“I love body jewellery, and I always strive to make them bold as I aim to make you stand out. When you stand out, you display exuberant positive emotions to those around you.”
Conversation with Sharon Wendo, a savvy fashion entrepreneur her journey through self-employment.
Her story is that of twists and turns before she found her purpose. Being a jewellery designer and passionate about everything made in Africa.
Sharon shares her passions, purpose and evolving spirit with Khusoko on what it takes to start jewellery design and what she has learned in the process through Epica African Jewellery.
Who is Sharon Wendo?
Sharon is a young woman who is very passionate about entrepreneurship and design. I am the founder, CEO and Creative Director at Epic African Jewellery.
You are involved in several initiatives. Can you tell us more about your passion and purpose?
I volunteered in the Ficha Uchi Campaign sometime back; it is an organization which helps underprivileged kids by providing them with decent school uniforms. I really loved the course and was happy to be a part of it.
I am very passionate about Epica Jewelry and entrepreneurship. I would love to pave the way for other young women to enter entrepreneurship and pursue their dreams, as it is very fulfilling.
What drove you to start your own business in 2015?
I wasn’t happy with the job I was doing, and I resigned and pursued my passion, jewellery with an African touch, and that’s the best decision I have ever made in my life.
What does success mean to you?
Success means a lot, especially when you are in the creative space. It is not easy, but when people buy and appreciate my work, that’s the biggest success.
What are some key skills one needs to have to attain success?
The most important thing is hard work. You must put in the work and the hours to achieve your goals. Another thing is patience; running a business is not easy, and you need patience to start seeing the results.
How have you taken the shell of entrepreneurship? What sparked your interest to give focus on African jewellery?
Entrepreneurship has been a very fulfilling journey as I have to learn and discover a lot about myself and meet many great people along the way.
Ms Juliana Mukiti actually taught me beading. She is an amazing lady who ended up being my mentor in my business. She has helped me to embrace my fears and discover more.
I have always been passionate about fashion from a very young age, and when I was taught this, I fell in love and decided to explore more and get into it. I focus on African jewellery because of my passion for everything made in Africa.
It is about the richness and authenticity that comes from different cultures. I saw it as an opportunity to make jewellery that embraces African art and style and can be appreciated worldwide; it is a way for the world to appreciate African culture.
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Being a woman in business, how does it influence your business venture?
Being a woman in business, especially in the fashion industry, has been really amazing for me as it has been easier for women to trust me when I make customized pieces as I myself wear them, and I have also got a lot of support from other women who are designers and stylists.
What are your proudest personal and professional moments?
That is when I resigned from my job and decided to venture into my own business. I was so happy. I didn’t know how I would even start, but I knew this is all I wanted.
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What advice would you give a young girl aspiring to be an entrepreneur? Aspiring to be involved in fashion design.
My advice will be, don’t be afraid to start and take risks, don’t be afraid to show your work to people in the same industry and get honest reviews because that’s how you will be able to improve on your skills, and finally, never give up, the best thing that will ever happen to you is a failure because that’s how you learn and you get back up and continue.
How are you addressing competition in the same market?
I have to say there is a lot of competition, but what I always try to do is to make things that are different; I am not afraid to take risks, and also, clients are a priority; I have to make them happy. When clients are happy and they trust you, they will always come back and recommend you wildly.
How do you ensure your brand stands the test of time and remains relevant?
My focus is to make bold and contemporary pieces, and jewellery that any woman can wear. I always strive to reinvent my brand and make pieces that are very fashion-forward.
Looking back, is there something you wish you had understood about starting your own business before you ever started?
One thing I wish I understood is my market; the moment you know your target market, it makes things easier on the kind of things you can make because when I started, I used to make a lot of things which were not even selling, so I was spending a lot of time doing the wrong things.