Words by: Leora Moreno
I love my job. The (somewhat) unsavoury hours and stress are unparalleled to the sense of accomplishment and joy it brings. My background is in marketing, with a strong emphasis on social media. I’d created many social media strategies and built up profiles for very corporate businesses until I started my jewellery company, Leo With Love, almost 3 years ago. The core principles of Leo With Love are gratitude and love, and my initial collections are inspired by the women in my life who’ve had a positive influence on it.
Having done a complete career pivot, I never thought I’d be going from a clinically corporate job to designing and making my own jewellery. I’d like to say life has a way of creating opportune moments, but honestly, it’s about when you’re willing to make the changes you want to see in your life.
The idea was born in 2016, back in LA, where I’m from. My sister was recovering from a near-terminal illness and we were talking about how you only get one certain chance in life to LIVE your life.
I knew I’d always wanted to start a business
I loved making jewellery as presents for people but had never thought to put the two things together. Although my background is in corporate companies, the experience with my sister’s illness helped me see what was important.
After arriving back in London, I found a job at a super corporate job I hated. Although I met some really fantastic people there, the office politics were extremely toxic. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all corporate office jobs are trash, I’m just saying the wrong environment can make the most confident person question themselves. I had been tattled on to the HR -department numerous times. I thought I was being my optimistic myself, but apparently, it’s a “red flag”.
You’re probably waiting for something really juicy right about now. Hate to disappoint you, but it was pretty boring. There were a few watercooler chats about being a little stressed over projects, I had a little box of “good fortunes” I bought at Urban Outfitters because it was on sale for £1 and thought it would be a cute little gift for the team if anyone needed a quick positive message / a bit of fun.
Turns out, someone on the team found it really weird. Aside from telling me as much, they told our manager who had a meeting with me about not bringing in those types of gifts because it looks bad on the marketing team. Also, I’m not allowed to use the word “stressed”, I need to say “stretched” because it’s similar but not as serious. Semantics, honey.
The one thing that kept me motivated was earning that comfortable cushion to survive on while building the life I wanted, you only get one certain chance to live it. In the evenings I’d work on branding, designs, writing product descriptions and anything else I could think of. It gave me life, a sense of purpose and confidence in the future.
Seven months into this job, the manager had a few more “friendly chats” with me, never because of my work or work ethic. I wasn’t going out to lunch enough with others and someone was anonymously concerned I liked to write pep talks to myself in the morning before starting my workday. Daily appreciation and kind words to myself are my normal ritual- you should definitely try it if you don’t already. In this particular environment, it was abnormal and grounds for concern. Go figure.
The final straw came down to a typo. I had sent out an email to the company’s subscriber list of a few thousand without a space between two words. Should it have happened? No. Do accidents happen? Yes. Did it require a two-hour dressing down and stringent QC measures put in place? Big Nope.
It was at that point I decided I was done. This just isn’t important and I’m not using another second of this one certain chance at life to worry about a typo.
After quitting on the spot, the real work started.
I’d left earlier than anticipated, so picked up freelance marketing jobs and social media clients. This meant emailing contacts and proactively contacting companies about the services I provide. Lack of money wasn’t going to be a reason I didn’t pursue my jewellery business.
Even with those contracts, the time to focus was mine and I haven’t stopped since. In my third year of trading, I’ll be going into profit. Not by much but seeing as most companies don’t see a profit until their fifth year, I’m enthusiastic. 2019 has already seen Leo With Love have so much growth and opportunity and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Image credits – Leo With Love