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Talitha Cummins, Founder The Cut Jewellery

Founder Friday: What Talitha Cummins learnt after launching her first biz at 43

I feel like being older and starting a business is hugely beneficial!  You step into your role with a level of wisdom and resilience – I’m sure things that go wrong would have bothered me a lot more even just a few years ago.

Talitha Cummins

Talitha, her Uncle Craig and cousin Kara have recently founded The Cut Jewellery, a new Australian jewellery brand that offers a taste of ethical luxury with their bespoke range of lab-grown diamonds. 

Cummins’ foray into the jewellery industry draws inspiration from both family and a desire for ethical practices. Her son,Oliver, sparked the initial interest with his own venture creating and selling custom beaded bracelets in 2022. Further fueling the fire was Cummins’ uncle, Craig Blizzard, a veteran jeweller with 50 years of experience in the trade.

“After enjoying a successful TV career for the past 20 years, I decided that it was time for me to try something new and go back to my roots. Before I became a TV journalist, I worked for a jewellery company in Queensland. My uncle, Craig Blizzard, has also been in the industry for more than 50 years. You could say that diamonds are in my blood, so I decided that if I were to take the leap and open my own business, I wanted to do it in the world of diamonds.

“I set out on a year of research, and I was blown away by how far lab-grown diamonds have come. Under a microscope, they are identical. They are even graded, just as mined diamonds are. Personally, I love the idea of the modern alchemy of technology blended with old-world craftsmanship, so I decided that lab-grown diamonds were where my interests lie. 

“My first year of business has been a lot of fun and full of learnings, however in addition to growing the perfect diamonds, crafting incredible and modern styles and setting the jewellery nicely, it has been a big job in terms of educating the public through media and social media. While the space is growing immensely, there is still a lot of education to be done. Aside from that, here are my top learnings a year into my business.

Building Your Brand Identity

“Surrounding myself with people who are experts in their fields has been crucial. At the very beginning of our new business, I sought out Designer Simon Portbury who created our branding initially and then stayed on to do every brand touchpoint, including website, photography and campaign direction. He’s a deep thinker, very intelligent and taught me to really take the time to make sure everything we do moving forward is ‘considered.’ Starting your business with the brand in mind is key, as you want the look, feel and message to be consistent. The goal is that eventually people can look at any touchpoint and instantly be reminded of your business.”

Learning from Retail Experts

“I have a beautiful showroom is inside Libertine Parfumerie in Paddington. It is the most beautiful store and its owner Nick Smart has really taught me the tenacity and persistence required in business. I first came across Nick 15 years ago when he first launched his perfume business in a little store at the back of Brisbane.  It’s now a multinational business that has landed retail outlets within David Jones, Myer and many other smaller stores in most capital cities. Nick has impressed on me the importance of ‘enjoying the process and journey’ and not getting too ahead of myself while also thinking big.” 

Mentorship Matters

“Another great person who I have had the pleasure of connecting with is Andrea Horwood, a female entrepreneur who has always inspired me and has recently become a mentor. Andrea said to me, “if you don’t have your loyalty and ethics, it’s a hollow victory at the end of the day – to survive in business you have to grow, but not at any cost.”  I have this written on my wall to remind myself. It’s a very solid reminder to keep your integrity intact.” 

The Importance of Behind-the-Scenes Work

“Self-control and delayed gratification are highly important! When you start a business, you spend a lot of time doing a lot of things that may never see the light of day, but are necessary to get it started. They are also necessary to help you learn along the way and discover better ways to do things.” 

Fresh Perspectives

“Working with younger and older people. Nothing beats the wisdom of someone who has been in an industry for decades. When I’m in a flap, I call uncle Craig and with just a few words, he’ll calm me instantly. He’s seen everything, experienced the good and bad and NOTHING beats that.  Equally, I love the new thinking of the younger generations. They’re so resourceful and great with tech and confident and self-assured. Plus, they are the future, so getting their input on what attracts them is invaluable.”

Benefits of Starting a Business

“I feel like being older and starting a business is hugely beneficial!  You step into your role with a level of wisdom and resilience – I’m sure things that go wrong would have bothered me a lot more even just a few years ago. You tend to gather a tool kit of coping skills throughout your life and these have been super handy in the early days of business!!!

“So there you have it, my top learnings so far. Having said that, I am someone who is open to adapting and changing, and as the world and technology change so fast, I am sure that every year my learnings will adapt accordingly.  Being open to learning and paying attention to what is happening in the world was key for my past career as a Journalist, and it is just as important now.”

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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