We had the good fortune of connecting with Veronica Freire and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Veronica, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance has been an evolving experience for me. I started making jewelry again during the COVID lockdown of 2020. I had all my boys home, doing virtual learning. I have a 9, 7, and 5 year old. My youngest wasn’t in school yet. So I used those early learning workbooks for him, get him started on those activities then bounce from the 9 year old to the 7 year old during virtual school hours. Once the day was over and the boys were settled in bed I would head to my home-based studio and get busy. I would stay up late creating, then wake early to photograph and post on instagram. To get any traction on instagram you must engage throughout the day everyday even weekends. I would take my boys to the pool to swim and use that time to make new engagements, photograph, and update my Etsy shop.
2021 Has been a much easier year on all fronts. All my boys are in school face to face. Now I use school hours as my working hours. It has made my work balance easier and more structured. I am also more efficient being a social media user now. I also take advantage of extracurricular hours my boys have to catch up on posts, engagements, and esty updates. I am happy with my work life balance now. Its getting better as I get more efficient. Which means when my boys are home from school I can focus on them and let social media do the work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I make one of a kind jewelry using natural stones, African metals and other unique findings. I scour bead shows, estate sales, thrift stores and the internet to source out my materials. I use African metals and beads in my work. I believe that sets me apart. I also incorporate natural stones and woods to create eclectic pieces that are truly one of a kind. I am most proud of my budget. It has forced me to get creative and look at my work table full of stones and materials in a different light. I take bracelets and necklaces that haven’t sold on etsy after months and I break them down and recreate. This allows me to keep creating new and exciting pieces daily. I’ve plugged in hundreds of hours on social media. Took all my jewelry and stones on vacations with me. Social media is a great tool and is my main outlet for advertising and selling. I have also done several open markets for face to face exposure too. All of these outlets are time consuming and require dedication. It wasn’t easy especially with small kids, but it gets easier with time.
My lesson is this, Boys before Beads!
I am Veronica maker behind Sweet and Stone Jewelry. I truly enjoy what I do. This outlet allows me to play with my creative side, and work with earths natural elements from all over the world. I have also made connections with people all over the world thanks to instagram. I am honored that people love what I create, support me and wear my pieces. As I always say Happy Stacking!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to downtown Mckinney. It has such a dynamic shop local vibe, and plenty of farm to table dining experiences. The area is so beautiful with its mature trees, old houses full of character, its the perfect place to grab a coffee and set out on a walk. I would hit up Trade Days too. There is something for everyone there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband Rui has been extremely important to the budgeting side of my business. He runs the numbers, targets and projections based on analytics. This provides me with a clear spending budget. Following a strict budget has allowed me to hit my goals of paying off the initial startup investment and finally making a profit this year.
Other: Etsy www.sweetandstonejewelry.etsy.com