I was recently approached by Kayla, the sister of Victoria Pedanou who launched V*Dazzled Jewelry on Etsy in 2010 in the midst of her PhD program. Interested in her designs as well as her story, I interviewed Victoria Pedanou to find out what it is like to be a female entrepreneur.
EL: What was your motivation to launch an Etsy Shop while in Grad School? That seems ambitious!
VP: It was actually that I needed to get my mind off of science! I started making jewelry as a hobby after my first 2 years of my PhD program (the first 2 years are loaded with classes and exams so after that I suddenly had some actual free time for a hobby!). After showing my jewelry to family and friends they told me I should start an Etsy shop and now here we are.
EL: What made you decide to create jewelry as your first product to sell?
VP: In 2010, my roommate at the time came home with a few pieces of jewelry that she bought from someone at work who make their own jewelry. I thought that I could definitely make the things she bought so I went and purchased supplies at Michael’s and started experimenting. I took two different jewelry-making basics classes with friends and the rest has been self-taught.
EL: How did you come up with the signature wire design?
VP: I have always loved wearing stud earrings and everything I made until that point had been drop earrings. I was really just searching for a way to make stud earrings with the materials I had on hand and after a couple of hours of creativity, I came up with my signature stud design. It looked so much different back then (although somehow people still bought the original versions 😉 ) but over the years I have refined the design to be exactly what I had in mind.
EL: I noticed your sister also works with you! How is it to work with family, and when did the collaboration begin?
VP: The collaboration began when my son was born, April 2015. I was already busy with trying to complete my PhD and now having a baby in the mix (along with my husband, new house, friends, life, etc.) meant that I had nowhere near as much time to dedicate to V*Dazzled. Kayla offered to help out and so far it has been great, after the first few months I think we have really figured out how to work as a team.
EL: I am impressed how many sales and the longevity you’ve had. How have you seen your brand expand in the last 6 years?
VP: The first 2 years the V*Dazzled sales seemed pretty few and far between, most of my family and friends supported me by buying a few pieces of jewelry and I would get the occasional sale from strangers but nothing too significant. During that time I spent all of my free time researching how to make your etsy shop successful and tried to implement most of what I read. In 2012, all of that changed when The Pioneer Woman featured my Etsy shop on her blog. The sales really just started booming (I think the day of the feature I got around 500 sales- my whole shop sold out, twice!). That time was awesome, crazy and exhausting but so worth it! Things are definitely more stable now and we hope to continue making earrings for the next 6 years and more
EL: Where do you see for yourself in the next 6 years? Any goals you haven’t accomplished yet?
VP: Grow, grow, grow!
EL: One of my greatest passions is supporting other women entrepreneurs. I believe there is still such an absences of powerful women leaders in the work force. Why do you think it is important to support women entrepreneurs?
VP: I agree, there is really an absence of powerful women leaders and it’s great to support women entrepreneurs. With support and providing great examples, more women will see that you don’t have to give up family life and a social life to become a powerful leader in business. Actually, in my day job with my PhD I plan to have a leadership role in my field so I do hope to be an example and mentor for younger women as time goes on.
Photographed are the Rose Gold Stud Earrings. One thing I love is how classic these earrings look. The touch of Swarovski beading brings boldness and sophistication to the piece. I paired mine with a simple white button down and black denim for the perfect work outfit. If you want to get your hands on these gems, V*Dazzled is offering free domestic shipping with code ROCKPAPERGLAM.