How to Turn your Passion into a Dream Business
Love & Relationships
Freedom and Fulfillment
Passion and Purpose
Victoria grew up in a sleepy coastal village in South Korea, surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty. One of her favorite activities was to watch the stunning sunsets from her home, wondering what lay beyond the horizon. She would ask her mother endless questions about the world outside of her small town. Her mother read her stories and taught her how to read, but her curiosity knew no bounds. In school, she excelled in reading, writing, and art.
In 1972, her father decided to move his family to America, where he felt there would be greater opportunities to follow and live their dreams.
Victoria’s journey started as a penniless immigrant from South Korea to building a multi-million-dollar business. She dealt with major retail stores (Harrods London, to Neiman Marcus, as well as customers in Asia, the Middle East and Latin American. During her travels, she learned a lot about their cultures and their struggles. Victoria landed her own show on HSN in 1998 and performed as their on-air guest for 20 years. She is now on Shop HQ with her own show, and she is the Host of the Million Dollar Hobbies Podcast.
Welcome to the Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast, a journey of self discovery and transformation. Moira Sutton and her amazing guests share real life stories, tools and strategies to inspire and empower you have to create and live your best life. Come along on the journey and finally blast through any fears, obstacles and challenges that have held you back in the past so you can live your life with the joy, passion and happiness that you desire. Now, here's your Host, Create the Life you Love Empowerment Life Coach Moira Sutton
Welcome to season two episode 33. How to Turn your passion into a dream business with international jewelry designer and author Victoria Wieck. Victoria grew up in a sleepy coastal village in South Korea. She was surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty. One of her favorite activities was to watch the stunning sunsets from her home, wondering what lay beyond the horizon. She would ask her mother questions about the world outside of her small town. Her mother read her stories and taught her how to read. And her curiosity really knew no bounds. In school she excelled in reading, writing and art. In 1972, her father decided to move her family to America, where he felt there would be greater opportunities to follow and live their dreams. Victoria's journey started as a penningless immigrant from South Korea to building a multimillion dollar business. She dealt with major retail stores Harrods, London to Neiman Marcus, as well as customers in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. During her travels, she learned a lot about their cultures and their struggles. She landed her own show on HSN in 1998, and performed as their on air guest for 20 years. She is now on shop HQ with her own show. And she's the Host of the Million Dollar Hobbyist Podcast. I'm so excited. So without further adieu it is my pleasure to introduce you to Victoria Wieck. Welcome Victoria.
Hi, it's such a joy to be here. I can't wait.
I can't wait either. And all those things about international travel and that, I know we started talking about that before this, and I want to dive into that during this conversation. So we're going to have a lot of fun. So let's ~ I'd like to start with this journey when your family moved to America from South Korea. You know, your family assets were frozen and you only had $30 like your father thought that you'd have a better life which you did have a great life and have a great life. So please share what that American dream was. And what is it for you now?
Yeah, so my it was actually my father's American dream. You know, I was too young to, you know, as a teenager, you think you have everything, you know, you really, life is simple when you're really you know, young. So it was my father's dream to bring his daughters to America where they would have better opportunities, because at that time in South Korea, culturally, it was completely acceptable to prefer boys over girls and girls or women. You know, my mother's age, at the time we left, they weren't even allowed to call like, if she called my father at work, for example. You know, he'd be like a kept man or something. So culturally, women just stay at home the whole time. And my father who had four girls didn't really want that kind of life for you know, his daughters. Unless his daughter's chose to do that. So we came to America after waiting, I don't know many years. So he dreamt about this American Dream before I think my brother was even born. In fact, before the youngest daughter was born. So we waited all that time. Got to America, and politically in South Korea, you know, it was after the Korean Civil War, or even decades after that, the situation was not much better. So he found out the next day when he went to the bank, there was no money, everything was frozen. So I think it's really a lot worse to have what you think you have and then have nothing then born into being nothing, you know what I mean? So I felt that you know, the America there were many years when we felt that the American dream was just a dream. It was never going to come true for us. But, you know, we never, I never ever gave up. I never give up hoping. I never give up hope, because if you give up your hope, then you start to die slowly. Oh, I still felt that, you know, what can I Is there any glimmer sliver of hope anywhere. And, you know, we couldn't see any. But even then, I was always raised that if you can do one thing, if you if you're alive enough, if you can breathe on Earth, you're doing anything at all, there is a purpose in your life. And that you have to find that purpose. And, you know, so I stopped complaining, when I realized that and I started to speak English, you know, learn to speak English. And I asked my father to kind of help me do that. And he didn't speak English either. So he pretty much got a dictionary, American English English dictionary. And he would just circle random words. And I would stay at home and you know, pretty much study English English dictionary. So every time you look up a word, there'll be like six other words that I didn't understand, obviously. So, you know, from that beginning to in at that time, my American dream was just to assimilate and have some friends, because we had no friends, when you speak no language, you don't have any friends. So, you know, my American dream was pretty simple. And it's kind of evolved over time. But interestingly enough, when you were talking about my dream, I think, my dream life, when I began, my business was just to be able to be be present at home, because my parents went from spending all that time with us back in Korea, to almost completely abandoning their family, because they were working four jobs between the two of them. So when I became an adult, that was the one thing I wasn't going to do for them, because it just hurt, it really hurt as an as an older child to watch them suffer. And I knew that they really loved us, but they couldn't be with us. So it must have hurt them even more than it hurt me. So I started my business with just just a desire to put food on the table and be able to, you know, be present for my children. All the money, all of the international travel, all of that just was completely a byproduct.
Well, you have some a lot of great words in there with hope, and also being present and desire. So there are a lot of really powerful words. And when you talk about purpose, what a great message from your parents that, you know, if you're alive, and all the rest, that you have a purpose, and how would you help somebody else? I asked this to many of my guests, I know I do that kind of work, of how people can discover their purpose. I know a lot of people are lost. I help my clients, but how do you help people really discover that purpose? So they have more fulfillment in life and meaning and contribution?
You know, that's really interesting. I, that's a very interesting question. Because I actually have written a book and in my book, I think it's chapter one, or very close to chapter one, in the very beginning of the book is to find your purpose in life. And sometimes you search for it, and sometimes that purpose finds you. And I think that in my case, a purpose found me. So I didn't have to do a lot of work for it. But you know, when the purpose finds you, it's usually after a catastrophe, or something that you at the time, you know, it's completely undesirable. So, you know, you kind of have to eliminate all your options. And when you are in it, like for me at that time, well, I could constantly complain and whine and cry, or just be completely silent, be angry, these were all my choices. Or the only other choice that wasn't that destructive was to figure out, is there anything I could do to help myself? And that was to learn to speak English. And as you know, now, I've already written two books. So, you know, coming from a place where I spoke no English, that by itself is already an accomplishment. But getting back to your question about finding your purpose. I think if you I would say to everyone listening that you should ask yourself one question, and that question is, if you didn't have to worry about anything in your life, if you didn't have if you knew you never had to worry about about money at all, for the rest of your life. What would you do with your life? Mm hmm. I think that is where you start.
And I always, yes, that's great. I also believe that what we're really being put desires on our heart and they're there for us to follow and like you said, you know, what would you do if it's not about money? Where would you live? You know, what would you be giving back because I frankly, know that I'll never really retire. You know, I might travel more than that. But I always want to give back and in contribution, collaboration is important to me. Now, you experienced a lot of feelings and emotions like you went through depression and bigotry and, you know, this discrimination and hypocrisy and hope, hopelessness. Since a lot of words there, so how did you move through those and heal those emotions?
You know, I actually had this conversation yesterday with my daughter, because my daughter is now pregnant. You know, she's
Thank you. She's expecting, you know, any, like, basically any day now. And we were, she asked me what, you know, you're a parent, you, you know, you, you're my parent, and you've been great. And so if you could give advice to a young mom today, like just one thing, the most significant thing, what would it be to raise great children? And my answer to that, I think it relates to what you just asked me, which is, you know, when you walk through life, you are going to have, you know, you and I, we both live pretty clean lives, like, you know, mind and soul. But even so, you can't avoid society, no, society is full of people that you are going to run into some races, no matter where you go, by the way, all over the world, some races, hypocrisy you got, you're going to run into all of this in varying degrees. And when you, when you are the victim of this, when somebody wants to inflict some sort of negative feelings towards you, or maybe even negative financial results, you know, out of envy, jealousy, or they think they're entitled to, or maybe they think that you're easy picking, and you realize this, again, I come back to the choices you have, in the choices I have had in my business, as you can imagine going from zero to $500 million. Believe me, I've had everything happen to me. What I mean betrayals galore, when those things happen to you, you can be better, you could just take the you know, normal course of action, which is Oh, I'm going to get them back good this time, you know, or, you know, any of those things, those things are not positive to you, you know, at that time, I think to myself, okay, these horrible things happened to me. And so these people can't, you know, apparently, they, they're not good for me. So what do I do now, with, with the knowledge that I gained, that these people are not good for me? Do I go back and try to deal with them again? And you make them feel bad? Or do all of that? Or do I, you know, focus on the positivity out of this? You know, where are the lessons I'm learning from? How did I trust these people? Why didn't I vet them in the first place? Am I that vulnerable? You know, why didn't I check, you know, XYZ. So I think about, Okay, number one, I need to, you know, kind of stop the damage, stop the bleeding. So I'm gonna make sure that, you know, the communication between me and these other people are kind of, in I always say to, don't ever burn any bridges, even if you, you know, something unthinkable happened to you, because you just never know why they're there at that place. I mean, you might end up feeling sorry for them or whatever. So what I do is, I just don't let them know, you know, like, I don't like them or anything, I just stopped talking to them, or, you know, try to dial down on my communication. And the next thing I do is I think about what I could do to help myself. And that is to, you know, if I'm, you know, I had a situation, when I tell you, I had a situation where when I first started my business, and I had no money, I'm talking like, no money, I have no money. I finally got some samples. You know, I have beautiful drawings and renderings. And, you know, everybody loves them when they see my drawings. And I went to several manufacturers to see if they can make samples for me. And the first few guys that you know, they're not going to because they know, like, even if the samples came out really great that they I had no way of actually really selling it and making a ton of money off of it. So they didn't want to do it. But the couple of guys that did it. They took it. They said, you know, they asked me, honey, if we make the samples for you, how many can you sell? And of course, my answer was, well, I don't know, you know, I'm new at this business. And I mean, I could pick a number and tell you what I think I can sell but it's just an educated, educated guess I The truth is, nobody knows, okay, until I see you how to samples look like and you know how much it'll be priced that. So I thought I was being honest. And you know, that's basically how I handled all my business matters. Well,
I never got those samples. I go to a trade show, because I've gone to five manufacturers who haven't given me any samples. So I go to a trade show. I spent like another $1,000 to get to the trade show. And no one Behold, I go with it because I went to the trade show to look for new manufacturers when I went over there. And my samples were everywhere. So all those five people that I spoke with, made those samples because they knew it was saleable. So they went and made them and then sold it to all my competitors that are already out there on the market. Now, I was very naive at the time and it really broke my heart because between even communicating back and forth, and going to the new trade show the deposit, I mean, they've taken everything I had pretty much up to that point. And I was like, how can people do that? I mean, is that legal? I mean, it, you know, so, I mean, I've come a long way since then. But when that happens, I mean, you know, there's not much I could do, I could, I could have sued them all this other stuff. But I now have a system in place where something like, that doesn't happen to me, Well, you know, I've now I copyright the stuff ahead of time, and I don't give all my I don't, I don't give all my designs. So I now actually design the pieces so that it can be made in component parts to them. So no one person has like the whole thing until the very last stuff. So the point I'm making is that when you say, you know, how do I how do we deal with that, you always have to look at all your choices. And then I go back to the one that's going to give me the most emotional fulfillment, and also the one that's going to give me most positivity, because negativity doesn't help anybody. You know, so that's, that's my, how would I say? Amateurish advice coming, you know, because I'm not a psychologist or anything. So I say that, you know, based on my own experience, and that philosophy of always choosing positivity has helped me, you know. It's really been that one real critical thing that I was always able to count on. Because I can always choose the best option.
I like that you focus so much on those choices, as I was talking about choice points, and that we do have a choice point in every moment. So if there's something we'd like we can keep it, if it's something we don't like, we can explore it and change it or level up our life, or, you know, just go down another path. And I also love that you talked about not burning bridges, because that takes up, that's a high road, like taking the high road, if you were really hurt or somebody, something happened to us. But I also take this, this viewpoint that, you know, we create everything in our life or co-create our life in that there's a learning, like you said. There's a lesson in it. And if we just take that gem of the lesson out there, we grow.
Yes. And I think that I've always taken the high road and I think I, I tell everyone to take the high road no matter how, you know, truth always has a way of, you know, like coming to the surface now, like, you know, they will always if you're the person who was right, in anything, you will always be found out later. And, you know, just, my dad used to have a saying, by the time he died, he he was a very, really wise person, you know, he'd been through a lot in his life. And he said to me, over and over again, that after he came to America, he thought that out, you know, our amendments like in America, we have your, you know, a freedom of speech, freedom, and all this stuff. Is there all of the immense you know, it's amazing that America has this freedom of choices, and that, you know, we vote our people in and all that, but he said, if you really look at it, all the other rights bill of rights you have, have some some strings attached to it, okay. But he said the one right, that you have that has no strings attached to it, it's completely free, and it will always serve you well, is the right to remain silent. That I would advise you to exercise that right anytime and every time you can. So when you are angry, and you when you know for a fact that you know, you were mistreated, and sometimes purposely, like somebody will frame you or something. And, and usually, you feel horrible, you feel, you know, the devastation is much worse from somebody you've trusted before. So because people that are complete strangers, they don't have the capacity to anger you to that point. So when that happens, it takes a lot, but you still need to just stay silent. Think about things that are gonna make you whole think about all the things that you could do without depending on anyone. And then the truth will surface at some point that that person will remain silent is the one that everyone's gonna look at and go oh my god, like, that was just amazing that she was able to just keep her calm through all of that. And that kind of scenario has happened to me many times. So sometimes when people do things you think to yourself, Well, you know, I could, you know, just be stay angry, do all that. But, you know, the other thing too is because I what I do for a living is creativity. I cannot create anything when I'm angry. I can't create anything. I mean, you can't be you can't have beautiful thoughts about you know, butterflies flying free or you know, beautiful majestic oceans or anything like that, when you're angry as heck, you know? I have, I had to come up with mechanisms to sort of like detox, of detoxify myself from those negative thoughts.
Yes. And also, and also, if you're negative thoughts or thinking patterns like that, it can lead you into a downward spiral versus an upward spiral. And also, you're vibrating that, so you're attracting more of that crop?
Absolutely. You know, what happens is, let's say you, you know, somebody, like in that case, you know, I try to let everybody in the whole industry now just got completely cheated me, he was like a total sleazebag. And you know, he is not a trustworthy person. And I can show them, I can show them when I emailed them, because emails, have, you know, date and timestamp on them. And I can show them, you know, sketches. Like, if you take a picture of like your own sketch, it's really hard for them to say, if I went to court, there was no way they would actually be able to argue with you. But I'm thinking to myself, like, what is the point of doing that? What is it? How is that serving me? You know, what I mean, the thing that could serve me is to cut my ties with those people, and to have mechanisms to identify future people that will do something like that to me, but me talking to 60 other people in the industry isn't going to help me one bit. So, you know, you just have to always think about because that has to fold, you know, so let's say I said, you know, this guy was a total sleaze bag and all that stuff. And then he comes back and says, Well, that's not true. You know, we've been in business for 30 years. And, you know, those, you know, drawings are, you know, that were just okay, but we have to revise all this, I mean, all this stuff goes back and forth. It's just not worth it. It's just not worth it, you know, what you're capable of. And when the other thing I know, for a fact, was that, the other thing I knew, but by just looking at all the designs that they pumped out in their 30 years in business, was that there was no way they were ever going to be able to, like really duplicate what I do. Because in design, you know, you have a hand like, you can tell like a da Vinci painting, which is very different than Monet painting, you have a style, you have a hand, because it's an expression of who you are, you know. So his designers, we're never going to be able to, you know, do that again, to me. So I just think of those designs as a loss, and then everything in the future, I just have to focus on what I do, because there's going to be a huge separation between the quality of the separation between what I do versus what they do. So you know, hopefully, if I can, you know, that motivated me to do better designs, each time that happens. So you have two folds, you know, number one, the negative path would have caught continuously, you know, well by he said this, and she said that, and you know, and then by the time it comes into fourth or fifth iterations, nobody even knows who the mean one was to begin with,
Right. And some people don't really care at that point. It's like, well, get over there, get over it
Exactly. So I think that, you know, going back to finding your purpose in life, I think that when these kinds of things happen. Sometimes, like I said, your purpose will find you like, for example, I have, you should probably interview these people on your show, because they're just amazing, great heart. I have a friend who, husband and wife, amazing couple, I mean, so loving, amazing. They had three kids, and their second child. So they're the oldest one, and then the two younger ones were twins. Well, one of them died. You know, he was like, I think it was like nine or 10 years old, he died. And so, you know, the mother in this whole story, her name is Jane and Jane said, You know, I couldn't function I couldn't. I literally had time. I couldn't had tough time breathing, tough time getting out of bed. I just didn't even know if I was alive. You know, she was so devastated. So she said, but at some point, she had to pull herself together for the other members. You know, she still had two other children plus the husband. So she said basically, it took her months just to get out of bed and function. But what happened through that whole thing was that she realized that she was still lucky, you know. She still had this husband and she's got - they had financial means to take care of the you know, themselves and the kid. So what she does now for a living is that she helps people. She started investing in real estate. You know, she couldn't walk she was she's an immigrant from England and she couldn't work. She didn't have a visa. Her husband had a visa but she didn't. She didn't have a work visa. So she said she started investing in real estate like in the real inner city, you know, where the whole like an apartment was at $2,000 you know $4,000 to buy because, you know, nobody wanted them. So she said that what she does now is that she understood what it feels like to, to lose everything. Because, you know, when she lost a son, she felt like she lost everything. And so she helps people who are facing foreclosures. And oftentimes foreclosures come as a result of illness or you know, things like that. And she helps people, you know, kind of walk away, no matter what happens to their lives walk away with hope and optimism and something. She's a will advocate. So when she, you know, buys a foreclosed property, she makes sure that the owner walks away with something so they could start their lives over. And so in her case, and now, she's flipped over like, hundreds of properties. She has now the means to go buy those multimillion dollar properties, well, she stays, she still stays in inner city, because she, she has found her calling, she has found her purpose. And she owns a bunch of rental rental units as well. And she said, I don't care if they're paying 50 bucks a month, or $500 a month or 5000 bucks a month, all her properties are gonna feel like a home. You know, they're very clean, they're well managed. And sometimes they can't pay rent, by the way, but you know, she really is, this is her purpose. So, you know, in her case, the purpose, her life's purpose actually kind of found her. And I think other people, you, you know, like, in my case, I tried working in corporate America. You know, I went to I was very good at it, supposedly, and I got, you know, kept on getting promoted. But I was emotionally suffering. I saw myself like, change a little bit like, I went from a very vibrant, happy person to more of a thinker, always worried about like different things. And I just felt like I was emotionally suffocating. The higher I got in the company, the worst I got in terms of when I came home, I just wasn't, you know, vibrant, you know, happy self that I that I used to be. So, and then I also worried about, like, not being able to, you know, I constantly worried about, like, I don't understand how this thing, this thing is gonna work where I go to work with all my education. And I'm giving the best part of my day to my company, so that somebody else you can take care of my kids, what's been worked for me, so I had to take a leap of faith. And you know, I said, My life's purpose couldn't be this, where I make money in exchange for you know, whatever it that that just couldn't be it. I have to go find it. So if you're not happy right now, where you are in any part of your life, the chances are that you're missing something. You need to go find it.
Mm hmm. And I think back then, when you were talking about that, like you were literally building the dream business for somebody else, and you realize that you weren't building your own dream business for yourself. And those are two questions, you asked yourself, that, why am I here? And what was my purpose in life? Those are two great questions for our listeners to ask themselves, if they're lost and feeling they don't know their purpose. And, you know, we all have a unique purpose, or we're just ourselves, and we're gifted with our unique life story or experiences, and we bring that forth to the people that we're here to serve. I want to ask you, what do you think then that, you know, there's a lot of people who do have a dream, but they're feeling like they're, it's moving further and further away from them like it's out of their grasp? How do you feel that they can begin to dream again and believe and trust in their dreams? Again, what would you say to those people?
Yeah, I hear that a lot, especially lately. I think I used to hear that when I started my business. And I felt like my dream, the harder I tried, your dreams are walking farther and farther away from you. And in fact, I was at the bank the other day, and this lady, I had to actually sign a piece of paper because you know, now with the banks that have everything, electronic transfer, but the lady who helped me she was a millennial, like, I think she was about 32 years old. And she said to me that she's done everything possible. You know, she saved money. She, she said, when I went to high school, my I already got a used car. And I thought that by the time I went to college, I'd get a new car. But you know, she waited until she graduated from college. She's still driving the same car. And she said, like, I've done everything I can and I look for a property to buy like she thought I should you buy something, anything. And she said, it's now like everything is two to $300,000 out of our range. And I don't want to have my parents go into bankruptcy, like go get a second loan to help me. So she basically was kind of frustrated. And I think I hear some versions of that from many people. And I would say that, you know, you have to the first thing I would tell people is like, think about your American dream. And kind of like Write it down. And I say to everybody write down, it's like, you know, you know how when you go to a corporation, or you go to a bank, or you go to any corporate office, there's usually like a mission statement, you know, our mission is, whatever, and or here is what our company is? I'd like everyone to sit at home and write down their mission for their life, almost like you're making a mission statement. So, you know, often when, when I ask people, what's your American dream, somebody will say, "Oh, you know, I want to make a bunch of money, I want to, you know, do I want to be a content creator, and I want to, you know, take care of my family. I'm going to do all this." But I want to, I want you to kind of simplify that even more, say, human beings, I've read, in some book, I can't think of the name of it right away, but that human beings are capable of imagining themselves as different people, you know, like five or six different people. So you may have a dream of, let's say, you think to yourself, you know, I really want to be a, you know, a coach for you know, you know, mine is Mind Body kind of a coach, you know, how you align your body to your mind, I, that's what I really want to do. But I really can't see how I can be paid for it, I don't see how I can be a millionaire doing that. So I'm just going to invest money in a yoga studio, for example. Well, that's actually not getting you closer to your goal, because, you know, you just have to be a very passionate person about what it is that you do. I think it starts with the passion, it starts with the desire of, you know, whatever it is that you do, you are going to spend somewhere between 10 to 15 hours a day doing that activity. So it better be something you enjoy doing, otherwise have a really long day, right? I would say start with clearly identifying what your American dream is. And so in my case, my American dream was to be able to spend time with my family. So to me at that time, you know, I was the first, I was part of the first generation of American women that went to work in a managerial position. So you know, they were college educated, they, they had titles like, Marketing Director, Vice President of this or that, and that, with that came tons of hours and tons of taking orders from our bosses. And I didn't envy that life for the rest of my life. So my American dream was to be you know, I was, but I was willing to scale down my pay, like scale down my salary, so that I couldn't live the dream life. Hmm. So you have to separate the money from what you do, because like, I saw, I was getting paid really good money. But then I thought, well, I left this company, and I started my own company. And I was able to make like, just $3,000 a month. And I can sustain that. That's enough for me, you know, that was enough for me, too. So I could have a nice little family. They're not gonna live rich, but you know, I can be there for them. So because for me, that beat me going to work at a high paying job, pay the nanny, you know, have two cars do all this stuff. So I could have maybe, I don't know, four grand a month leftover. So I thought, you know, what, if I could find a way to do you know, because money is real. I mean, I can't say that you just completely forget about it. But if I can make three grand a month, I can sustain myself and that would be my dream life. So once I did that, then my business plan about Okay, then how am I going to get that three grand? How am I going to get the three grand? So, you know, I, as long as I'm going to do it, as long as I was willing to take that money, I'm going to do you know what I actually enjoy doing. So I also the other thing I want to say is that with that I also had the maximum number of hours, I was willing to work for my business. So I said to myself, I want to work 20 hours a week, because you know, a lot of small business people, they they start their business for freedom. And then they end up working more hours for less money. So I decided that I'm going to work 20 hours a week, and I want to make three grand a month. And if I can do that I could live my dream life. So my dream life probably if you wrote this mission statement down, it's probably very different than other people's definition of their American dream. So I would say start with that. Right? Because what can you live with? So with the 3000 I said, Okay, if I only have 20 hours a week, and I have I need to make 3000 What's my business plan here? So number one, in business school, you know, I have a MBA, in business school, they teach you how to set your goals and all that and you know, I can go over those goal setting things that I learned and I was a very good student. I I'm not going to do that because they were completely irrelevant when many times of my life because a lot of your MBA schools, if you're sitting at home thinking, well, I don't have an MBA, I don't have a graduate degree and I don't have some super niche, this or that, or, you know, because you're, you're sitting at home thinking to yourself, all the reasons why your American dream is not there, it's not in your reach.
And these are basically excuses. Because in the MBA school way of teaching you how to reach your American dream isn't really, it's actually the opposite. Because MBA schools teach you to get a degree so you can get into a corporate system and plug into their system. It's not to be an entrepreneur for yourself. You know, one thing I can tell you right now is, if you were to, if you were managing a division of Coca Cola, okay. I don't have any associated with that, but I'm just picking a name out of the hat. If you were managing Coca Cola, or let's say, you're managing Hilton Hotels, and you were telling, you know, you were supposed to increase your business by 30%. In 2020, well, 2020, COVID came down and people can't travel. So let's say you missed your goal by 70%. Well, you know, you can go to your boss and say, well, there was COVID, and there was this, and there was that, and, you know, I did the best I could, and you know, the best I could do was instead of, you know, going 70% down, I you know, managed to make it 65% decline. Your chances are you either get promotion, or you get to do the same thing again next year. But if that was your business, and you were running a b&b, and you had mortgages Up, up to your ears, and you were down 70% from the year before, well, guess what, you're probably gonna go bankrupt. So, you know, small business environment, that whole goal setting, you know, stuff that they teach you how to, you know, how to set your team's goal, break it down, you know, they got all the quantitative analysis, it all goes out the window. Because when you're a small business person, you don't have the option of your your goals not working. You really have to make that work. So I think that in my case, I said, Okay, well, because in the days I started my company, I didn't, we didn't have internet, we didn't have digital, we didn't have like a lot of things. So we had direct mail. So what I did was I went out to the travel agency, you know, because I'm selling jewelry. So I basically thought more, who buys jewelry? People who can afford to, you know, travel, probably has a little bit more affluence than people who can't. So I went on to travel agency, you know, I started writing letters to all the little hotel, gift shops and all that and, you know, sit down downstairs, in my building, there was several travel agencies, I did that several days a week, but it was a few hours a day, I sent out 50 letters each day. So it's fairly a form letter, but you know, the names and addresses changed, and so forth. And I did it with the first cost stamp was about nine cents at that time. So it was cost effective. I sent out no more than 50 I sent out 50. And because the direct mail response rate at that time was like 5%. And then the conversion data conversion rate, direct mail response rate. So I thought, you know, if I can keep doing that, and I could get a couple of clients, the chances of me hitting like $3,000 a month was not that difficult. So I kept doing this. I mean, I did have days, months where I didn't have any responses. But But then I had times when I have like 10 people call, you know. So eventually I did open my corporate accounts. And when I opened my corporate accounts, they were much bigger than I thought like my first corporate account, I think was at Saks Fifth Avenue, and it was $56,000 order. And then you know, all the other accounts were bigger. So it turns out that I was actually kind of overworking myself. But the whole point of this whole conversation is that when you write your American dream, and you break it down to how many hours Am I gonna work for the business? You know, what do I want to do? And what am I willing to do? What are the sacrifices I'm willing to make? And what am I willing to make it happen? And I think that if you break it down, you're going to find that you're going to find, you know, your American dream isn't so broad, like, I want to make more money. You know what I mean? It's a lot.
You have to be more specific. Yeah. Much more specific. Yes. And it can be you're, you're in the States, I'm in Canada, so it can be American Dream, Canada Dream, UK dream, whatever it is for the person. Because we have lots of people listening from all over the world. Tell me what the difference of building a business is to building a personal brand. And how do you build a brand with no money or very little money? Where does somebody start?
Yeah, I think that that is a really, really interesting question because this is the one thing that I would say it's almost easier to build a brand than it is to build a business. Now, the big difference is when you build a business, you know, let's say you're selling, you know, let's say you're selling like almost like a 711, you're in Canada, so you're selling groceries, like on a corner, and you're selling essentials. And you're basically saying, Okay, well, you know, I might expect my rent XML, so my expenses are 10 grand a month. And if I can get 20 grand a month in revenue, and I'm paying my salary and all that, so I'm gonna have a few 1000 bucks left over, that's a business. And that business model can keep on going up or down, you know, whatever, you don't really have a brand. But if you were a branded grocery store, if you were a branded, you know, can of coke or whatever it is, there's a loyalty factor. So people know if, for example, you know, if you do, a lot of people are selling jeans, but if you are a Ralph Lauren selling jeans, they know what to expect, how it fits, and the quality they can depend on. So they're willing to pay more, and they come to you, rather than you having to go out to see them. So once you build a brand, you will be able to get a premium for something. And the generating leads, it's easier to get that sale because they are the people if they're happy about something like if you bought a cute little, you know, pair of Ralph Lauren jeans and you love them, and you go to lunch with a bunch of friends, and they're like, Oh, my God, you look fabulous. And you know, did you lose weight, and I don't know, I just got a new pair of jeans, you know, by the way it's Ralph Lauren. So you know, there's like 20 people, and then they're all talking about it. So they're actually doing your marketing for you. So your second question is how do you then build a brand when you are a small business? I think this is the one thing today that has changed, huge from when I first started my business. I think today, it's so much easier for a small business to build a brand. because number one, building a brand, it comes up for me it came down to three things, I always call it the three P's. First P is personality. So the CEO or the founder, or the personality of the company is one. Number two, so personality product, and then the price. So if you have an amazing personality, you're really likable, and you are trustworthy, and people look at you and go, you know that Victoria, you know, she just seemed so authentic and down to earth. And, you know, she seems to be really professional. And, you know, she's a mom, and, you know, I see her press releases, and I see, you know, I just you know, I can relate to her, you know, and if I'm going to buy a piece of jewelry, I'd rather just give her a try. Okay, so that's one thing. If, as opposed to you being this stuck up, if you were if you were like oh, you know, I'm an international well known designer, and you know, I don't have to talk to everybody. And you know, I look a certain way, and you know, I have a pre programmed way to answer questions. You don't sound authentic. And so what happens is, oh, you know, she's, she sounds like she's a really great designer, and she's got a great credentials, but you know, she's probably great, you know, she's probably gonna be more expensive. And you know, she probably won't even know who the heck I am anyway. And so like, I rather give it to this other person. So that personality is a huge factor. And I say that that's really important today, because when I built my business, that was really hard for me to on a consumer level for my consumers to know who I am. Today, in a digital age with social media, Facebook, you're on YouTube, you can relay who you are and how you are and the branding, the your personal branding in eight different ways every single day. So that's very important. And second thing is product. Make sure that the product you're offering, adds value, it needs to do one of several things.
It needs to either improve somebody's life, that somebody has problems, you need to figure out why are you in business? Right? If you just came up with that, if you came up with a new way of making croissants, you know, when you were selling new croissants on the corner, great, but you know, there are 50 other crozon people. So why are you in business? I mean, is yours, like, you know, low fat? Is it, you know, does it you know, you need to figure out what it is that you're doing for for your clients. So, are you solving a problem? Do they improve lives? Do you help them save money? Do you help them avoid a problem in the future? Do you help them you know, improve their self worth? I mean, there's all different different things. So, and I say I say this because when you have this already in your mind, and this is how you start your business, you're going to develop all your products around that central idea. So if your idea was, you know, for example, if you're talking about QVC
You know, well, you guys don't have QVC. But you know, out here in California, in the US and in UK QVC, you know, huge channel, they're the largest shopping channel in the world. And they are three words QVC means quality value and convenience. And if you look at the reason why they went from a sleepy little company to this multi billion dollar international company, is because every single thing they sell, every single thing they sell every minute of the day, meet those three things - high quality, value, and convenience. It comes to your door. So when you're starting a business, small business, you need to figure out what does your product do? Does it solve a problem, then, you know, you need to make sure that your product continuously solves that problem. And, you know, do it faster, faster, cheaper and better than anybody else on the market. And then the last thing is price. So I did this in the order of importance. So you know, your personality is huge importance, and then your product, what it does, and how it does it, how it delivers. And then the price is relevant. Because if you forget, if you don't meet the first two criteria, then the price isn't relevant. It basically is, nobody cares. Nobody wants it. And then your pricing, you can then charge a premium for something that's that's something that's irresistible, they will pay more. So let me just demonstrate to you how this is going to work. Now do this. What you know, I do this, like, almost like a TV presentation. So watch, think about I know you're listening in audio, but think about a person on TV, trying to sell you a collection of jewelry, like a TV presenter of jewelry, because that's what I do for a living when I'm not on podcast. So if I designed a beautiful collection for fall 2021, okay, and I'm presenting this like, right around Thanksgiving time, November. And I say, you know, good afternoon, you know, thank you so much for inviting me to your living room. And I'm going to do two different ways of doing the same product, same product, same person, but just listen. So you come on and say, you know, thank you so much. I'm Oh my God, I'm just so happy. You know, finally, holiday time is here. I can't wait to you know, get into all the food and fun and all that and it's, it's wonderful. And I just happen to just love all the falling leaves. And you know, I decided to design this beautiful collection because I love leaves. And I know you guys love leaves too. And I know I you know, I'm better than most people designing, you know, natural themes. And by the way, the other day I test drove this I went on a yacht with a bunch of famous people and they were just everybody was complimenting me and you know, I just can't wait for you to try this at home. Okay, so that's one way to talk about it. And it's, it's an okay presentation. But you know, a lot of people feel like they have to exert their authority that they're good at something and all that and what you're selling is very desirable. Most second way to do something, this is the way I usually go present my my jewelry and I will say the same pretty much to you know, it's the same collection. I say thank you so much for tuning you know, in this afternoon, you know, it's the first time you're in for a treat. I can't you know, I can't believe holidays are here already. And I you know, I know that most of you are expecting you know, a lot of excitement. Along with that comes a lot of stress. And I know this is a time we know you probably feel stressed because this is a time when you are going to meet the most people in your family you know, most important people in your life such as your family and friends. And when you meet with your family and friends this this time of the year, you know you want to radiate that positivity you want to glow in, you know beautiful things, beautiful thoughts. And you know what, that inspired me to design the most amazing collection in the world. And you know, I love I love nature. And I know you do too. And so when you get together this, you know, this holiday time when you're serving your Christmas dinner, don't you want people to you know, center around things that are sparkly conversations that are sparkly, and you can do all of this with just one payment of 20 bucks or whatever. So what happens is in the second presentation, you have become a much more relevant person. You are almost in their living room talking to them about the experience they're about to have
You've built a relationship of trust also.
Yeah, and also, they understand that you understand their life, you know that they're going to be serving that they're going to be meeting with friends and family and I've also said the most important people in your life who are your family and friends, right? So and then I go on to say of course, when you are meeting with your family and friends, you are not going to want to have things that are ostentatious looking that are you know that's going to put you into a you know having to go get second mortgage. This is all going to be affordable, things are gonna be durable, they're going to be timeless. In fact, when you're done with this, when when you when you don't want to wear this anymore, you can easily hand it to some member of your family who's going to enjoy it for the next 50 years. How wonderful is that? You know, so now, that sales pitch, and the second scenario is how you build a brand. This is where somebody will go, you know, they'll get this piece at home. And of course, the pieces are gonna look stunning. And they go, Oh, my God, you know, that looks so beautiful. And you go, you know what, I only paid 50 bucks for that. And you gotta listen to this Victoria, you know, like, she is amazing. And she's so down to earth. And let me tell you something, she understands what happens in our family, you know, she understands what kind of dishes, we're gonna cook, she understands like, the family is the most important thing. So what happens is, you can, if you can continue to do this every single week. Now, of course, most of your listeners are not on TV doing what I do. But if you're running a business, or you work for a business, go and check out your website, and think about it. So I have a five to one rule. So every time use the word I one time, I am this, I love this, I whatever, you must use the word you five different times. So because this is how you're going to respect your customer, you're going to have the conversations around it around your customer around their experiences, go back and look at your websites for your business, or even where you do business with. Because a lot of times a small business people, they think oh my god, like no one's gonna buy anything from me until they they realize I'm a big deal. I'm you know, I've done all these things. And so they use things like you know, I won this award or, you know, I am the bah, bah, blah, or, you know, just so many 'I' words. And you don't need to do that you really don't.
I like the five to one rule, that's a really good one. I wanted to jump into that your daughter, Rachel and yourself, you created a jewelry collection together. And that you're committed to true conflict free options. I want you to share that with our listeners, because I don't think a lot of people know what a conflict free diamond is. And also, if you can just briefly touch on your 3.7 million angels, because I think that's a lovely organization to share.
Yeah, so the diamond industry, unfortunately, has not been completely transparent in terms of how the diamonds are sourced, you know, cut, and you know, they're beautiful, and they're prized. But if you've ever seen the movie, like the Blood Diamonds, it's actually everything in there is true. I've been in this for a very long time. And I don't like it and I didn't like it. And but you know, I kind of like wasn't like the mover and a shaker now when my daughter decided to get married. And that's when she built she was doing all this research. And she realized, Oh, my God, Mom, like millions of brides every year are getting married with the lie that I mean, they're actually getting married with a lie, because there is really no true way to you know, when you go to a store, actually, there's a couple of ways you could actually tell. But when you go to your normal jewelry store, and you say and you're a conscious person, and you say I want conflict free diamonds, they'll say, you know, we guarantee our diamonds are conflict free? Well, there really is no way. If you're buying diamonds that are mined in any other place in Canada, where you live - the Canadian Arctic, that's a very conflict free zone, meaning that it's all kind of mined out by robots. You know, you don't have child labor in Canada. But but they only mined a couple of months a year because you know, it's pretty cold up there. But if you're mining anything in the 23 different African countries, you could maybe mine is out of there. But when it goes to like India or other places to get cut, because they're usually never cut where the mines are, are you going to tell me that somehow you're going to be able to find every single, the 10 point little dots are all like, traced somehow? That's not true. You know, they can be mixed with, you know, things from Rhodesia or wherever. That's one issue. And second issue is, you have no way of knowing. I mean, there are documentaries out there that you know, kids as young as six or seven years old are actually living in a mine. To me, even if they're not, like digging stuff out. To me that, you know, that's conflict, you know, the kids should be in school. They shouldn't be you know, living there. So, the word conflict to me, you know, for myself, like there was no Is there a truly conflict for your oil? Like, you know, coming because they're all mixed them once I get into, like refinement. So, you know, my daughter said, you know, Mom, like, a lot of people in your generation, you know her the mother's generation We didn't know any better, you know. But her generation people, they now have the internet, they have the, you know, they have all this stuff in the palm of their hands. So she said, I'm not trying to convince everybody to do one thing or another. But when I say that, we are going to give them 100%, conflict free choices, we're going to guarantee that so we don't do any Earth mined diamond in our. Everything that we do is lab grown diamonds. So you could actually take out an earth mined diamond, and basically DNA, clone it. So you got a mother stone, and then it keeps on duplicating itself. So it it's exactly the same as an earth mined diamond, except it's now done in our lab, and it has the same yield. So if the mother diamond was like a certain grade, like, you know, HVS2, for example, then the lab grown one is going to be exactly the same. And they're graded, you know, by the GIA and all that. So we like that. And 3.7 angels, meaning that there have been more than 3.7 million people that have died, trying to mine diamonds throughout our history. And I think that number comes out of the Amnesty International. There's all these other, you know, organizations. So our logo and slogan is grow, not mine. And we're just simply letting. But what's really interesting now is that so many millennials, our average price point on her website is for millennial bride is $15,000 in lab grown diamonds, so Millennials are actually willing to pay more money for lab grown because it and we're the only company that does that, by the way, because every other lab, one company that sells it also sells land mined diamonds right next to it. So so you know, I'm kind of proud of having started out with her. And, you know, we really give their complete, it's also a complete customer service. So every single bride actually gets the ring that she deserves. And you know, we design it from the beginning to the end. It's a long process. But I'm glad you asked me the question, because, you know, we're very proud of that.
I think that's why it's important for people to hear that because I didn't know anything about that. And so it really got my attention. And I'm also looking for a new diamond. So might be coming your way.
Oh, check it out. Yeah, we are the source. We definitely know everything about that business. And we're getting a lot of support a lot of support from people who have felt the same way as we have, but they haven't done anything. Because you know, the diamond industry is very powerful. Yeah,
Victoria, you're gonna be giving a few gifts to our listeners today. And also you have an invitation for them. Can you share what that is?
Yes. So I have an upcoming seminar, a webinar, which is completely free. And you can come to my website to sign up on that. And it is designed for, it's ideal for small business people to get visible. Number 1 reason why small businesses or any, you know, coaches or anybody that go out of business is because they're not visible. So I give them, you know, ways that a free, free PR coverage, as well as the like, how to be a guest podcast, like I'm doing now on your show, how to host a podcast, write your own book, and all of that. So that webinar is completely free. And also if you're, you know, thinking about your American dream, and how you're going to go about getting you know, all of this done that several of the things that I'm mentioning in this webinar is going to be very relevant to you. Then, I also have written two different books. One of them is a science fiction. And the other one is science fiction by the name in the title, 'Shattered Sky'. And my how to book 'Million Dollar Hobbies'. There was a one chapter that's on my website, you guys can download that because it actually talks about the American dream. And then I also have a an E book, which will allow you to view like nine different businesses, you can start right now with no money. And yeah, I chose nine. So I'm going to go ahead and turn that on this, you know, like when I get off the phone, when I get off this, I'm gonna have them started. So when you get there, you'll be able to download that and there are going to be a lot of different resources that I'm uploading that's going to be completely free for the most part. And then lastly, if you want to continue to get educated about you know. My Million Dollar Hobbies podcast is supposed to be a straight business podcast. But as you can see, for me, number one, I believe that every hobby is worth at least a million dollars if you do it right. And then secondly, For me, I don't care how much money you make. If you change as a person, if you change it, if that business journey changes you in a way that's undesirable, then you've completely missed the point. So for me, the journey is about discovery, not necessarily about the money, and also how you actually become a better person, having gone through all the landmines, and having navigated all of that in a way that helps you. So I think you're going to get both parts when you listen to the million dollar happiness podcast. And, and I invite everyone to come and listen.
Great, thank you very much. The treasure thank you for today, sharing from your heart and soul your wisdom on how to turn your passion into a dream business. Namaste.
Thank you for listening to the Heart Soul Wisdom podcast with Moira Sutton. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Please join our community at moirasutton.com and continue the discussion on our Facebook page, Create the Life You Love. You will be part of a global movement connecting with other heart centered people who are consciously creating the life they love on their own terms. Together we can raise our consciousness for the greater good of humanity and for our planet.