With the Coronavirus going on, there is a lot of uncertainty. We have seen the worst and best of people. Stores are clear of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, hoarding is common and we don't know how long this pandemic will last. Instead of focusing on the negative, I wanted to focus on the good I have been seeing.
I recently met up with a woman(before the social distancing was a thing), who I find absolutely inspiring. She is the epitome of the saying "community over competition" and when she sets her mind on something, you can be assured she will follow through.
This woman is Alyssa Jones. She is the owner of Alyssa & Anna Fine Jewelry in Oshkosh (with a second location coming soon to Appleton) and co-owner of Fika Tea, located in Appleton. Throughout the pandemic, I have watched her come up with creative solutions to help the Fox Valley community and I wanted to share in hopes she can inspire you as well.
Alyssa is from Appleton, but her parents came from Vietnam to the United States at an early age. Her father is the reason she became passionate about jewelry making. He initially started at an engineering school and took an elective metalworking course. This turned out to be a jewelry making course and he fell in love with it. He switched to a college called the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has been a goldsmith ever since. After watching him create and spending a lot of time in his studio, Alyssa knew that's what she wanted to do.
My favorite part about when Alyssa decided to start her own jewelry business is the fact she had no business background. She turned to Google and built her business from that. Her father was supportive of her entrepreneurial spirit by working for free the first year of A&A's opening.
As I mentioned before, when it comes to Alyssa's "community over competition" mentality, she lives it. When social distancing became a necessity, Alyssa used her platform to share local businesses for customers to order online from and support during this quarantine. When I asked her why she doesn't get competitive about other jewelers she said this:
"I don’t view other stores as competition because I feel like we are all in it together. You want other small businesses to do well. Studies have shown with more jewelry stores in the same area, they all do better. I am the only store that does everything in-house. If the other stores are in a bind and the company they outsource is behind, I help them out and create for them. I can’t imagine getting mad about another jewelry store opening because we all cater to different markets. Not everyone is going to love what I do and I would rather they shop at another local, independent store. "
Lastly, I asked if she had any advice for other females wanting to open their own business and her answer was simple, "Do it. A lot of us can be scared and there is a lot of risk. I didn't know anything about business when I started and if I can do it, literally anyone can.