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Behind the Business with Dani Paquin of Agapantha Jewelry

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Agapantha Jewelry has been in the business of making beautiful, delicate jewelry for nearly 15 years. Run by maker Dani Paquin, Agapantha specializes in the kind of jewelry that can be worn everyday, from stackable rings to minimalist necklaces. Dani runs the company from her hometown of Los Angeles, but she is no stranger to life on the road. The company began sometime when she was busy touring the country, (she is also a musician) and she continues to travel to wholesale trade shows to sell her wares. We chatted with Dani about her travel essentials, her favorite piece of jewelry (mine is the Melissa necklace!) and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Read on for more.

Q. Can you give us a bit of background on the brand? How did you make the switch from musician to jewelry designer?

A. Before jewelry, I was a touring singer-songwriter. Music is no hot money-making scheme, so I started working for a couple of different jewelry designers as a production assistant in between tours. I’m not exactly sure why I thought I was qualified for that job—I had no formal training, but it turned out to be a great fit. I loved making jewelry, the technical side and creative side, and noticed that people were more than willing to pay for it. I was simultaneously inspired by jewelry making and burnt out on the hustle of independent music. I hadn’t been giving myself much space between tours and driving long hours often alone was getting to be a drag. So, Agapantha was born. For a while I did both music and jewelry, sometimes selling jewelry alongside CD's and eventually made an easy transition over to just jewelry.

Q. The life of an entrepreneur means an ever changing schedule, but can you describe your daily routine?

A. Ever changing is an understatement…I’m also a mom, so juggling all of the real life stuff along with owning a business can make for some odd hours. I’m generally up at least an hour before everyone else, so I’ll hop on emails etc. Then after I get my son to school and get my exercise done (essential to my personal survival), then I make my way to the studio. A day in the studio generally combines what I call computer work and actual jewelry making. There’s a lot on the business side and that can often become the priority. Luckily I have two amazing production assistants in studio and they can work on the making while I’m handling things like sales outreach, designing, trade show prep, payroll and photographyyou know, all the sexy stuff that actually keeps us in business. Around 5:30 I head to after care pick up and get started on dinner and homework. After bedtime I’ll often end up back on my computer for a while, but I do try to prioritize self-care and hanging out with my husband, (think baths, nerdy board games, and whatever TV series we’re obsessed with at that moment).

Q. Between touring and now tradeshows, travel seems to be a constant for you. What are you essentials for traveling? How do you stay balanced while on the road?

A. When traveling I make sure to totally overpack and have 17 more outfits than I needas well as more shoes than there are days of the trip. But if I ever learn to only bring what I actually need, my non-negotiable essentials are my Doctor Rogers Restore healing balm (great for lips and nails), a great moisturizer (after much searching, I really love the Ceravie Moisturizing Cream), a selection of my current favorite jewelry pieces, a bath bomb or two, a travel clothing steamer and work-out clothes. Working out or going for a run and eating healthy food is what really keeps me balanced and feeling good while I’m traveling and if I’m staying somewhere with a tub, a bath can be life-saving. 

Q. Can you share an aspect of your job that might be surprising to others?

A. I think what would surprise people is how little time I actually spend making the jewelry. So much of running any kind of successful company is the behind the scenes stuff. If no one knows about your product, it doesn’t matter how great it is. If you don’t build strong relationships with your clients, they don’t return. If you’re not always coming up with new, creative ideas, you get lost in the shuffle.

Q. What is the most challenging aspect of owning your business? Alternatively, what is the most rewarding?

A. My challenge is time or the perception that there isn’t enough of it. The feeling of being caught in the "keeping my head above water” state doesn’t allow you to grow or innovate. I’m constantly thinking about how I can work smarter, because longer isn’t an option. How can I outsource or delegate those things that I don’t love so I can work on the things I do love? 

But with all of that stress and anxiety that can come with owning your own business, also come the rewards. I absolutely cherish my customers. Seeing the happy faces and hearing the literal squeals of joy when I’m at my retail and wholesale shows, getting feedback about how much someone loves their jewelry and seeing my designs out in the world. It’s why I do it. I think jewelry can be so empowering. Wearing something you love can give you confidence, joy, and sometimes the meaning behind it is more important than even the piece itself...seeing all of that reflected in my customers is everything.

Q. What is your current favorite piece of jewelry and why?

A. This is so hard to answer since I’m constantly wearing something like 20 pieces of jewelry (stacking rings forever!). If I could only choose one piece, I think I have to go with the Cassidy hoops. They’re magical. I feel like they transform anything I’m wearing, pop even though I always leave my hair down and the discs are removable so they can be worn as plain hoops as well.

Q. What advice would you give to women who already own their own companies or have this same dream?

A. Just keep going! The anxiety and self-doubt is real, the long hours are a must, the learning curve can be long, but if you believe in what you’re doing always put your heart in to it. Goals change and need to be re-evaluated constantly. Failure at some point is inevitable but the bumps in the road are there for a reason, learn from them and forge ahead. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but if you’re being called, roll up your sleeves and get at it.

Dani is offering a coupon code exclusively for Social Sunday Club readers! Use SOCIALSUNDAY for 15% off site wide. Follow Agapantha on Instagram @agapanthajewelry

Do you dream of starting your own company? Let us know in the comments!

2 comments

  • Bryan Felsher: August 24, 2019

    Great article and I learned a lot and gained inspiration for my own business. I also am a musician turned business owner. I have purchased several custom pieces (Dani helped me with ideas) from Agapantha for my wife and friends and they came out fantastic, but best of all is seeing their happiness at owning something unique which they can wear every day. Thanks Dani!

  • Dani Paquin: August 24, 2019

    Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of this! ❤️

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