In July last year I received an email from Business Chicks with the subject line, ‘Do you want to come to Necker Island?’. Over the next few days, my mind raced about the chance to learn at Sir Richard Branson’s private island, with Captain Sensible sitting on one shoulder and Captain Awesomeness on the other.
Captain Sensible said exactly what you’d expect. “Do you deserve this?”, “Can you afford this?” and “Do you have enough annual leave?”. Captain Awesomeness, a far more enjoyable companion, filled my brain with positivity, “Why the f**k not?”, “Yes, you do deserve this” and “This is exactly what you need right now”.
“My time at the Leadership Gathering on Necker Island were some of the most pivotal days of my life.”
Fast forward to December of that year, I had arrived at Necker Island and you can guess which voice in my head won out. While it may sound cliché, my time at the Leadership Gathering on Necker Island were some of the most pivotal days of my life; a transformative experience. The people, the fun, the conversations, and the emotions experienced left me challenging many of my behaviours and beliefs.
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Meet Empire, the oldest resident of Necker Island. During this trip in December just gone, a new range was created; inspired by the brave and determined women of the British Virgin Islands. We are excited to share more over the coming weeks 🤗🌴🌸🍍🤸♀️💞 . . . #melbournemade #jewelry #sterlingsilver #silverjewelry #melbournemadejewelry #coinjewelry #earrings #alextempany #businesschicks #madeinmelbourne #ladystartup
Few of the experiences were more significant than hearing the stories of survivors of domestic violence in the region. These women had endured so much but their stories were not defined by tragedy; their stories were of bravery, positivity and sheer resilience. They left us sitting on the edge of our seats, leaning in and with a fire burning of how we could do more. Following this, a group of us at Necker committed to helping them toward their biggest need; building a shelter to provide a place of refuge.
I left the Gathering with my heart full and my bravery heightened, and a lengthy stopover on the way home allowed me to think long and hard about my life.
It was there on my stopover (Dallas airport to be exact!) that I designed ‘The Pineapples’. The Pineapples is a range of jewellery which is bold in design and bold in purpose. A donation of $50 (yep, ‘a pineapple!’) from every piece contributes to the build of this shelter. The hero piece is the ‘Pineapple Earrings‘– oversized pineapples carrying my signature aesthetic of beaten and textured metal, available in 18k gold plate and sterling silver. Accompanying them is ‘The Petit Pineapple’ (a unisex leather bracelet) and the third piece is a necklace, ‘The Pineapple Pendant’.
Still sitting in the airport, I set myself a huge and somewhat terrifying goal to raise $7,500 from this range. I realised that to do this project justice it would take commitment I couldn’t give alongside my then career. I worked full-time in Brand Management (which I loved) and spent a couple of hours a week making silver and gold jewellery. Captain Sensible had always made me defer my dream of building it into a serious business, but knowing that I could contribute to a meaningful cause through The Pineapples, coupled with Richard Branson’s mantra of ‘screw it, let’s do it!’, I resigned from my job the following week.
As I write this, it’s July 2019 and a year on from when I first received that email from Business Chicks. I’ve been working full-time on my jewellery business for five months and sold over 50 pieces of The Pineapples collection. That’s already a third of the way to my (now slightly less daunting) goal of raising $7,500 for the shelter. The range is also stocked in the gift shop on Necker Island and I’m so proud that I’m supporting this group of survivors through doing what I love.
At first glance, committing to a trip to Necker probably wouldn’t fall into the ‘sensible’ camp. But, today, I can’t help but feel Captain Sensible admitting I needed to put aside what made sense on paper to make one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
This trip gave me the courage to start my journey, and a desire to see how my business might also help others. If you’ve ever been tempted I’d encourage you to tune into your Captain Awesomeness and seriously consider it.