MEET AMANDA, THE PEARL GURL
"Hii!! My name is Amanda and I am the owner of The Pearl Gurl :) I am 25 years old and live in New Jersey! When I am not “pearling” shoes, I am a licensed mental health counselor. I work at 2 agencies (working on a 3rd lol) and I work with mental health and substance abuse clients. My dream job is to work in a correctional facility in the mental health department :) (I feel I should throw in a fun fact lol sooo) Fun fact; I was an All star cheerleader in NJ for 13 years and I do an excellent impersonation of a dolphin ! LOL:)"
Connect with her here:
Facebook: The Pearl Gurl
Tell us about the Pearl Gurl, and how you got into your craft! What is your favorite thing about what you do?
I am a bride myself, I am marrying my high school sweetheart 10/14/2022 in Montclair, NJ. During quarantine I took the time to get lots and lots of wedding planning completed. I was searching for shoes to wear to my bachelorette party (which will be in Vegas). I stumbled upon converse with gems and pearls and I fell in love!! I then hit “add to cart” and saw the shoes were insanely expensive!! I decided to give it a try and make a pair for myself. NOTE lol: I have never been crafty, my hand writing is really bad lol, I can’t draw or paint, so I was really taking a wild try.
I started making the shoes and posting my progress on my personal social media accounts and the feedback from family and friends was AMAZING! Everyone was so impressed and shocked I did them (I was too lol).
After I finished my pair of shoes and the pandemic was at its peak, I decided to do a giveaway on my private Instagram to give back to the people risking their lives during this pandemic. The giveaway was for all frontline workers (nurses, counselors, grocery store workers, bankers, etc). The giveaway on my private Instagram BLEW up!!
I picked a giveaway winner, her name was Lisa and we chat occasionally which is awesome! She is a RN and has been working on the COVID unit and had to reschedule her wedding multiple times. :(
After the giveaway ended I had about 6 people reach out to me to place an order. I was shocked and had to politely tell them “Uh, sorry I don’t have a business, I was doing this to give back to the community :)”.
I told my mom about the feedback I was receiving and she suggested “Hey, why not start a small business, couldn’t hurt!” At the time I was finishing up my masters degree and just took on my second job but I said “Uh, okay why not? I’ll try.”
We sat there joking about my business and names that I would call it and how strange it was that I was actually about to start a business.
How did the name The Pearl Gurl happen? I jokingly said to my mom “Wow, I need to order more pearls, the delivery driver is going to say ‘wow this girl must shower in pearls’.“ My mom and I paused and then I said “Uhh mom…? What about The Pearl Gurl?” My mom: "YAAASSSS!"
Why don’t I spell "gurl" as girl? I have two old sisters who are twins and I always used to called them “guurls” when we were growing up. To this day I call them the “guuurls” , it was very fitting incorporate that into the name. :)
My absolute favorite thing about what I do is seeing people happy! Seeing them in my shoes, using my water bottles, or wearing a jacket, or using any of my products makes me so happy. I put lots and lots of time (and stress lol) into each and every product, seeing them enjoy it gets me soooo excited.
How do you generate new ideas, and stay on top of the trends in the industry?
I honestly don’t know how I generate new ideas lol! It comes to me at the most random times, driving, as I have conversations with people (not discussing my business lol), in the shower, or before I (attempt) sleep at night. It is usually a word or something I observe that sends off an idea in my head. It’s like “OOH GOOD IDEA WRITE IT DOWN” .
I have soooo many ideas made and ready to release but releasing it all at once won’t help me stay on top of trends. So I tell myself everyday, “Breathe, calm down lol, when the time is right release the item.”
Tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur so far. Are you a full time entrepreneur? If so, tell us what that's like in terms of achieving balance to avoid burn-out. If not, tell us how you balance work life and entrepreneur life.
My journey has been very exciting, scary, anxiety provoking, overwhelming , and fantastic lol. Never in my life did I think I was going to be owning a business and running it the same time as entering into my dream career. This was a huuugee change for me and something I am still getting into the flow. It was also not expected or planned, which is amazing but scary af!!
In my counseling career I stress the importance of self-care, self-love, and self-compassion to my clients. Practice what you preach. I found that no matter how many orders are backed up or emails that need to be answered, if I feel burnt-out or extremely overwhelmed, I need to take care of myself first. If I don’t take care of myself now, my body will decide (probably at a bad time) when to take it and do more harm. Self-care is not limited to massages or pedicures, I sometimes listen to music and dance around the house, go for a walk, eat my favorite food, go out with friends, my fiancé, and family, and so many more things.
Another thing I highly recommend to entrepreneurs is building a team and support system. If there are people who are not supporting your dream and business, cut them out. Lean on your support system and team, they are there for you and want to help you! For MONTHS I declined help with small projects and finally I opened my eyes and let my support system help me and, WOW, what a change! Build a team of like-minded people and people who are going through similar journeys. I am BEYOND thankful for the girls I have met in Small business. Although it may be weird, but send that DM asking to collaborate! I have meet one of my good friends, Shop Sammy, through this journey! We meet every week on zoom with other small businesses and we chat about our struggles, accomplishments, confusions, questions, and so much more. All women in business are some badass chicks and it is nice to have them to lean on.
People who aren’t in a similar journey as us won’t really understand what it is like to be in our shoes. Trust me, there is plenty of room at the top, we all need to help build each other up and encourage each other!! Its a cruel world out there, love each other and support each other, there is plenty of room for all of us to succeed!!
What are your biggest inspirations? When you're in a rut, where do you turn?
My biggest inspirations are my customers!! They are so creative and clever and really help me bring put my creative side! When I am in a rut I turn to my mother! We talk more then 10 times a day lol and she is always approving or disapproving of some of the things I do, she really is my rock and helps me navigate my business and my ideas. :)
Being an entrepreneur definitely has its ups and downs. How do you stay motivated in the tougher times, and how do you keep momentum in the better times?
I stay motivated because I have lots of orders to do LOL!! But I also stay motivated by seeing all the brides interested and intrigued in my products. I also stay motivated when I finish talking with other small businesses or after I attend events related to empowering women and discussing small businesses. All these women are so inspiring and make me feel sooo hyped and excited for my business and their businesses!!
Who are your biggest role models? Why?
My dad is my biggest role model! At the young age of 63 :) he continues to work every day like he is 21 years old! He is the true definition of a hard worker and showed me how to run a business, be a good business owner, be a hard worker, and be humble! He will do anything for myself and my family and I have always admired his drive and ambition.
What would you say are the top 3 skills anyone needs to be a successful entrepreneur?
PERSONALITY!! Having an outgoing personality and people skills makes it so much easier to reach your customers. It makes it fun and exciting to be able to share your personality and passion for your business to the customers.
The ability to take criticism!! This is hard, you want your business to be perfect and wonderful but in reality that's never going to happen. There will be happy customers and there will be upset customers. Mistakes happen and we are only human, so being able to grow and learn is what will help one succeed. Committing to your business and product and customers will take you good places!!
Genuineness !!! Start your business or company or whatever you want in life with good intentions. Good things happen to good people. Don’t start a business with bad intentions.
What has been your most satisfying moment with your business?
Putting the last pearl or gem onto a product!! It fits in so perfectly and smooth, it is soooo satisfying! The other part that is satisfying is taking pictures and videos after I finish the product. I get soooo excited and hyped because each product is so gorgeous! No matter what time of the night it is, I have to wake up someone to show them the product because I get so excited !! lol
What are your fears with your business, and how do you manage or overcome them?
My biggest fear in my business is a customer not being happy with my product. I put sooooo much time, energy, and love into each product! I manage this by understanding my products are not for everyone and I know that no matter how much hard work I put into my products, I am not a wizard lol. Each gem and pearl is put on one by one, shoes, water bottles, bags, jackets are being completely transformed with pearls and gems, accidents happen. I am understanding that as I continue on with my business. I bought a pair of pants from a very large department store and several rhinestones on the pants fell off. I realized, if it can happen from a huge department store, I am not accident proof, it is going to happen. Confidence, self-worth, and humility are ways I learned to manage all of the business fears! Lastly, as mentioned before, talking to my support system, you are not alone!!