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Meet the maker: Joana on love, life and layering

Heyjow is celebrating its 6th year and we can't help but look back on the brand's early days when it was only a one-woman team. 

Designing jewelry was once just a dream for Joana Gube and when she came at a crossroads in her career, she took the risk of venturing out on her own. 

In this short interview, she shares her insights on being an entrepreneur and the most important lessons she learned in the past 6 years.   

1) How did Heyjow get started?

When Heyjow started in 2013, I had just left a full-time PR/marketing position. At the time, I was faced with two options: Look for another job, or pursue something that I’ve been dreaming about for over a decade, which was to design jewelry.

Creating a business at that stage in my life — a time when I didn’t have a job and very little start-up capital — was a huge risk. It seemed wiser to just get another job and save up until I could comfortably start a business.

I interviewed at several companies for corporate PR/marketing positions, and was offered positions in a couple of them but, with advice and support from my dear friends and family, I came to realize that if I took on a full-time job, I’d never be motivated to follow through on my dream.

So I decided to invest all of my time, resources, and personal savings into establishing Heyjow. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made ever made!

2) Why this particular business?

Designing jewelry has been a passion of mine since college. I started creating fashion accessories out of personal necessity: I always loved fashion, but as a student I couldn’t always afford the things I desired, so I had to make my own stuff.

3) Most memorable experience from building/running the business?

Every day is an adventure! The early days of running a business is definitely a memorable phase because it was filled with uncertainties. There was a lot of self-doubt. 'Can I really do this? What will I do if this doesn’t work out? Maybe I should look for a part-time job. Bahala na,' that’s really all I could think about.

I’ll always be thankful to all the people who have supported Heyjow. Words literally cannot express how grateful I am to all the Heyjow clients and partners.

4) Hardest part of the job?

Being a designer and entrepreneur is a 24/7 job. There is no “off” switch for when ideas will strike you — it could be in the middle of the night while you’re watching TV, on vacation, or during a workout session. And, as a business owner, there’s never a time when there’s nothing to do! But I’m not complaining — I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Joana has collaborated with designers Amina Aranaz and Rajo Laurel for exclusive collections available at Aranaz and The Rajo! Store 

5) Most rewarding part of the job?

The feedback I get from our clients is the most rewarding part of the job! Seeing Heyjow pieces worn by such lovely ladies is a truly delightful experience! My day is complete whenever a client tells me how she wore her recently acquired Heyjow piece to a particular occasion - a wedding, a girls’ night out, a baby shower - and how she got plenty of compliments and inquiries from her friends!

6) What are your favorite pieces?

It’s really tough to pinpoint specific pieces that I’d consider my “favorites” because each Heyjow piece is an extension of my personal experiences and ideas.

Right now, I’m in love with layering. Layering allows you to mix-and-match your pieces depending on your mood and the occasion. Layering is one of the most creative and expressive forms of accessorizing.

7) How do you balance work and family life?

Work-life/family-life balance is still a challenge for me, as well as for my husband, who is also an entrepreneur. I learned how to delegate other tasks to my team and work around my family's needs because we now have 2 kids. 

We take hard stops during our birthdays and go on family vacations so we can spend more time with them. And when we travel, we have made it a rule to leave our laptops at home.

8) What is the most important lesson you learned in the past 6 years?

It's a continuous learning process. I've learned that working outside my comfort zone such as doing collaborations does wonders. On a more personal note, I learned to let go and prioritize what's important and that is my family. When I started Heyjow, I was still single. And as my personal life changed, my brand also changed and it's okay to adjust some things as you go along. 

Parts of this interview first appeared on The Inspiration Seekers

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