Oksana Artemova, the owner, and CEO of Hairdresser Studio Millennium Prague has recently launched a handmade jewelry line inspired by the collections of the Imperial Treasure in Dresden, Germany.
“When I was a kid I loved playing dolls. I sew little dresses for them and made necklaces and armbands from beads and paillettes. But it wasn’t until I was on maternity leave with my second son – that I made my first real necklace” Oksana said.
I talked with Oksana about her business and asked her to share her secret of how she can make time for it all – parenting, running a business and making handmade jewelry.
Oksana’s background is in the beauty industry. She is a certified hair stylist, born and grew up in Irkutsk, Russia. She moved to Prague in 2006, and founded Millenium Prague, a hairdresser studio.
How can a certified hair stylist become a jewelry maker?
OA: I always wanted to make jewelry, but it wasn’t until 2014 when I went on maternity leave with my second son and had some time freed up from my main business. It doesn’t mean that I felt like being on vacation, but I just completely immersed in this “new” experience being with my baby boy and taking care of him. Mentally I also took this time to step back and distanced myself from the everyday pressures.
The baby care routine put me in a completely different mindset. Mark is my second child, but being a mom in my forties was a completely different experience from the one when I was 20! Somehow it brought back my childhood memories and reminded me how I loved playing with dolls make them clothes and adorned them with little beads and paillettes. So in one of the relatively quiet evenings, I made my first real necklace.
Everything went really quickly afterward – on the next day I had a business meeting and I wore this necklace. After the meeting one of the customers said she liked my jewelry and asked where I bought it. I explained that I made it and she asked whether I could make one for her. This is how I got the first order and how I started my new business. This was so simple!
Great start to make a business out of a hobby! However, I can only imagine how fierce the competition is in this field. One can buy all sorts of jewelry and Bijou in all price ranges. What is unique about your creations?
“Whatever I do I put my soul in it. I work only with natural semi-precious stones that are believed to have some healing properties and can harmonize the body energy. I design for each client individually, and I try to do it the way that design fits the image and features of that particular person. Each piece exists exclusively in a single copy. I believe that my jewelry is a combination of beauty, quality and reasonable price – what could be better than this?”
What inspires you?
OA: The joy that beauty gives us. For me making jewelry is the way to express my creativity. It is amazing to see my customers trying on their necklace or an armband and see that they are happy with it – this is a wonderful moment! It gives me feeling that I did something that makes others happy. I found inspiration in the work of alt meisters I see in museums in the Czech Republic and Germany, especially in the Imperial Treasure in Dresden where I’m a frequent guest! I study art and watch the works of other jewelers and try to implement the elements of their creations into my work. I also follow new trends and constantly learn and upgrade my skills.
What is your greatest achievement as an entrepreneur? What can you be proud of?
OA: I am proud to see that my services and products are in demand and my customers are happy – either with their new haircut or when they wear a jewelry piece I made. There is nothing more rewarding than to see that what you – make people happy.
How do you balance the professional and personal life?
OA: I don’t think the balance exists. I do not set boundaries and do not divide my life into business and personal. And how? It’s impossible. My customers are in direct contact with me: they can call me anytime. I run the business, and make jewelry in my “free time”. This is how my life is and I am absolutely happy with it.
There is just one rule: I never bring home the stress from work. The threshold of my house is the physical border, and when I close the house door I leave the problems outside. Running a business, working with people come along with challenges and problems. That all I leave behind the threshold, as soon as I am home and see my dear and beloved men – my two sons and my boyfriend.
What are the fundamentals of building a successful business?
OA: Talent in what you do is as important as the desire to learn and practice constantly! Starting from scratch and learning everything you can about your niche, understanding specifics and never stop upgrading your knowledge! Persistence, and willingness to invest time, effort and money. People skills to build a solid network of contacts. A huge amount of patience and ability to work with numbers and figures. But, the most import of all this is love – you simply need to love what you do and the rest will fall into place.