I had the pleasure of interviewing Lexie Broytman, founder of EvaDane Jewelry.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I first started EvaDane a few years ago. At the time, I was finishing my master’s degree in public relations and living in New York City while modeling.

The fashion industry is certainly interesting, and at times entertaining.

However, I felt much of my job as a model was beyond my control. I started to think about the benefits of a ‘side hustle’. This was really where I started exploring my interest in jewelry.

Why did you found your company?

I was inspired by gemstones and always had a true appreciation for handcrafted products, particularly jewelry. The business started to organically grow from that point forward.

I never imagined when I made my first stackable gemstone bracelet three years ago, I would eventually undertake metal smithing and craft fine jewelry.

Even prior to having the skills to build a ring, I would select stones I was drawn to and imagine how it could become a wearable piece of jewelry. I really enjoy what I do and I hope it is evident in the products.

What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I feel my business is outside of the norm in general. Most college students with a master’s degree graduate and go on to secure a job within their field.

While I have never regretted my degrees, I have never felt particularly drawn to a typical nine to five position. Taking this path to becoming a business owner and jewelry designer was completely unexpected and beyond rewarding thus far.

Jewelry smithing is new in one sense, but really, it is an old art. I love how it harks back to a tradition spanning thousands of years. That connection is unique and I am grateful to be afforded the chance to perpetuate it.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?

One of my biggest mentors has been my dad. He has started and built several businesses to great levels of success.

Through his example, I have been able to build a business of my own. He has pretty much been behind a computer screen ever since I can remember. But his discipline and determination were not lost on me. I am lucky to have had a role model like him.

However, there have definitely been others who have influenced me along the way; including any and all of my teachers within jewelry smithing who have helped grow my skills. Almost every situation can be a learning experience if you see it that way.

How are you going to shake things up next?

I am very excited about our newest project, a limited edition collection of bracelets which support Honey Bee conservation (available starting August 18th, National Honey Bee Day, on www.evadane.com).

I have always believed in sharing good energy and giving back to the greater community, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Honey Bee conservation. The bracelets feature stones such as Citrine, Dalmatian Jasper and Red Moonstone with gold and silver finishes. According to the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) honey bees pollinate $15 billion dollars worth of crops each year which equates to a third of everything that Americans consume, meaning without them, the ecosystem will struggle to survive.

Honey bees are on the decline due to a range of factors including, parasites, pesticide exposure and poor nutrition. But there are a number of initiatives to preserve them. Honey Bees symbolize community, power and balance — characteristics that are radiated in this collection. These insects are such an important part of our ecosystem. I wanted to create a collection that would resonate with those who care about their existence and the future of our environment.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?

1) Fear is Your Friend — I have found being afraid means your on the edge of something good. Generally when I experience fear about a certain aspect of my business, it is because I am about to take a risk. Calculated risk is necessary for growth and evolution. So, being a little afraid sometimes can be a good thing. I try to welcome it as much as possible.

2) Put Your Head Down — Running a business often means grinding tasks out. Certain aspects of programming or web design are not the most exciting work I have ever done. But these things are vital to any online retailer. Since I am a small business, I am doing most of the work myself and it is not always easy. In the end, getting the task done quickly pays off.

3) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff — Perfection is a beautiful illusion. I personally, do not think it truly exists. Getting caught up in the minutia of creating something perfect delays progress and creativity. I execute to the best of my ability and put it aside. I will then come back and edit it down. In the end, I stopped looking for perfection because it hindered me from moving forward.

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?

I read The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz a couple of years back when I was making a transition from New York City to Connecticut. The book uses Toltec philosophy to expand awareness of universal principles.

Basically the four agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best.

Following these ‘guidelines’ has helped me maneuver through tough situations and come out with better perspective. Anything I can read which opens me up to new ways of thinking is always a draw.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I would love to meet with Heidi Klum. I respect her journey through modeling and business. I would be very interested to hear more about her personal experience in business. Plus she has amazing personal style!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow EvaDane on — Instagram: @eva.dane, Facebook: @EvaDaneJewelry, Pinterest: EvaDane Jewelry

Originally published at medium.com