We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Vo Bombet and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I never thought I would be in the jewelry business. My previous career path was in marketing, live events and PR. I had moved to Los Angeles in 1999 to open up STAPLES Center as their Marketing Manager and I moved up and around within the company over 10 years until I was laid off. My younger son was born soon after so I dove into motherhood, taking care of my two baby boys, and consulted on the side. One of the companies that I worked on was a jewelry company. It was a women owned company and their philosophy was all about uplifting other women and using only female artisans from around the world. It inspired me to create pieces that I wanted to wear and eventually one of my best friends put one of my bracelets on the show that she was working on. It was a wooden bead bracelet with skulls that she took off my wrist for a male contestant on The Voice. Mother’s Day, 2016 was when I officially launched my business but I wanted to start slow and steady and only created pieces that I would wear. My business was originally created as a passion project because of my love for gemstones. I was not thinking of making a “living” out of it but I made great sales during pop ups and people loved my designs. I didn’t do much online and shunned being at brick and mortars because I didn’t want to give up so much of my (already) narrow margins. I was married at the time so I was lucky enough to have my husband’s income to fall back on and I was able to be put motherhood first and business after. With divorce comes a different mindset and I had to build a business that would allow me to support my kids. I had to build up my social media presence and had incredible friends who had businesses that helped me build my brand through videos, photoshoots, website and graphic design. Through networking and referrals, I was able to work with other women owned businesses for pop ups and shows and eventually I partnered up with the Den Meditation to sell my jewelry at both of their locations. Their philosophy and business was on brand with my jewelry and my beliefs. I didn’t have investors or partners and I didn’t start my business with a large amount of liquid cash but I built it on a shoe string budget with a solid support group. Just when my income was getting more robust and I was able to feel secure on my own, Covid 19 hit and my businesses went to zero for the first couple of weeks. I went through all kinds of emotions and fear but then business picked up. People were supporting small businesses, they were shopping purely online and business was better than ever. My mantra has always been slow and steady and focus on customer service and I think that helped me weather through the tough times. It took 4 years to get to where I am now and I have a lot more to go but I am extremely grateful for the path that my business is headed.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
There are so many great jewelry lines out there but what sets us all apart is that each line has a unique founder/designer representing them. We all have something about us that sets us apart. My passion for gemstones is the base of my design but my Buddhist background brings out all the Buddhas and zen symbolisms. I also love the ying/yang between wearing something as zen as Buddha and adding skulls, dragons and snakes to my outfit. That’s why you’ll see this polarity in my line. I’m extremely particular with what I make and go through every gemstone, every jewelry part and everything that goes into making my pieces. With every piece of jewelry that you buy from me, I’ve created a little card with the meanings behind the gemstone or symbol. It’s important to me for my customers to know what they are wearing and that their jewelry goes beyond looking pretty. Knowing that their jewelry is protective, calming or brings about success or joy makes that piece even more special. I’ve made it a priority to connect with my customers directly and always come from an authentic and transparent place. My business is solely me with the help of part time and event based assistants, sales and graphic designs. I work from home but partnered up with a friend to have a showroom in the Palisades. As a single mom to two middle school aged boys, working from home has been essential. It’s been challenging, especially since my divorce, but with my home studio I can process orders at anytime of the day (or night) and am able to start my day hours before my kids even wake up. I had been working since I was 14 years old and worked my way up the corporate ladder for years. I thought I lost myself when I was laid off and thought motherhood was a step down from my former marketing position (so wrong and ignorant of me then). The universe put me in a place that changed my mindset and I am so grateful for the years with my kids. I was able to reinvent myself and start a business that I love, a business that was mine, a business that I was proud of. I want other women to know that you can start again at any age. I am a single mother who started this business, 4 years ago, after turning 40. It went from a passion project to a profitable business. More women need to know that life doesn’t stop after a certain age or the end of a job or even a marriage. We are strong, resilient and it is possible to juggle motherhood with business…..successfully.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
There are so many great spots and businesses in LA. We are so fortunate to have such great weather here and one of the best places to see a concert is the Hollywood Bowl. I can’t wait for it to be safe enough to attend a concert there again. I love supporting small businesses and a great place that my friends and I love to go to is Spoon By H. We’ve been going there for years, before David Cho and David Chang discovered our friend Yoon’s incredible cooking. For Italian food, my boyfriend and I love supporting Divino in Brentwood. Not only does it hold a special place in our hearts but Goran and his family have been behind the kitchen for over 20 years, with the same employees.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Ahhh, there are so many to choose from! It took more than one person/group to get me here. I would love to recognize my friend Diane Mizota. She owns Zota Production and is one of the biggest cheerleaders to all of her friends. She has been my model for my jewelry, produced my videos and content for my business, connected me to other women/businesses for me to partner up with and has been consistently solid for advice on my business and personal journey. She’s one of the best and can’t thank her enough!
Mathew Tucciarone Bil Burri Carol Yoo