I’ve always loved Wednesdays. One of the last jobs I had working for someone else, we worked 4 day weeks and got to pick which day we had off during the week. I chose Wednesday. It felt luxurious to have a day in the middle of everything to not go to the office. It also gave such a nice rhythm to my week - work 2 days, off 1 day, work 2 days, off 2 days. When I helped my sister launch The Perpetual You, we instituted #CocktailWednesday so that we would always stop mid-week and celebrate what we were doing. I even got married on a Wednesday once!
You can only imagine, then, when I came across Champagne on a Wednesday how excited I was. Reading on their site about how they came up with this name because they want to remind us all to celebrate our lives (even on a Wednesday!) was like drinking my favorite kind of prosecco on a porch in a spring breeze. And finding out they made beautiful jewelry was like adding raspberries to a glass of bubbly and watching them dance.
It seemed only perfect that I would feature them during my birthday week! I hope that you enjoy learning about these two wonderful ladies and what they are doing with their business.
I’ve also just ordered my first piece from their collection and am excited to share it with you in a product review next month!
My takeaway: When you are clear about why you are doing what you are doing, every day is worth celebrating!
Tell us about your business. What do you do? Who do you serve? How long have you been at it? Why do you do it?
Hi! We are Jen and Alexis, the hands, heads, and hearts behind the inspirational jewelry brand Champagne on a Wednesday. We have been dreaming about and working towards this business since 2015, but 2018 was our first full year in business. We are a two woman show, working out of a home office and making each and every piece of jewelry by hand from materials that we have sourced from all over the world.
Why did you start your business?
We have been friends for almost 9 years, starting back when our kids were in preschool together. We have moved through the trenches of motherhood together, watching our kids grow from toddlers to (now) almost teenagers! When our youngest two went off to 1st grade, we were very much at a crossroads of our lives, wondering what the next chapter would look like for both of us.
Jen had always dreamed of someday starting a jewelry company, and Alexis had spent the last few years dipping her toes into the world of online business, selling some of her art on Etsy. The concept of Champagne on a Wednesday came from the desire to merge the idea of a jewelry company with something “more.”
We wanted to build something that really spoke to someone who might also be at crossroads in her life, feeling lost in some way, or just needing something to make her feel special and remind her just how strong and capable she is every single day.
For us it has never been about just making jewelry, it’s been about making jewelry that makes people feel good, and creating items that serve as tokens to remind each woman of her strength, uniqueness, inner beauty, and amazing inherent worth every day.
We operate on the concept that everything that you bring into your life has a story, so you might as well seek out things that tell good ones.
What does "social good business" or "values-based earning" mean to you in general? *
There is lots of talk these days about “finding your why,” when you start a business, and letting that be the centerpiece of your brand. But “finding your why” doesn't just have to be a trendy catch phrase, it can really be the foundation for this type of work.
When we think about having a business that promotes value based earning, it is truly about making sure you start with that big “why.” When your “why” is at the center, it helps to inform every decision about the way that you need to run the company in order to stay in line with those values that are most important to you.
What is your favorite part about running a social good business or your favorite experience since you started?
One of the things that we committed to very early in the business was that we wanted to find a way to give back, even just a little, from the very beginning. (We started writing checks to our charity partner before we started writing checks to pay ourselves).
One of our bracelets is specifically designed with a message about promoting change within your own community- and a portion of our sales from each and every one of those bracelets goes directly to our charity partner. We were lucky enough to find a great local organization in Philadelphia that provides educational grants and scholarships to women who are looking to re-write their own story.
As regular donors to the organization, we were recently able to help review and score the applications for one of their scholarship programs. It was so cool to not only see our dollars directly at work, but also to get to be a part of the decision making process for who specifically will receive that help.
What is your biggest struggle in running a social good business?
To be honest, day to day, it’s really not that difficult. Our brand mission is so in line with who we are, and we are so passionate about the messages behind the pieces that we create, it’s pretty easy to stay on track and keep our values front and center. If anything, the only struggle is probably just wanting to give more. As a super small business, we give what we can, but we always wish that we could do more.
What would you like most to accomplish in the next year? 5 years?
Moving forward, we are just hoping to continue to reach more and more people. Our current customers are our biggest raving fans, and they have given us more success than we ever imagined during our first year in business.
Hearing about the way that people are connecting with the messages behind each piece, and seeing the smiles on our customer’s faces as they wear their jewelry, just lights us up inside every time. Our goal is just to keep creating meaningful jewelry and finding more ways to put it out in front of larger audiences.
Who are your business icons, heroines or mentors?
We don’t really have any business mentors per se, but Elizabeth Gilbert and Brené Brown have inspired us both in ways that we can hardly even put into words. The countless lessons that we have learned from them have helped us both to find the strength and courage to put our creativity out into the world.
What's your #1 tip for someone just getting started running a values-based business?
The biggest tip would be just to find what really matters to you, and what comes naturally to you, and put those things front and center in your business.
It’s hard to fake enthusiasm about something, but your values are the things that really matter to you at a level that you can’t ignore.
When you put that part of yourself into your business, everyone can see that your spark is real and genuine, and that passion will become contagious.
What are your favorite conferences or retreats to attend?
Last year we went to The Imperfect Boss Camp, which was an amazing retreat in the woods of Ottawa, Canada. It was part business strategy, mixed with a huge dose of personal development and heartfelt community connection.
What is the last book you read?
We both recently read Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl for a book club that we are in, and we are looking forward to getting a chance to talk about it with a great group of women later this month.