hoped someone would buy you, or you waited for that special day to receive. It’s fun, it makes a fashion statement and it’s a gift for yourself. No explanation. With thousands of e-commerce jewelry brands, how can you separate great from shoddy? Karen Van Der Hout of Van Der Hout Jewelry shares her best pearls of wisdom around jewelry selection and answers a few key questions about starting a business as a mom of three.

What To Do (Bites)

  1. Go SOLID gold for on the go.

    From shower, to work, to gym, to bath, to pool, no black residue. If your pieces aren’t solid gold, as in they’re plated or filled, they’ll tarnish and lose their golden beauty.

  2. 10K is ok, 14K is better.

    Karat weight indicates the amount of gold in the piece of jewelry. Twenty four karats is solid gold but it’s very soft, therefore other alloys need to be used to make jewelry. If you have sensitive skin and are allergic to alloys like nickel, you should avoid 10K gold. But most people are completely fine with it.

  3. Craftmanship counts, especially for personalized pieces.

    Yup, a goldsmith solders your Lily’s “L” and your Hudson’s “H” on your necklace. With pieces that are delicate, craftsmanship is especially important.

    You want a truly skilled goldsmith so there’s no gold blobs on your delicate pieces and so they’re soldered together to reduce the risk of breakage. A trusted brand is more important than ever.

     

Tips

  1. We emphasize the importance of reading the jewelry descriptions like you’re reading a clothing label. Know what you’re buying. You’ll want your pieces to last. Look for the gold karat and where there are diamonds, weigh the 4 C’s: cut, color, clarity and carat.

  2. As a mama with a crazy, cram it all in life, I tell women to watch out for pieces that have an open design – so, rings with spaces, bracelets with spaces. I had one beautiful bracelet and it got caught while I was bagging apples at the grocery store. Pretty, but you won’t be happy when it catches and breaks while you’re packing your kid’s knapsack or diaper bag.

  3. Stacking, layering and multiple earrings are in. With good quality products you can sleep in them with no worries about tarnishing. Everyone has a night (or 365) where they just don’t have the energy to take off their jewelry or change up their earrings – but some days you want to switch up the look. Follow us on Instagram to see how you can play to style up your look.

My life hack for saving my walls as an entrepreneur/mom of 3 + Chuckie the dog/ wife/daughter/sister/lunch maker/walk to school companion…invisible markers.

My Choices. My Wisdom.

What was the spark that ignited your decision to break out and start your own business?

A few years back I noticed all my friends were buying products they found on Instagram. Whether it was clothing, a handbag, or even a reusable bottle, they were buying a lot of personalized or monogrammed products. At the time I had over a decade of jewelry industry experience. So I designed a few personalized name and initial necklaces and created an Instagram page. It took off. I had to build a website to keep up with all the orders. Before I knew it I was generating enough revenue that I could quit my full time job, get an office, hire staff and really build a business.    

Would that choice have been a surprise to your younger you?

Absolutely. I never thought of myself as someone creative or entrepreneurial. I just knew I had a great work ethic and skill set from years in the jewelry industry. 

What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you started your own business?

To not try to do everything by myself. It’s okay to give up control and let others help you.

What’s the one thing the rest of the world really doesn’t understand about managing as a working mom?

People still pass judgement on working moms. I’m not there for pick ups and drop offs, I can’t be part of the PTA, I can’t cook every night, etc. I feel very guilty about it. Most of us working moms struggle with guilt. I don’t think most people realize the guilt that’s associated with not being as involved. It’s something I’m working on.

Maybe my worst day was the time Devyn and Violet both leaked out of their diapers and both needed quick outfit changes. And then as I’m leaving the house I realized my boobs were leaking and I needed an outfit change too! We were late to school that day but I still deserved a medal for that.

When your children become adults, what is the one thing they wish they will say about you?

That I’ve always been a loving mom and always tried to instill confidence in them. And if they wanna talk about how fabulous and successful I am, I wouldn’t mind (😉😉).

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