Sugar Blossom Jewelry just may be one of the most successful Winnipeg jewelry brands to date. Kelli’s beautifully designed stackable bracelets are signature staples on the wrists of Winnipeg’s most influential fashionistas, momma bears, and everyday gals.
We had the chance to chat with Kelli from Sugar Blossom about her start in the fashion industry, where her inspiration comes from as an entrepreneur, and what her plans for the future are. Take read below to see how Kelli cultivates work-life balance, and even find out her current favourite piece of Sugar Blossom Jewelry.
How did you get started?
I have always loved fashion & jewelry! From a very young age, I would take apart jewelry with pliers and re-create it. I had always dreamed of being a designer. Then I started modelling and would spend my summer holidays in Asia, by the time I was 15 I knew the industry inside and out. I then applied to Ryerson University on a whim and had just a week to get together an entire portfolio, and somehow pulled it off. I spent the next 4 years studying fashion and living in Toronto. During that time I continued to make jewelry as a hobby, but began getting stopped on the street by people asking where I bought the jewelry from and I even had several people ask me if they could buy a bracelet right off my wrist! After graduating from Ryerson I started working at a new PR and modelling agency for a few years, I helped launch the company from the beginning and it taught me so much about running a small business. I still continued to make jewelry as a hobby while I worked there, but slowly my hobby became busier and busier and with the encouragement of my husband and family, finally, I took the leap about 3 years ago to run my business, Sugar Blossom full time!
What is your mission statement?
To create casual everyday wearable jewelry that you can mix and match to show off your personality.
What are your values?
I truly believe (and I am living proof) that if you work hard enough, love what you do, and believe in your abilities, you can create whatever life you choose.
To my fault at times, I am the opposite of a procrastinator, as my husband says, I sometimes want things done yesterday.
I’m a stickler for quality and detail.
Family, friends and health before anything else.
If you work hard enough, love what you do, and believe in your abilities, you can create whatever life you choose.
Tell us your experience as a female-driven business?
I have a had such a positive experience so far. The amount of encouragement that I’ve received over the years from my customers is so amazing, and it just makes me want to continue to create and improve my line! Also, there are so many wonderful, smart, strong business women right here in Winnipeg that I have to look up to, which is so amazing. I’ve been fortunate to be friends with and grow alongside other female entrepreneurs like Jessie Thiessen of One plus One design, Jenna and Ashley Illchuck of Jenna Rae Cakes, and Liz Crawford of Swish Productions to name a few.
Tell us about the trials and victories as a small business?
To a certain extent, I’ve built my business by learning as the years have gone by; what has worked, what hasn’t and how I envision my company and line evolving. With that, I’ve felt completely overwhelmed at times, and very discouraged, but the one thing I’ve really learned is that if you continue to persist, doors will open, and opportunities you’ve only ever dreamed of will eventually start becoming a reality.
I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned earlier that my dream for as long as I can remember was to be a designer, it’s amazing what a little bit of encouragement and a shot in the arm from time to time can do to propel a small business to another level.
The one thing I’ve really learned is that if you continue to persist, doors will open, and opportunities you’ve only ever dreamed of will eventually start becoming a reality.
How do you cultivate work-life balance as an entrepreneur?
This is a tricky one for me. I love my job so much and I work from home so sometimes I find it so hard to pull myself away from it. I try and set a certain amount of hours that I will work each day, and I have a very consistent routine which makes it easier to balance it all.
What has been the best part of being a business owner so far?
I am a new mom, so I think being able to make my own schedule is the best part of it all. I still work a full day, but I work the hours that best suit my family, and it gives me more time to spend with my son and my husband. There is something to be said about making your own rules and setting your own goals, and the limitless potential that comes with owning your own company.
What are your goals for the future?
I would love to carry my line in retail stores all over the world. With this, I will look to hire a team of ambitious people to help me continue to create inspiring jewelry, and someday build a workspace of which is a place they are as excited to be as I am.
What inspires you?
Travel, art, my husband, and the ability to make pieces that people will LOVE!
What pushed you to make the decision to pursue the life of an entrepreneur?
My dad was a small business owner, so I grew up always knowing what the ups and downs of that looked like. I took many entrepreneurship courses in university as well and was always drawn to the idea of creating my own business and being my own boss. Eventually, it got to the point where I was trying to manage my day job and keep up with a growing business and there wasn’t anything holding me back from taking a chance on myself, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.
What is your current favourite product you sell and why?
My MAMA BEAR bracelet (because I’m a new mama) paired with Olive, Michal & Elle. This is my everyday go to combo right now! Next month I’m sure I’ll have a different favourite combo hahaha!
Kelli’s drive and passion for the fashion industry running throughout her life are wonderful testaments to how when you find an area you love, you can cultivate a creative outlet and find a way to succeed! Check out Sugar Blossom Jewelry online and on Instagram!