Welcome to a new post in my lovely series called “Coffee Chat.” This series is focused on inspirational women who love their jobs and want to inspire other women to find their passions and transform their lives. Today’s coffee chat features Bere Diaz Pandit, who is the owner and designer of Sweet 1985. Her handmade cultural inspired jewelry has been featured in magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Elle and the list goes on. Keep reading to hear all about what makes her the woman she is today.
1. Where do you live and what is one random fact about you to break the ice with our readers?
I currently live in Grant Hill, San Diego. Fun Fact: I taught myself to make jewelry using Youtube! Of course not everything, but when I first started my business, I learned how to wire wrap and solder on the internet.
2. What is the first thing you like to do before you start your day?
I love COFFEE. I am a coffee addict. I get out of bed like a ninja with the goal of not waking my husband. I fail every morning, but that’s okay (it’s all about creating the goal). I boil some water on my gooseneck kettle and make my drip coffee. It is an art to make drip coffee and the process is part of the fun.
3. What inspired you to go choose your career path as a entrepreneur? Is there a childhood memory that made you decide?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs. I always knew that I wanted to work for myself and make my own hours. Being my own boss would allow me to spend more time with my family and be very flexible.
I’ve always been a jewelry junkie and have had bad luck with expensive “costume” jewelry. Jewelry that I loved that later gave me rashes and turned my fingers into the hulk. I created my business with the plan to only use quality metals and still be affordable.
4. What was your very first step to get you where you are today as an entrepreneur?
My first step was building my business plan. I planned on being successful. I made sure that all of my goals were on paper. From production to my packaging and my target market. Having this is very important to starting your own business.
5. What was your big challenge you had to overcome to help you move forward with growing your business with new clients/customers?
My big challenge was not having a steady income. I could of easily worked for somebody else and been financially secure, but I decided to work for myself and really PUSH myself to make it. I created my product line sheets and put myself out there. I started calling and emailing boutiques to introduce my brand. I remember my first call, I was shaky and scared.
6. What are three habits you would recommend to someone pursuing their dream career as an entrepreneur?
DON’T Procrastinate, Wake up early: Wake up every day with a Goal. Make your coffee, get dressed (Even when you work from home! Trust me, doing this will make you feel more prepared) + go down your list of to-do’s. Find something that inspires you every day.
Manage your time: I set alarm on my phone per task. It is very easy to get distracted as an entrepreneur. When I first started, I’d look at the time and ask myself “What have I done? Where did the time go?” This was a problem I had. I started setting alarms to help myself meet my goals. For example, I spend one hour in the morning to have my coffee and catch up on my emails. Once that hour passes and my alarm rings, my goal per task is to get everything done in that time frame. After each alarm, I get up, stretch, have a snack and get back to the next task.
Collaborate: Do your research on your target market and brands/bloggers with a similar aesthetic. Growing a business using social media is VERY important. I have approached other business owners and bloggers with a plan to collaborate and cross promote with each other. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there. Go to business events and introduce yourself to strangers.
7. How would you describe your support network? Who is in it?
My support group is amazing. I have an amazing husband and an entire group of boss babes that I communicate with on a daily and cheer each other on. It is very important to learn who your true friends are. A friend forever is a friend who will be there for you even if you are extremely busy with your business. I lost a lot of friends along the way but gained so many new friends who are very supportive.
8. What’s one skill you are currently working on to be an effective leader?
Trusting others. I am a perfectionist and I try to make and do everything myself. I have slowly outsourced work in order to move ahead. I am still working on this. I am aiming to hire more people this year.
9. To balance out your work life, what’s your fitness and health regime?
I stop working at 5pm daily. This allows me time to work out and go to the market. I sign up for gym classes approx 3-4 times a week. I love doing body pump, cycle and yoga to relax my mind that is usually working non stop. On the weekdays I enjoy cooking healthy every night. I try to cook with as many veggies possible. On the weekends I usually have a cheat day where I go out to dinner and enjoy a nice meal and a cocktail. We all deserve a break from time to time.
10. What is one book that helped you on your career journey that you would recommend?
I actually read this book while I was in high school and it really stuck. It is called, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I still remember Habit 1 : BE PROACTIVE.
“Your life doesn’t just ‘happen.’ Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.”