Jewelry designer Matthew Harris on how his brand Mateo Bijoux went from a small-scale business to the next hot thing in accessories.
Company Name: Mateo Bijoux
Designer: Matthew "Mateo" Harris
Occupation: Jewelry Designer
Business location: New York City
How long I've been in business: 4 Years
What I do: I am a creature of wearable art.
Why I do it: I believe it's my gift and it's my duty to share such gifts and art.
The moment I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur: After I left college. I knew a conventional career was not for me.
The most important thing I've learned: Never give up.
The one thing I never expected was: The amount of work you have to put in. Napolean Hill says, "There is never something for nothing." As an entrepreneur, you must put the work in to get the desired results.
How I went from a small scale business to being sold in stores: Macy's has a tremendous workshop for minority owned businesses. One of my dear friends told me about the program. She explained it was an advanced MBA program for minority businesses over a five day period. I thought, 'Oh well have nothing to loose.' I visited the website and applied and the rest was history.
The workshop was tremendous for my business. You learn all the essentials it takes to do business with a major retailer such as Macy's. Most importantly, the best part about the workshop is the depth of information which you receive. The workshop within itself is also a mentorship program. The directors of the program have a one-on-one business evaluation weekly to discuss opportunities, threats and just overall how to develop and grow the business successfully.
Since the program, I have shot an ad campaign for the Macy's Workshop. Our collection is now available at the new mens floor at Macy's Herald Square. There is so many great things to come including our launch this November at Nordstrom.
What's different about my line: The unique and innovative designs. For example, one of our signatures is a zipper necklace which is fully functional. This piece was worn by Rihanna and others. There is an emotional connection with my jewelry as each collection tells a story.
Entrepreneur I look up to most: Giorgio Armani
Style icons I'm inspired by: Grace Jones. I kind of think she's my long lost mother.
Key advice I would give to budding entrepreneurs: Do lots of research. Make sure whatever it is you want to offer, it must unique and somewhat different from whats already available. You must stand out. Be persistent.