Woodfolk is an ethical and sustainable jewellery, homewares and accessories brand, owned and run by fine jeweller Julia Denes, who works with artisans in Nepal to hand make the pieces. With more than 10 years’ experience creating Fine Jewellery, Julia felt the need to work with earthier materials, and combining this with her love of all things natural and ethical, she launched Woodfolk in August 2013.
As a business that remains authentic to its ethos, Woodfolk strives to create opportunity, self-determination, support and hope in these communities through social entrepreneurship. Trust, equality, fair trade and a long term goal of bringing meaningful change to their lives, Woodfolk aims to demonstrate a fairer alternative to businesses seeking trade with third world communities.
Testing her emotionally and financially, issues around Julia’s intellectual property challenge her daily. Prior to launching Woodfolk, a store opened up with a similar name. Devastated, Julia was concerned that others would think she copied or is them, but felt her connection with the name outweighed her fear, and decided to go ahead with it. More ongoing, Julia faces issues with the images she shares across Woodfolk’s social channels, where on a few occasions, other brands have taken these and claimed them as their own. Leaving her feeling angry, frustrated and helpless, she continues to put her energy into creating original pieces with the means of remaining one step ahead.
Julia’s commitment to working with Nepalese artisans and creating a viable business that’s authentic to its philosophy ensures opportunities to change their socio-economic position. As the brand grows, so does the volume of work, meaning more employment opportunities are extended to other family members. A motivator in itself, having her own ‘employees’ pushes Julia to ensure success. Due to the business’ structure, Julia cannot become unmotivated or stuck for very long, pushing her to work through issues quickly, move on and get back on track. More about supporting those artisans who need and rely on the work she provides, Julia ensures that there is always work available, pushing her to strive further.
Today, Woodfolk has an extremely successful e-commerce store, is stocked in more than 60 stores nationally and draws a passionate and loyal. Throughout the challenges and ups and downs she has faced, Julia has created a viable business, offering opportunity to communities that are socially challenged.
3 TIPS FOR SUCCESS
1. Trust your instinct – helping with big decisions, collaborations and staff, this can potentially save you a lot of time, energy and money. Even if seems a bit left of field, instinct will never let you down.
2. Don’t rush – but don’t take things slow. Grow within your means. If you’re a one-man band, a $70,000 order might knock you off your perch. Build up slower, use the resources to handle your growth, and make wiser decisions from the start.
3. Don’t dwell – Pick yourself right back up. Take in the learnings you’ve received. Some of the greatest ideas can come from experiencing a disappointment.
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From those in Heels