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Episode 115 of 231

115 | Scaling a handmade jewelry business with Dani Paquin of Agapantha

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We’ve heard a lot of fun origin stories on the Proof to Product Podcast, but today’s episode with Dani Paquin, founder of the jewelry company Agapantha, is an extra sweet and serendipitous start-up story. Dani founded her jewelry company in 2004 somewhere on a dusty road as she was touring the United States as a singer-songwriter. Between tours, Dani worked at her home in Brooklyn assembling jewelry for other designers, but at that moment on the road, she finally realized she had to bring her own designs to life. So Agapantha was born and an important artistic shift was made.  What does Agapantha mean? It's the first flower that Dani's grandmother taught her to say. Today, Dani pays homage to her and the inspirational women in her life by naming each collection after someone special. Her delicate, minimalist layering jewelry that is sold in boutiques around the world and Agapantha recently celebrated 15th years of business.  On today's episode, Dani shares her start-up story. We talk about how she slowly and thoughtfully grew her jewelry line over the years and how she scaled production for a handmade product. Dani also encourages all of us to just keep going - because you never know where things will lead.  ON TODAY’S EPISODE:  How Dani got started making jewelry  What inspires her work  The way Agapantha has evolved over the years  How frequently Dani releases new pieces  Pain points of catering to both retail and wholesale  The first role Dani hired for  The importance of training and trusting your team  How Dani shifted her business model and scaled up  What she learned from 15 years of entrepreneurship  Beneficial mistakes and resources that helped Dani get where she is today Advice for individuals just starting out KEY TAKE-AWAYS:   “Let's be real. We're all trying to do the job of about one million people.” - Dani Paquin  “I've been working really hard to find great people that I can trust and I can give things away. To try to start focusing more on what I'm really good at and what I want to do.” - Dani Paquin  “There are times where even if we have a team, we still have to get our hands dirty. It's still our company. We have to do the work.” - Katie Hunt  “It took me a long time to be okay with having someone in my space that I didn’t feel like I needed to talk to or feel like I had to entertain. That's a big change when you're used to working alone.” - Dani Paquin  “Manufacturing is one of those big pivots decisions. It's an opportunity for growth but it can be scary.” - Kaite Hunt “I'm in the midst of my first project where I'm manufacturing overseas for a much larger scale project than we could do on our own here. It's really exciting and really scary. But I feel like a doorway into something new.” - Dani Paquin  “Ultimately it always comes back to how much I love what I do and I don't want to do anything else. Just to just keep going, one day at a time. One foot in front of the other. You do your best.” - Dani Paquin  “Once you embrace making mistakes and failing, not as a failure, but as an opportunity for growth, then you know what not to do. You have to get through that In order to go farther. There's no way to do it without that.” - Dani Paquin  “If you meet someone and you have an instinct about them, that you're not going to get paid or something's off, trust your instincts. Don't be in a store just to be in a store.” - Dani Paquin  “We're artists and designers and that doesn't mean we’re bad at business. But often it means that the business side is not what we’re focusing on.” - Dani Paquin  “It's always nice to have an outside perspective weighing in on your business decisions because it's so personal to you. It's so close to you. It is your art.” - Katie Hunt  “It's okay to say "no" to some things that don't feel right. Keep going. Or know when to quit.” - Dani Paquin    LINKS Website: http://www.agapantha.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/agapanthajewelry/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/agapanthajewelry/   SUBSCRIBE To subscribe on iOS, go to the iTunes page and subscribe to Proof to Product. On Android, you can listen using your favorite podcast