We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Anna Zepplin a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Anna thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Coming up with the idea is so exciting, but then comes the hard part – executing. Too often the media ignores the execution part and goes from idea to success, skipping over the nitty, gritty details of executing in the early days. We think that’s a disservice both to the entrepreneurs who built something amazing as well as the public who isn’t getting a realistic picture of what it takes to succeed. So, we’d really appreciate if you could open up about your execution story – how did you go from idea to execution?
I have always loved working with my hands and creating beautiful things, jewelry, collages, embroidery, up-cycled vintage clothes. You name a craft, and I’ve probably bought all the materials and attempted to make that craft at least couple times, including some horrendous Pinterest fails. While I love creating and designing, jewelry has been the one avenue that I kept coming back to. I got my start in high school when my mom introduced me to a woman that made beaded jewelry. She taught me all the basics. From there, I just ran with my imagination. I began with beading, then learned to silversmith. I put down the torch when I became pregnant with my first child and began sourcing components, pearls, and chains and began designing gold-filled jewelry. I launched Zepplin the Label in late 2018 when I was six months pregnant with my daughter. I got my friends to model and I bought myself the nicest camera I could afford to. I really fell in love with all the creative components of running my small business from designing, to creating, to photoshoots, and styling. I unfortunately had to press pause on my small business when I went back to work as an environmental consultant. I kept it up, but didn’t give my business the love and attention it deserved. Fast forward to 2020, I was pregnant with my second child, living in isolation during the peak of the pandemic and I re-committed myself to Zepplin the Label. I was committed to making this creative pursuit a priority in my life. As I continue to evolve and learn as a creative entrepreneur, so does my connection to art and beauty. The brand is growing, slow and steady. And I truly can’t wait to see where this glorious journey will take me.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I love the ancient ritual of adornment and the thoughtful process of selecting jewelry to finish your look. The addition of jewelry can completely transform a look. I love how a sleek pair of hoops can take a casual outfit up a notch, or how a thick chain necklace can instantly elevate a crew neck tee. I also love how jewelry can tell a story, and remind us of people, places, and memories. Many of my pieces hold a deep meaning. I create them with thoughtfulness and attention, imbuing each piece with love and gratitude. I select meaningful totems of protections, like the evil eye; there to ward off the negative energy that does not serve your highest and greatest good. Or the totems to remember the divine feminine, the yin and yang, the duality of light and shadow. My hope is that when you buy a piece of jewelry from Zepplin the Label, you are reminded of your inner strength and feel empowered every time you put it on.
Can you talk to us about how your funded your business?
I am self funded and growing slowly and steadily. I think it’s important to remember that as a small business owner the first couple of years of business you may be making some money but most of it is going back into your business. It can be daunting when looking over the books and see sales vs. operating costs as your start up costs in the beginning can be steep. We can find yourself asking, is this going to work? Will I be able to grow this business into something sucessful? We’re so often fooled by the smoke and mirrors of social media that portray overnight success stories and makes everyone seem like they have so much (money, followers, success). But ask those that are really at the top, and they will tell you it’s a slow grind. A slow and steady forward march over many years. I’m 1.5 years into this and I still have a day job to pay the bills. But I have faith in my abilities and I KNOW I’m on the right path. Keep going, have faith, and chase your joy. We can do it.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
I don’t feel like I have a huge audience but the people that do support my business and journey are real people who care about me and the brand. I’ve learned that leading with authenticity and creating fun thoughtful content has allowed space for real creative magic. Leaving room for playfulness to try new things and not forcing myself into one look, or content style has allowed an organic evolution of my style and talents as a creative. I have been using Tik-Tok to sample new ideas and content. Although I feel like a dinosaur using that platform, I find there is less pressure than Instagram which really allows me to experiment.
- Website: www.zepplinthelabel.com
- Instagram: zepplinthelabel
- Facebook: Zepplin the Label
Nel Meerman Guzel Khos