Our interview series is all about powerhouse women and men who inspire us through their work, creativity, business and passion. At Papier hq we are all about supporting and uplifting one another. These amazing individuals are here to share some of their expertise. Introducing Sera Cruickshank...
This week for our interview series we had the privilege of sitting down with the gorgeous Sera Cruickshank, owner and jewellery designer at The Diamond Shop. Located in Ponsonby, The Diamond Shop specialises in handcrafted diamond engagement rings. We caught up with Sera to talk about personal style, her business journey and motherhood.
1. What are some of the highlights and challenges of running your own business?
The highlights are watching the incredible team we have built do what they do best. Our customers' faces light up when they finally get the piece they have dreamed of and to know that you formed a part of that process is exhilarating. It is such an honour to be creating a piece of jewellery that will be treasured, passed down and tell stories for lifetimes to come. Of course any business will come with its challenges and having to always be future-proofing can become exhausting. Being your own boss adds an immense pressure to always be present and personally, I find taking time away very hard at times.
2. What has been a standout achievement from your business journey?
When Covid hit New Zealand we were a business that didn't own a functioning e-commerce platform and all of our sales were driven inside our physical store, so lockdown presented a huge challenge and so many unknowns for us, as it did for many businesses. The biggest standout achievement was the phenomenal amount of sales that we managed to generate through my personal instagram while in lockdown. This taught us SO much about our business and our customers. It has shaped who we are today for the better. We consider ourselves so incredibly lucky and look back on this as one of our biggest achievements.
3. What advice do you have for finding the perfect engagement ring?
The most vital component is finding a reputable jewellery boutique that can offer the service of bespoke designs, handcrafted jewellery and ready-to-wear jewellery. The more experienced the team is that you work with, the better the outcomes will be for you. It is their job to be the experts and ensure that their clients are getting the absolute best value for money. Working with an experienced team will mean that they are able to study the designs you like, and put together a piece that incorporates all the elements of the design that you love as well as wearability. A lifetime guarantee of craftsmanship and free jewellery cleaning are also musts.
4. What does a typical work day look like for you?
I wear so many different hats while I am in the store but the majority of my day is filled with designing and quoting bespoke engagement rings, sourcing and buying in our stock of diamonds and gemstones, as well as managing the business from a financial and operational level.
5. How do you balance work life, being a mother and a wife?
It is absolutely a challenge and I am so lucky to have a supportive family that I often have to call on to help out. I try to be kind to myself and remember that I am working hard for the future of my family, but at the same time making family a priority is a must because life really is too short - especially with how fast kids grow up. Sometimes this works better than other times, and that is OK too. My biggest rule is, unless it is absolutely urgent, once I get home I switch off from work and I give my family my full attention.
6. What advice would you give your younger self?
Almost everything you experience offers you a lesson, so never regret accepting an opportunity, starting up a business or just following your heart. It can take years for you to realise what you did learn, or how that experience paved the path for your next venture, but there will come a time that you can look back and have an "ahhh" moment. Try it, just do it, and have zero regrets. It'll make sense one day.
7. How would you describe your personal style in your home?
Minimalist and classic. I adore romantic neutral tones, natural textiles and stone. I enjoy creating features to each room using silhouettes like a feature coffee table, a headboard or a comfortable occasional chair.
8. Where do you go for style inspiration?
Instagram and Pinterest - I love that the algorithm automatically curates and builds moodboards specific to your style.
9. What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2021?
I am so excited to be curating and launching further designs from my new collection, and seeing these come to life on our new e-commerce website which we will be launching in the coming months. On a personal note, adding to our family the birth of our son at the end of the year will certainly be the highlight.
10. What are your favourite Papier hq pieces?
I have so many it is hard to choose but certainly the custom baby illustration print holds so much sentiment, the framed photo option for displaying family pictures and I have a massive weakness for the Silhouette artwork.