January 05, 2023
Andrew Wolgemuth - Diamonds in the Rough - Finding Opportunity in the Most Unlikely Places

Andrew Wolgemuth is the co-founder and CEO of Wove, a jewelry company that is reinventing the jewelry industry by changing the way couples design and purchase engagement rings. As a US Army Ranger deployed in Afghanistan, sta...


Andrew Wolgemuth is the co-founder and CEO of Wove, a jewelry company that is reinventing the jewelry industry by changing the way couples design and purchase engagement rings.

As a US Army Ranger deployed in Afghanistan, starting a business was the last thing on Andrew's mind. But when he discovered a unique need among his fellow soldiers, his willingness to help them led him on an unexpected path to business ownership.

When many of his friends serving in Afghanistan needed a way to design an engagement ring while deployed so they could make their dream of a homecoming marriage proposal a reality, Andrew knew he could help find a way his friends could design a ring while away from home without the risk of mailing the final ring to an APO address in Afghanistan.

Andrew is no stranger to the jewelry business. He grew up with a front row seat watching his parents run their jewelry business from the time he was a child, but he had no plans to work in the industry himself. 

After consulting with his family’s business, Andrew created an innovative solution by doing remote design consultations to produce replica rings for the big homecoming proposal. That was the birth of Wove, which has since expanded to help any couple who wants to design their dream ring to try on at home.

Andrew talks about the early days of the business and the approach they took starting off small to test things out. He also shares how his deep understanding of the customer journey instilled a deep conviction in what they were building that helped carry him through the challenges of building a business.

Wove made the decision to seek venture capital to help them scale the business and Andrew details how they came to that decision, the arduous process of seeking outside funding, and his advice for any founders who are considering VC funding vs. bootstrapping their business.

Wove creates mor than just jewelry, they create an experience. Andrew explains how important it is to the company to create a high-touch customer experience during one of the most important moments in a couple’s life. Andrew describes the process they take their customers through and how their commitment to the experience has resulted in a lower cost of customer acquisition, giving Wove a competitive edge over their competitors. 

Wove’s business model has also created a whole new category for jewelry designers who want to work directly with clients, and Andrew explains how this has helped them attract top design talent from prominent jewelry companies.

Finally, Andrew shares his insight on what’s real in the business world vs. what we hear and his advice for anyone considering going into entrepreneurship.

Find Andrew  at:

Website: http://www.wovemade.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/wove_made

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/wovemade/


Visit Stephanie at: https://stephaniehayes.biz/

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Transcript
Stephanie:

Welcome to the Real People Real Business Show. My name is Stephanie Hayes and I'm business strategist who loves to speak with like-minded entrepreneurs to share their real stories and the gritty details on building their businesses. On this show, you won't hear about the glamorized entrepreneurship journeys that you see online. You won't be told how to make six figures in six weeks. Instead, you can expect to hear a real vulnerable and inspiring stories that you can relate to that have helped create the foundation for each of. Businesses. Goodbye boss Babes and hello, real life entrepreneurs. Today I'm so excited to welcome Andrew Wolgemuth. Andrew is an entrepreneur with a vision for reinventing the jewelry industry. Andrew grew up in the jewelry industry with two entrepreneurial parents who started a small jewelry shop when he was a child. Andrew started Wove while serving in the US Army Rangers by sending realistic replicas to his friends overseas who were looking to purchase a ring while on deployment. He's currently the founder and CEO of wove, and he previously served as the platoon leader and deputy commander in the US Army's 75th Ranger Regiment leading a TI team of 40 special operators in unconventional environments around the world. Welcome to the show and thanks so much for taking the time to share your

Andrew:

story today. Thanks so much for having me, Stephanie. Excited to be here.

Stephanie:

Yeah. And talk about a juxtaposition. So we've got jewelry and the army, so I need to hear the whole backstory. Tell me how you got to where you

Andrew:

are now. people oftentimes give my co-founder and I funny looks when they hear that two rangers are gonna start a jewelry company. Um, and it, I was never really planning on joining the jewelry industry. I always wanted to be in the army. And after college decided that was the route that I was going to take. Um, and on my last deployment to Afghanistan in the summer of 2018, Many of my friends that were deployed with me, um, in the Ranger regiment wanted the opportunity to buy an engagement ring while they were deployed so that when they got back and stepped off the plane, they could drop to a need and propose, and the problem became shipping an engagement ring to an APO address in Afghanistan. No one was really willing to take the risk on seeing if the ring showed up or not. Uh, and so what we started doing is doing remote design consultations with my family's business building exact replica rings of those designs that looked and felt indistinguishable from what the final ring would look like, and that gave them the opportunity to one buy with confidence, propose with the replica ring and then get their partners feedback after the proposal to see if they wanted to make any changes before building the final ring. Um, and so really that was the earliest version of our company. Um, we got, um, had a lot of exciting traction early on with friends and family. And then in the middle of the pandemic, we also found that when jewelry stores were closed, even more people around the United States were asking for this service. But at that point it was still very much word of mouth, um, and wove the company that we are known as today. We officially launched, um, just under a year ago. And it's been, um, a challenging but exciting year. Um, so many stories, so many lessons learned, um, but excited to share with you our story.

Stephanie:

I love this. Um, you know, it's just such a typical, beautiful entrepreneurial story of seeing an opportunity with a problem that not a lot of people would really think about unless they're kind of there immersed in it, right? I think it's Albert Einstein that said, if I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes. Thinking about the problem in five minutes about the solution, right? So we really have to be totally immersed. And I guess, you know, you were, you were absolutely immersed and so, you know, from idea to conception, how did you manage to, to figure out how to logistically start making this thing happen where while

Andrew:

you're deployed? So never really planned on being in the jewelry industry. We really started, um, Small, utilizing my family's business to manufacture, design these rings on a really small scale and whoa, we really had to kind of figure it out as we went in the earliest versions of what we were doing. We were outsourcing every aspect of the design and product. To other jewelry companies, um, typically on Jewelers Row in Philadelphia. Um, and even up until about eight months ago, most of our production was outsourced. So I, that was a great way for us to test our idea without spending a ton of money, um, without having to develop the infrastructure, hire a ton of full-time employees. It was really a great way for us to brainstorm and figure out what our clients actually wanted before investing. If I could have spent, um, my 55 minutes of an hour focused on developing exactly what clients want before the, um, the action of building that thing, you know, we probably would've, uh, saved a lot of headache along the way. I think we we're on like the fourth or fifth iteration of, of our digital product experience and of our, uh, customer product path. And, um, a lot of things you just don't know until, you know, but, uh, I, I really like that quote. Yeah. You know what?

Stephanie:

I, I just saw it last night actually, and it was, you know, it just really resonated with me. Um, I actually, no, I saw it yesterday and it, and, you know, I do a lot of work around innovation strategy and innovation management, and so it was kind of embedded in a, in one of the books that I was reading, but it's so true, right? It, it's, it's the immersion that makes us. , you know, progress faster. And I think a lot of people kind of wait and they try to have all the right information and they try to do all the studying and all the data and, and collect as much information before they actually take a step forward. But you didn't, you didn't come from a real formal, like business education. This was instinct.

Andrew:

Not at all. Um, and. You know, I really went about seven years between my time at West Point, um, a very academic environment to starting Wove. Um, and while the Army is great at instilling, you know, leadership lessons and values, I certainly wasn't getting a business education, um, while in the service. And so I think a lot of. Intuition for entrepreneurship comes from watching my parents start a jewelry store. Um, that was a very focal point of my childhood for me and my siblings. Uh, we lived in the jewelry store until I was in, I think, like eighth grade, and so I can, like distinctly remember a lot of our weekends and evenings were spent working in the jewelry store As a kid, my, uh, bedroom was above the showroom. I can remember my parents were running upstairs telling us to keep it down because we had customers. You know, you don't require a, you know, world class MBA to start a business. You know, a lot of it is, you know, learning as you go, being resilient enough to pick, pick yourself up when things aren't working well, um, and just keep driving forward and trying things until it works. You know, for us, our earliest customers were friends, but once we went to scale our. You really have to fight for customers. Um, and it's one of the things I love about, about your show, I listened to a few episodes, is just the realism of, you know, entrepreneurship is not this big, shiny, um, object. It's a ton of work and, um, yeah, uh, it's hard. Entrepreneurship is a challenge.

Stephanie:

It, it absolutely is. And I have an m mba, so I can validate that, you know, you can certainly get by without one. And I, you know, I have a lot more theory and, uh, you know, my, my M MBA was focused on entrepreneurship and management of technology, so it was like at least close to this stuff. But there's nothing, there's absolutely nothing that will replace the real world experience, and you have to. Just know that you're just gonna be in the shit for a while. Right. You're just gonna have to be experiential and, and I think we come from these corporate jobs or, you know, corporate experiences where, you know, you do all the research first and then you act. But that's not how this works.

Andrew:

I, since we're throwing quotes around, one that one of my mentors gave me this week that kind of, I think speaks to exactly what we're talking about is. Let me see if I can get this right, is that success is fleeting, but failure is never final. Um, and I think it's kind of a play on a Winston Churchill quote, but I l I lean on that a lot. Um, it's kind of like, you know, don't let your highs be too high and your lows be too low. Um, you know, continue to, to run the race. Um, uh, ultimately, you know, you'll get there, but, uh, yeah, it's, it's been an exciting couple of years for us. Um, we launched, I said, uh, in December, uh, and we're in the process. We just closed a seed around the funding recently and are in the process of putting out some new digital products to help our, our consumers. Um, but what's like really unique about what we. We're the only jewelry company that exists that does custom replicas of our engagement rings, and so what our process looks like, if a customer comes to our site today, they will do a 30 minute design consultation with one of our in-house jewelry designers. Hand sketch of that design in 24 hours. If they like that design, we'll go ahead and build them a replica and send it to them in seven days. And really this gives them an opportunity to see their design in person. Know exactly what it'll look like, test drive it, wear it, run the house. Ask the opinions of those people that you care about. And ultimately, when you're ready, um, we will help you build the final ring, source, the diamond. So you go skiing at Whistler. If you want to go to a different country, you don't have to risk losing your expensive engagement ring. Uh, you can wear the travel one instead. So I'm glad you

Stephanie:

said this because as you know, I'm a. Business model designer. And as I was, you know, listening to you talk, I'm like, this isn't just about deployments, right? This isn't just like you, you started with this one key problem that you were trying to solve, but now look at all of the other applications. Like I'm, I'm a like a loser. And I don't mean that in the sense, I mean, I lose things, right? Oh, yeah. And , why? And it would be like, I never wore my wedding ring. I never wore my engagement ring because I was terrified of losing it. And. You know, I would've worn a replica if I was out doing something, going kiteboarding or something like that.

Andrew:

Yeah, yeah. You know, and my wife has lost or shattered her so many times. But it is like, it, it, it serves multiple purposes. One, I think it gives people the confidence. What they're getting is exactly what they want versus having to put up thousands of dollars. You only see photos of it and you hope what shows up is actually what you want to wear the rest of your life. A lot of people that are already engaged and married come to us asking, can you build a replica of my ring? Like, I really want a replica. Um, and unfortunately we're not in the business of building replicas, but I think for our clients that come to wove, it's just an added bonus, um, in working with with our team. Um, and the other thing I was gonna say too is, you know, a lot of what we offer is an experience, not just a product. Um, couples want this experience of designing something together. And so what a better way to start that process than, you know, designing a ring together and going through this full immersive design experience. Um, as a couple. Like that's really cool to me. And I love that we get to play a, a special part in couple's lives when they're at this momentous occasion, um, in their life.

Stephanie:

So walk me through this. So if I, let's say I am deployed overseas and I want to come back with an engagement ring. How does the design process work if I'm remote?

Andrew:

Yeah. So, well, um, and I'll say this first. Like we, we started with veterans, but we, um, We are not, uh, you know, we love working with veterans even today, but this is not a company just for veterans. This is a company for all couples. And today we market to couples around the US and Canada that are interested in designing a custom engagement ring. But for the service members that were deployed overseas, it would be the exact same experience that a couple would, uh, experience in their house today in the United States or Canada. Um, it's all over Zoom call, um, all of the meeting. And then we get your address and we ship a realistic replica ring to your house in seven days. Um, and that's really, um, you know how it works, uh, designing with the help of a jewelry designer, we send you multiple design iterations. Once you decide on one, send you the replica. Once you approve that, we send you the final ring.

Stephanie:

And so it's really like, I can have it on and see how it looks on my

Andrew:

fingers. Cause you know, oh my gosh, it looks and. Indistinguishable from the final thing. Yeah. You would not be able to tell the difference. A lot of people think that they are. I'm holding up a ring on my, on my Zoom screen right now, . Um, but essentially you would not be able to tell the difference unless you were a certified gemologist. Um, I mean, I look at diamonds every day and it is very difficult for me to tell the replica from the final, the replica's a little bit. But essentially what we're doing is we are utilizing the same production process. For our replica rings as we use for final rings, we're just substituting non precious materials. So, you know, instead of it being a platinum ring with, with diamonds, we're casting it in brass. We're plating it in white gold to give it the same color as what the real one would look like. And then we set it with, uh, a material called cubic zirconium. Which is a material that looks a very similar diamond. It re refracts light very similarly. And so it gives you this beautiful, realistic look. Um, that, uh, yeah, that that's really exciting and people fall in love with it. Uh, but it is funny, a lot of people when they first hear that they're getting a replica, they think it's gonna be some plastic 3D printed, uh, you know, ring. And they're very pleasantly surprised when they see what. I'm

Stephanie:

thinking also for the, the poor, uh, folks who are doing the surprise engagement wherever, whether they're service members or not, and they're just not sure if they got the right design. I, so if I'm understanding correctly, they can have the replica made first and then, you know, do their engagement and if the, the wearer, and I say that because I'm the one who proposed to my, my ex-husband. But, uh, if the wearer is not like fully happy with it, they can go through a design process without, you know, losing the investment that they've made in the original

Andrew:

ring. Exactly. Yeah. Um, and one of the things that's so great about our process is it's highly flexible. So something that surprises a lot of people is that 70% of couples today buy their engagement ring together. Um, and that's shocking to a lot of people. I think, um, some older generations would be blown away by that statistic. But really what our process offers is the flexibility for couples to choose kind of how they want to design. So, for instance, a lot of times, most of the time I would say both couples design the ring together. And then one partner will kind of drop out of the process once they get to diamond selection and price starts to get involved. One partner will pay, receive the ring propose. Um, but the, the ring itself is not a surprise. The proposal is a surprise. Um, and so that's, uh, exciting to a lot of people. It kind of takes the stress out of buying the ring that, you know, they'll love. and instead, you know, focusing on that, that moment of how am I gonna propose to this person.

Stephanie:

So tell me, so you mentioned that you, you've just gotten some funding and you are now scaling the business. So tell me a little bit about how you went. Like when did you make that decision that that was gonna be the route? and what's been your process for, like, how did you I own a software company and we actually have decided not to go for funding and we wanted to grow and bootstrap, and we knew that that was gonna have limitations in terms of how far we could scale, but it was a lifestyle choice. We're all old. But for you, tell me a little bit more about that process for, you know, deciding to go for funding and, and you

Andrew:

know, how that. I think it's a question that every founder should really seriously consider whether they bootstrap or whether they choose to raise venture. Um, and, you know, you kind of mentioned it, but the pros and cons being, you know, if you bootstrap it, you in a hundred percent of your company, you don't report to anyone in theory. Um, and ultimately at the end of the day, uh, you get all of the reward if the company succeeds or fails. Um, with a venture, you know, the major benefit being you get funding upfront. Downside is you give up a percentage of your company. So for us, you know, we knew with what we wanted to build, we would have to, uh, We needed capital, um, and we needed capital for the manufacturing process. And we also felt like if we wanted to compete in a direct-to-consumer e-commerce environment, we were gonna need capital to win in the online advertising space. And so we made a very intentional decision early on to raise venture funding. So we decided that, um, Essentially from the beginning, we raised, um, 850,000 last summer as a pre-seed, and then we closed a 3 million seed round, um, this past, uh, this past fall. So, um, A lot of that capital will go to growing our team manufacturing, um, and creating a digital user experience on the software side and web development side that can, um, allow our customization process to scale. Um, and so that's really why we chose to raise venture funding. Um, you know, we want to grow as, as quickly as we can, as big as we. Um, and oftentimes that model requires significant capital, uh, to grow.

Stephanie:

Yeah. And it, it, you're, you're absolutely right. It is a, it's a dis it's a business decision that I think a lot of people, um, I work with a, a VC in building out, um, Their side of like, investorpreneurs, right? And this is taking the, specifically the bootstraps and helping them, you know, get to a sale and get to money. And I think a lot of people are not aware of their options and that they can still continue to have success and build a business and, and exit, exit a business even without, um, taking on, you know, venture. Capital. Right. So it's, it's a, it's quite a process and it's not for the light, you know, the, the lighthearted, I guess not the lighthearted, the, the faint

Andrew:

of heart Sure. Yeah. I mean, raising capital is a slog. Mm-hmm. . Um, and honestly I hate it because what it does is it pulls you away from actually building your company. That's right. Uh, so it's certainly something to weigh in on. Um, if you decide to raise venture, you know, we were fortunate that we were at a position where, Um, at the time that we raised, uh, I had a co I had a, um, and I still have a, I have an amazing co-founder, but we were able to de delineate tasks in a way where we could go out and fundraise. But it is a challenge. It really doubles your workload. I mean, I think we've pitched for every yes that we. Um, we probably received 40 nos. Um, and so, you know, you, you end up pitching hundreds of times different venture capital firms, angel investors. Um, you get really good at pitching. Uh, but ultimately you wanna get really good at building a business and not, uh, building and presenting pitch decks, um, albeit important. So I think it's a hundred percent just a, a consideration that all founders should have if they decide to take that.

Stephanie:

Yeah, it's a full-time job getting funding . Andrew: Mm-hmm. for, for a while. It's actually just demoralizing, . I mean, the truth of the matter is, is there are moments where you lose faith. You know, you, you, you have to be careful not to lose faith in your own idea. So you start to think, Hey, am I building something worthwhile? And so I think it's really important to stick to your conviction. , um, and, you know, continue to believe in what you believe despite having lots of nos thrown at you. We were pitching about three times a day, uh, to different firms and it was just a lot, lot of work. Um, and luckily, you know, I have a great co-founder that I can lean on and, you know, we comforted each other when we had, you know, a series of nos in a row. Uh, but ultimately, um, I think the hard work will pay off. And, uh, you know, we, we got lucky. So, that's a really good question. I mean, uh, like I, I've been through that many times and it's, it's hard, you know, I worked in a lot of startups. I have led a lot of startups and that, that, that funding round is tough. So how do, how did you stay focused and, and believe in your idea when you're in the face of so many?

Andrew:

I think I had a really strong conviction in what we were building because of my deep understanding of the customer journey when it comes to engagement rings. Um, and for me, I had the opportunity, not all founders have this level of, of background in what they're building. I was so fortunate that I grew up in a jewelry store, um, and having no intention of starting a jewelry startup. What I got to witness is hundreds, if not thousands of couples navigating. This experience both in my family's jewelry store, uh, but also, you know, through friends and family that were navigating this process on their own. And so being able to have a deep understanding of customer pain points, um, you know, all these buzzwords that people throw around, but really understand the customer journey. And, um, I had full conviction at what we were building was better than the next best alternative on the market. And so that really was what I. leaned in on, um, you know, through a series of, of nos. Um, but yeah, yeah,

Stephanie:

I, like we've talked about already beat this to death, but, you know, understanding who you're working with and, and what they need is absolutely critical. It's the number one thing you can invest in. And speaking of investments, so now you have money and you know, what's the path to growth

Andrew:

for you? Yeah. Uh, so really what we are hyper focused on is providing the world's best engagement ring buying experience. Um, you know, we are in the process of, of working on. Jewelry offerings outside of bridal. So really like our goal at Wove is to be the lifelong jeweler for our customers. We believe that starts with the engagement ring buying experience for a couple of reasons. One, it is the most significant jewelry purchase that a couple will make in their lifetime. It's typically the first jewelry purchase they'll make. Um, and it's the most intensive, I would say, and so, you know, Mission right now is to be able to provide an amazing experience where we earn their trust and ultimately make them, uh, you know, believers in, in Wove and down the road, offer other jewelry offerings. So then we can extend the lifetime value and lifetime, uh, the lifetime value of that customer. So, um, really the next things for us, we are launching an e-commerce experience in the next two weeks where if a client doesn't want that full custom experience, they can choose one of our pre-designed rings, get a replica for free, try it from home. If they like it, we'll build them, uh, send them the real thing. If not, they can send the replica back. Um, and then we're launching jewelry in early 2023, so about two months out. Uh, we will have jewelry lines listed on our site, um, that we designed in-house for our clients that want an anniversary gift, a wedding gift, um, you know, uh, another gift to signify an important moment in.

Stephanie:

I wish someone was buying me jewelry, I would send them over to you. Um, . And so the question that comes to mind is, is how do you remain competitive from a pricing perspective? If you've built in this additional service that clearly costs something, right. You know? Yeah. You're not building plastic rings, so, um, what's, you know, what's the

Andrew:

strategy? It's, you would be blown away at the amount. So the cost to acquire a customer for e-commerce jewelry companies is very high. Um, you know, be bef it's around a thousand dollars. If you're selling an $8,000 engagement ring, you can spend about a thousand dollars to acquire a customer, which, if you're in a, you know, indirect to consumer brands, that's a ton of money. And so what we're finding for ourselves is that our cost to acquire a customer from an ad spend or marketing perspective is actually lower. And the reason being, Our word of mouth and referral traffic is very high because of the experience that we offer. It being one of a kind, um, we're actually able to lower our cost of acquisition from a digital advertising and allocate that towards this replica experience. Uh, and so really that's how we rationalize the expense of, you know, going through all of this work to build a replica ring, um, for a customer that may or may not buy from us. Hopefully that answers the question. Yeah,

Stephanie:

no, I, I know there's a lot more nuance associated with that, that whole question, but it was, you know, it was kind of curious for me. And so you figured out a way to lower your cost of acquisition and that gets rolled into the price so that you can provide that kind of experience. And do you think that, do you think that that kind of experience is enough? That it's going to, you know, create those, create a, be like a

Andrew:

better conversion rate? Absolutely. So our conversion rate from replica rank two, final sale is about 75%, which is very high. Um, most jewelry stores on average will have, you know, three people walk in to buy an engagement ring for every one sale. So, you know, if you kind of correlate those two things, obviously they're a little bit what we've found is that customers that buy an engagement ring from us around 90% are returning for wedding bands. So our NPS score, our, our reviews are very, very positive and I think it's because of the high-touch experience that we offer. Um, it is fascinating. Other jewelry companies that I'm familiar with that know what I'm building are blown away by the level of effort that we go through to satisfy each client being through this design and replicate experience. Um, but I think that, you know, that is really what is building our brand. That's what gets people excited. Um, and ultimately, uh, that's what we want to be known for, um, that level of. Yeah.

Stephanie:

I love it. I love it. And what, what are your, your existing customers saying about it? Like, do they really have that sort of transformational experience and does it solve the problems that you're hoping to

Andrew:

solve? Yeah, um, absolutely. Um, you know, like I said, we have, we have really high reviews from our existing customers, a very high return rate, 90% returning for wedding bands. Um, so, you know, we feel like we are extraordinarily well-equipped to satisfy our customers. Awesome. I

Stephanie:

love it. And so where, what are you seeing? Like is there a migration? So you started with, you know, a very particular niche customer. Are you starting to see that that kind of ideal customer is widening now and you're getting a more broad

Andrew:

interest base? Um, I, so we. We operate slightly up market from, uh, you know, what you would expect. So the average engagement ring in the US is around $6,000. Our average engagement ring is around 10, 12,000. Um, we build engagement rings for less than that. Uh, but we are attracting an upstream, uh, customer and I, I believe that is because of the services that we're offering.

Stephanie:

Do you think there's opportunities for partnerships? Is that something that you see in the future?

Andrew:

Yeah, I, I think there absolutely is one of the things that's really unique about what we are doing from a design perspective. Is we've kind of created a new category for jewelry designers as far as a new role. Most jewelry designers, they get hired by a Tiffany's or a Gabriel and Co. You know, these prominent jewelry companies that you hear about hire jewelry designers. And their job is to design pieces that may or may not ever be built and featured in those stores. And what we've created as a role for jewelry designers. We're able to hire top talent from across the jewelry industry and they work directly with clients. Um, And this, that like positive feedback loop, I think has been what's allowed us to attract a lot of top talent. Um, we've been able to top, um, to attract and hire, um, the lead jewelry designers from some, some top notable companies, um, from New York and, and around the us. Um, I think that's because of the role that we are offer. As far as collaborations, we want to continue to be able to collaborate with top designers across the industry.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Interesting. And, and where are you finding your designers? Are they, are they people you know already? Are you, are, are you getting designers coming

Andrew:

to you? , we, we are getting designers coming to us. Um, early on we, we scalped designers. I mean, we went to top companies, uh, and we figured out, you know, who are their designers and we made them offers that were better. Um, and that's actually how we got some of our early top talent. But it's a small world. The jewelry industry's a small industry, and a lot of these top designers know each other and, you know, A lot of them since the earlier days have become, uh, you know, referrals and, and friends of friends um, and so that's been a way for us to continue to get top talent. Yeah. Amazing.

Stephanie:

And I think that that's gonna continue to serve you. Obviously as you, you seem to be at that sort of snowball stage where you're starting to get the momentum and you're starting to pick up the momentum and all of the, you know, the ecosystem is gonna find you and it sounds like, you know, you've got the creativity to explore some new opportunities as well. So I'm really excited to see where you go.

Andrew:

Thanks so much. Yeah, we're, we're.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I have one question. I ask for all of, uh, all of my guests, and I'd love to hear your perspective on it. This show is all about kind of real stories and the things that we have to go through in order to, to sort of get there. What's the difference between what we hear out there in the world around being an entrepreneur and, and running a business and what's actually

Andrew:

real? Yeah. Um, We'll try to make my answer not sound too dark. Um, . That's ok. It's alright. Entrepreneurship. What's that? Ok. It's ok . Yeah. I, you know, my idea of entrepreneurship before doing this was, you know, Richard Branson, you know, I don't know if you've ever read, read Losing My Virginity, his, his, uh, one of his books, um, a about him starting Virgin Airlines and you. We, we all had this idea of what entrepreneurship is and most days are not fun. I actually wouldn't describe entrepreneurship as fun at all. Um, you know, I, I think you get to a point entrepreneurship where you. Quite literally sacrifice just about everything for your idea and for your business. Uh, which sounds sad, but it, it's all worthwhile if you find the purpose in what you are building. And if you don't have the purpose in what you are building, it's not worthwhile because it's not fun. Um, and so, you know, I think. What I would say to entre people that are interested in getting entrepreneurs is, is have an idea that you truly believe in. Don't make it about making money. Uh, don't make it about, uh, you know, wanting to have popularity or whatever you're searching for, but really believe in what you're building, um, because it's really difficult to rationalize the, the lifestyle decisions that you make if you don't believe in what you.

Stephanie:

Yeah. And I, I know that when I work with my clients, we always come back to like, well, who are you? Right? Who are you as a person? And I think a lot of people get into the entrepreneurship journey and they're just like, I'll just fit myself into all of these. I'll just do the things, the rules, right? Yeah. And eventually you really need to, I don't care if you're running a personal brand or you're running a business like you have, or whatever it might be, it's all comes back to, it has to be rooted in what you believe, your viewpoints, who you are as an individual. And if we. If we can't tie back into that, I think we have a really hard time pushing, you know, the business through to something and, and like maintaining through these really tough times and through things like three pitches a day, and yeah. I just have so much empathy

Andrew:

for you . Well, and to be completely transparent, um, you know, my interest was never jewelry go growing up. Yeah. Um, and even when we started work, I wasn't particularly interested in jewelry. What I found a lot of, um, what motivates me and what gets me excited about what I'm doing, uh, is truly getting the feedback of the, you know, seeing a happy couple, having gone through this experience, having purchased a ring that you know is high quality, they're excited about, that is their design. That to me is what makes it worth it for me, day in, day out, it's having the opportunity to serve a couple during one of the. Important moments of their life and make that experience extraordinary for them. Uh, that will always be more interesting to me than jewelry and diamonds and, um, you know, the, the industry as a whole, it's, it's those experience and those relationships that, that we get to be involved in. So that might sound cliche, but for me, that is, uh, that's really where it's, where it's at for me, and that that

Stephanie:

has to be there. That's your anchor. I love.

Andrew:

Awesome. Well, Stephanie, thank you so much. It was such a pleasure.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Thanks for taking the time to chat today. Can you tell the listeners how they can find you?

Andrew:

Yes. Uh, thank you for reminding me. Um, wovemade.com. It's w O V E M A D e.com. We're also on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, um, @wove_made. But would love for you to check us out, uh, look at our website, our Instagram, follow us, and uh, if you're interested in a ring, we'd love to. Yeah, and we'll make sure

Stephanie:

that all of those links are in the show notes and so everyone can find you and start their own journey together with you. Um, and so we're kind of at time, we're gonna wrap up the episode, but I'm so happy that we had the opportunity to chat today with Andrew to hear more about his, how his business came to be, his experiences along the way, and what the future of the business entails. And thanks for tuning into this episode of The Real People Real Business Show, where we get to real entrepreneurial stories and journeys that you can relate to the show notes, resources, and links from this episode are available on my website and social media platforms. Thank you again for joining us today. If you've enjoyed today's content, I'd love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're on to help us share these genuine stories with an even bigger audience. Until next time, keep building, keep dreaming and keep being real.