And so my busy season begins. Last week, I posted up the events on Facebook I will be attending with Liwu. I look forward to these events with mostly excitement. It will be 14 long days in total of facing the public but it really is a space I am quite comfortable in. You may be shocked that an accountant would enjoy standing on her feet for 12 hours straight and chatting to customers but for me it’s what I’ve always meant to be doing. I have documented the journey in a timeline that may surprise some of you!
My first jobs
It all started when I was 15 years old and I began working at our local general store in my small village. We sold everything and I mean everything – the usual grocery, deli, coal but also hardware, paint, flowers, plants and a giftware section. Of course, my favourite was the giftware section. I loved my job there and often say it was the best job I ever had. From about 16 years old, I started thinking about how some day maybe I would have a giftware shop. My next part time job was in the jewellery store in the town I went to school in. This jewellery shop also stocked giftware. Here I learnt a lot about jewellery and continued my love of retail. In fact, I loved my first jewellery job so much, I took annual leave from KPMG to work there the week before Christmas! Crazy when I think back now.
Then I guess when my summer abroad came around it was obvious I would find it easier to get a job in retail rather than waitressing for instance. I didn’t do the traditional J1 to the States. As I was only 20, I made the typical Irish choice of going to Canada to ensure I could have access to alcohol!
Maybe it was luck, maybe it was the right place at the right time but I landed the sweetest job ever on 4th Ave in Kitsilano in Vancouver (one of the trendiest areas). I rocked in with my CV and references to a little gift shop. It was beautiful and full of homewares, jewellery, handbags and more. The owner had amazing taste and it was full of stuff I had never seen in Ireland. It happened that I arrived just a couple of weeks before she was due to leave for Hong Kong for 6 weeks. After a quick chat and a call to my previous employers back home, I was handed a set of keys and codes and I was in charge when she left! I had died and gone to heaven. Kitsilano was on the beach, on my bus route and I was working in one of trendiest places I had ever seen at that time.
I fell in love on a jewellery audit
Once, I graduated from UCD, I went to train as a chartered accountant in KPMG. Apart from my accountancy qualification, I also gained my future husband. The funny thing is we met and I guess fell in love while working together on the audit of the largest jewellery retailer/wholesaler in Ireland and the UK. He even proposed with a token ring from here as it was so significant for us. But I actually designed the official diamond ring!
After KPMG, I sought out a job in retail. It was clothing not jewellery or gifts but it was fantastic to work in head office and see how it all worked from ecommerce, operating 42 stores, marketing, buying, finance, etc. It was fantastic experience and only fuelled my interest and love of retail.
Liwu means gift
So when I founded Liwu Jewellery those who know my past career are not surprised! My candle range which I have created for Christmas 2017 feels like a full circle from where I began at 15 years old.
As I get ready to hit the road and pop up for Christmas, I look back on all my jewellery, gift and retail experiences with fondness and take a little from all of them with me (including the hubby!) to bring you Liwu this Christmas.
See you in Cork or Dublin I hope or you can find Liwu Jewellery online www.liwujewellery.com!