I’ve been in business for 17+ years and I absolutely love talking shop, especially with other small business owners. I have lots of my own ideas and sometimes (strong) opinions about things I’ve learned along the way. It’s always so interesting and thrilling to hear other people’s perspectives, too.
Let’s talk about building a solid team. I’ll be honest, I’m currently at the helm of THE most INCREDIBLE team. If I could close my eyes and dream up the perfect crew, I have found that in Sam, Kelsey, Jill and Aryana (and Miglia, too). Let me do my best here to articulate how this all came to fruition.
First, when you line up my team…including myself, we all share similar values. We have the same work ethic and comparable views on innovation, connection, authenticity, creativity, quality and beauty. We come from similar backgrounds with role models who have shown us the value of hard work. Nothing has been handed to any of us. Collaboratively, there is no tension among us and we truly have a zero drama household. We thrive on each other’s talents and personal wins. I consider us a sweet little CMD family, if I do say so myself.
How did I get here with this said team? Well, it’s been a hell of a lot of personal and professional development. I’ve learned that as a leader, I must allow each person to work independently without micromanagement. I respect each person on my team as a vital pillar and practice regular and VERY genuine gratitude. I sometimes even feel a smidge guilty that this beautiful business is named after just me. Afterall, I could never run this thing without the massive help of Sam, Kelsey, Jill and Aryana. It would be 1000% impossible.
When I see someone’s talents poke through the surface, I try to honor them and think of ways they might become a vital source of our own innovation. We have such a vast array of different strengths that complement each other.
Sam is a master creator. She’s a real live Wonder Woman…produces so much, works very hard and always has the most incredible attitude. She started at CMD with zero jewelry making skills but I knew that because she could work well with both hands, that she would be an incredible addition. Fun fact: Sam started at CMD at the ripe age of 19.
Kelsey is our technology guru. She completely built out our website from the ground up. She’s able to create framework systems not only for our stunning website but the crucial marketing plans. Kels maps out everything from marketing emails to all the content of our social media channels. Fun fact: Kelsey is an astrology master. She can read your chart and tell you all about your sign like it’s NBD.
Jill is our newest team member and what a gem she is. She’s so even-keeled and organized. Jill carefully quality controls each and every piece that goes out the CMD door and packs everything perfectly. Jill keeps track of our entire order processing update system. She knows about each piece that’s on the production line from online to wholesale orders. If you are a wholesaler with us, Jill also designed our stunning presentation box after I learned that she’s a master bookmaker. Fun Fact: Jill is an incredible swimmer, she swims everyday and often in the cold lakes of Ithaca. Beast mode!
Aryana is such a powerhouse and also an ideas gal. She’s hungry to improve production systems and can keep incredible composure even when the production line is jammed with orders. Ary’s also a master fabricator, I think her hands might be magic. Aryana is the very reason we all ended up working together in Upstate New York. Fun Fact: Aryana is also an amazing mom to a very adorable little girl with special needs. She juggles working with being a mom and wife with such grace.
As for my role, I’m the visionary and creative director. I’d call myself the people person and the inevitable community builder. I’m the team member that can see the vision and masterfully execute with the help of all five sets of hands, including my own. I’m also the content creator, I film most of the videos and photos for our social media. And when the photography is done professionally, I’m on set working directly with the person behind the camera. I’ve busted my bum to bring us to this place but again, I couldn’t have done any of this without an exceptional team. Fun Fact: I built this business from the ground up with money I saved waiting tables in San Francisco.
Last but not least, Miglia. She’s our team mascot and expert at greeting people in the studio with such exuberance and unrestrained joy. She will lay in her bed while you shop and is happy to give her expert opinion when you can’t decide between two different styles. Fun Fact: Miglia (aka Migs) was born in California and traveled cross country with me to New Jersey. She’ll happily admit that she’s now a Jersey Girl, through and through. The beach is her happy place, just like her mom.
My last bit of knowledge that I’d like to share is this: surround yourself with people who make you feel like the best version of yourself. Hire with intention. Find the humans who want to do an excellent job, those who are eager to continue learning and excelling. Always practice personal and professional growth. Be grateful - every damn day. Find balance and maintain it, even when it doesn’t feel natural. Life is a journey…for all of us. Together, when we rally as one…even in small numbers, we can move mountains. Dream Big and take deep breaths along the way.
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