Your Friday Entrepreneur Fix this week features Pascale Helyar-Moray, the founder of revolutionary website StyleRocks, which allows jewellery-lovers to create customised pieces to match their tastes.
When Pascale Helyar-Moray heard about custom online shoe design business Shoes of Prey, she was inspired to create a similar business in the jewellery space.
Keen to set her own work hours after having twins, she left her job in financial services to pursue greater flexibility and a love of jewellery design – and StyleRocks was born.
Although running her own business afforded her greater control over her hours, Helyar-Moray quickly learnt she couldn’t do it all and needed to focus on what she was good at and outsource the rest, so the website and its design capabilities were built by Australian venture technology business Blue Chilli.
Consumers across the world are now visiting Helyar-Moray’s revolutionary site to customise their own rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and cufflinks, and have them delivered to their doors at affordable prices.
As her business continues to enjoy solid growth, Helyar-Moray tells Dynamic Business how today’s technology makes being an entrepreneur easier and reveals StyleRocks’ immediate plans for growth.
Q. Was it a difficult choice to leave your job in financial services to start an online business?
I really enjoyed my financial services career, so in many ways it was difficult. I enjoyed the industry and the employers I worked for were real blue-chip companies, with some highly intelligent and interesting people. But circumstances forced the decision for me in some respects. I wanted to work part-time so I could have time with the twins, but the number of senior, well-paid part-time financial services marketing roles – particularly when you have no recent local work experience – were practically non existent.
So, I started thinking about how I could use my experience of bringing new products to market in some other way. I combined this with something I’m truly passionate about, and came up with StyleRocks.
Q. Are there any fellow entrepreneurs you look up to for inspiration?
I admire Naomi Simson from Red Balloon as well as Carla Zampatti for innovating and showing the rest of us how it’s done, particularly with a young family in tow.
Ita Buttrose, while not an entrepreneur, blazed the trail for Australian women in general, creating an environment of equal opportunities. Internationally, I admire Oprah Winfrey, a totally self-made woman who has overcome a huge number of obstacles in her path and built an empire based on incredible loyalty from her fans.
Q. Do you think being an entrepreneur in this age of advanced technology is easier than it was 10 years ago? Why?
Definitely. Just think about what we can do with our phones these days – like access emails, post updates on social media, track order progression – you’re no longer tied to the desk as you were 10 years ago.
Additionally, with the increased use of the cloud, more and more start-ups are no longer locked in to particular software or databases, which means businesses are more nimble and cheaper to operate.
Q. What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given, and who did it come from?
I have a few business maxims I live by:
- “Focus on what you’re good at, and the rest of it – outsource.” – This is something I’ve learned over my career.
- “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.” – Ita Buttrose.
- “JFDI – Just Flipping Do It.” – My brother.
- “I believe in pink, I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” – Audrey Hepburn.
Q. What plans do you have in place that will help the business continue to see the growth it’s enjoying now?
We have a number of growth strategies in place, which primarily involve more online marketing, using brand ambassadors and of course, more and more PR.
We’re also in talks with a number of affiliates regarding cross-selling partnerships and opportunities.
Q. Does running an online business allow for better work/life balance?
I think any business, whether online or offline, is like a child. In its infancy, it demands a huge amount of time and attention. Over time hopefully the business becomes more independent, as you put staff and resources in place to achieve a better work/life balance.
Having said this, an online business (regardless of where it is in its lifecycle) does make for lower operating costs and employees who can work on it from wherever they’re located.
Q. I’ve got to ask – are diamonds really a girl’s best friend?
Seeing as StyleRocks offers diamonds, sapphires, tourmalines, citrines and many more, I’m going to say that StyleRocks is a girl’s best friend!