We adore our series on Inspiring Moms and today we’re profiling a particularly talented lady here on Cakelet. Do you know Zoë Chicco? Her jewelry line is AMAZING and certainly one of our favorites here at the 100LC headquarters. Turns out she’s also a new mama to a sweet little boy named Truman and we’ve got her story (and his beautiful nursery!) to share with you this morning.
A little background on Zoë’s business before we start. Her line is one of the only of it’s quality to both design and produce all pieces in house at her Downtown LA studio and showroom. She’s personally trained her three full-time jewelers (she’s a trained goldsmith herself), and pours all of her love and creativity into her meticulously crafted line of modern, fine jewelry. Which is exactly why we love it so much!
Business name: Zoë Chicco
Date/year started: 2000
Where do you work? Our showroom, office and studio are located in downtown Los Angeles, but I also work from home and as a designer, wherever inspiration strikes.
What was the inspiration or impetus to start your business?
My real “aha” moment came in high school when an amazing art teacher took me under her wing and taught me metal-smithing basics. I loved it! I really enjoyed working with my hands and seemed to be able to express my artistic side much better three dimensionally rather than on paper. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create my own line. I continued my studies in college as an art major with a concentration in metal-smithing, with the intention of eventually starting my own business. After working for several years with well-established jewelers, I went out on my own in 2000.
How does your business inspire your family, or your family inspire your business?
My husband and I work together on the business, so we inspire and bounce ideas off each other pretty much on a daily basis. Since having Truman, I am inspired to expand our popular personalized collection because I want to wear special pieces that express my love for my little guy and our family. That is something fun I am focusing on for Fall 2015.
Do you find it challenging or refreshing to work for yourself, as a mom? And/or are there particular places or people that you rely on for support as a creative business owner and a mom?
It’s a little bit of both. It is incredibly rewarding and refreshing to work for myself. And there is no doubt that in some ways it is much easier as a mom because I am able to set my own hours. While Truman is so young I want to spend as much time with him as I can. So I have set up my life and schedule in such a way that I am able to do that. I want to be here for the special moments as they only come once, and it all goes so fast. While it can be difficult to turn work off in my head, I do my best to really be present with Truman when we are together. It can be challenging because for so long the business was my baby. It took a ton of work, and I am so proud of what I have built.
I started out 15 years ago doing everything myself in the closet of my apartment (seriously – my studio was in a closet). Even as our team grew, I was incredibly involved in every single step that was made along the way. I lived and breathed it. In order to grow our family, I have had to learn to let go, which was not easy for me at first. When we found out I was pregnant we went into “staff up” mode and hired some additional people to make sure that our office could pretty much run without me for the day to day operations. So now, yes, I rely on so many people. The phrase “it takes a village” is no joke – and we only have one little baby! There is no way I could do it without my team. They are all amazing, hard-working dedicated women and I am so grateful to have them.
On a personal level we have a wonderful nanny with us 2 days a week, which is a life saver. And I have a great network of moms that a friend of mine has put together. As a new mother, you have so many questions and it is really nice to have other women to ask questions, and share stories and discoveries with. That support has been immensely helpful.
How do you figure out the balance of time with your child and time to work?
I am extremely lucky in that my husband Tim and I currently work together for the business and are true partners in every sense of the word. We have it figured out somewhat…at least for now. We are both very hands on with our son and take turns so the other can get things done. Currently, we have a nanny who takes care of Truman and helps with the house work two days a week, and the rest of the days it’s just the three of us. We prioritize our tasks and whoever has more pressing responsibilities that day comes first. We can either work from home or bring Tru to the office depending on what our day is like. Of course we also bite off bits and pieces of time whenever we can during naps and after he goes to bed.
This is in stark contrast to what we did before he was born, where we pretty much worked every day of the week. But it is really important to us to spend this special time with him, and our family comes first. We waited a long time to have a child and I’m lucky that I had the opportunity to build my business to a point where I was able to take a step back from the day to day operations and rely on my team more while Truman is so young. I have no intentions of slowing down, but I want to spend as much time as I can with him during his early years. Luckily I can design just about anywhere. Once he is a bit older we plan to get some extra help and have some more regular days in the office. In the meantime, I prioritize, make lots of lists, and do my best to spend my work time as efficiently as possible. Some days are great, and some days I feel like a mess. It’s not perfect, but nothing ever is. Above all else I am so happy that we decided to take this journey.
Thank you so much for sharing just a teeny peek into your family life and business with us, Zoë!
*All photos by Annie McElwain
Crib: Babyletto Hudson crib / Mobile: Etsy / Baby animal prints: The Animal Print Shop / Tepee: House Inhabit / Rug: Rugsusa.com / 1-2-3 bins: Land of Nod / Stay True banner: Secret Holiday & Co. / Air plant hanger: Fig Curated Living / Rocker: Monte Design Luca Glider / Family banner/garland: One Kings Lane. Zoë added the fringe in between the letters.