I'm 23 & launched my jewellery business with £126 – my collections sell out in minutes & I'm set to make six figures | The Sun

A YOUNG woman who started a jewellery business with just £127 while studying for a degree at uni has told how she's now set to turn over a whopping six figures by the end of the year.

Georgia Humbert, from Hertfordshire, was bored of forking out on earrings, only for them to turn her ears green or go rusty after just a few wears.

So, with time to kill in lockdown and using just £127 of savings, the savvy 23-year-old set to work trying to develop products to eradicate the common problem – and that's when her jewellery company Smoothie was founded.

Speaking to Fabulous for the Bossing It series, the young businesswoman, whose company is set to turnover £300k by the end of the year, said: "In the summer of 2020 I was sent home from uni and was bored in the first lockdown.

"I had kept myself busy with a painting business but I've always wanted to work in online retail and wanted to create that opportunity to learn for myself.

"Building brands and websites has always been a passion of mine so it started as a hobby to do more of that."


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And a jewellery company was at the top of Georgia's list.

She had been struggling to find earrings that didn’t break or turn green after just a few wears and wasn’t able to find jewellery that was affordable.

"When thinking of products, I wanted to make earrings for two reasons," she explained.

"Firstly because I was really frustrated at buying them from popular high-street retailers, only for them to turn green really quickly or have super fiddly clasps.

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"Secondly, it felt like the only other option was to spend £50+ on a pair which I couldn't justify as a student.

"I didn't see why you couldn't get good quality earrings that were affordable and fun!

"I think if you wear them all day everyday as I do (call me lazy!) then they should be an expression of your personality, not really generic designs.

"I wanted to make ear stacking really simple and affordable."

Georgia’s top five business tips

1. Hang out where your customers hang out. For us that was TikTok which I was opposed to doing for so long mostly because I was self-conscious, but you can't expect to be successful if you're not spending time with your customers online. 

2. Do things before you feel ready. I'm pretty sure this is what they say about having a baby or buying a house but it's been true for business, too. The things that drove my business forward the most were those scary investments that I wouldn't have done unless I was forced to (outsourcing my fulfilment for example because I was moving country) but if you don't do it, you'll keep playing small.

3. Take your business seriously. If you don't believe in yourself how can you expect anyone else to? Even if you're selling one item a week and packing boxes from your bedroom floor, you've got to work as if you're the biggest retailer in the world. If you don't, how can you ever expect to get there? If people think you take yourself too seriously (with business) you're on track. 

4. Treat everything as an experiment – this will encourage you to take more risks and failures won't feel so personal. That investment didn't pay off? Oh well, it's an experiment that didn't work and now you'll know for next time. 

5. Never stop learning. Shout out to Female Founder World and Female Startup Club Podcasts for teaching me pretty much everything I know. Even if you feel stagnant, if you're still reading and learning you'll be making progress in some small unconscious ways…it just might take a while to see it!

Georgia, who was studying in her second year of her business degree at the University of Exeter at the time, used £126 of her savings to start the business at the bottom of her garden.

"That money was to pay for the materials to create four designs [20 pairs of earrings in total] and the packaging," she explained.

"We didn't spend any money on the website or branding, I did all that myself and used every free trial going!"

But while some entrepreneurs are lucky enough to experience overnight success, this was far from the reality for Georgia, who describes it as a "very bumpy journey."

"I wish I could tell you it was an overnight success but that would be a lie, and I think in an age of social media highlight reels it's really important to share that," she explained.

"For the first two years I ran it alongside uni literally packing orders on my bedroom floor.

"I pretty much made next to no money.

"I worked so hard on it but it felt like it was never going anywhere.

"But that's all important learning time.

"I'm a big believer in learning by doing and those mistakes taught me what not to do."

She continued: "It wasn't until I started TikTok and really honed in on what I wanted our brand to be known for (ear stacking) that we took off.

"On our first big launch day when we sold way more than expected.

"I went around so many post boxes in Exeter filling them all up with our pink boxes because I completely wasn’t prepared for it."

While she initially started with huggie hoop earrings, the product range now includes everything from rings and anklets to ear cuffs, necklaces and pre-made ear stacking sets.

Plus, the Amalfi Collection even sold out in an impressive 10 minutes – something which was a pinch me moment for Georgia.

"Our prices range from £11-£30," she explained.

"Our best sellers are our everyday ear party sets (a 3-piece ear stacking set for £22) and their matching Lucky Charm huggies, which are priced at £22.

"We also have a gift finding quiz with the intention of helping people pick gifts for their partners because we understand it can be hard sometimes – so that'll be great for Valentine's Day."

As for returning customers, Georgia said: "Honestly, the DMs and reviews we get from them is such a pinch me moment.

"Especially when we have people say they could never find earrings for their sensitive skin before Smoothie, or they’ve gone out and got more piercings just so they could wear more of our pieces…that’s crazy!"

Monthly we're at £10k-15k. We're expecting sales of 200k-£300k this year.

Since then, the company has continued to go from strength to strength.

"Monthly we're at £10,000-15,000," the 23-year-old said.

"We're expecting sales of £200,000-£300,000 this year."

Along with the very impressive sales figures, there's also been many other "pinch me" moments for Georgia.

"Seeing 100 people waiting to get into our shop on launch day and standing in my uni kitchen with my housemates watching the orders come in were both surreal experiences," she said.

"On a personal level, the first day I made my old monthly salary in a day was a big one.

"Even though it was never really about the money, that was the first time I thought, 'this could really be something.'"

Georgia has also partnered with the Pachamama Project – a charity that distributes reusable sanitary products in refugee camps to which 10% of profits are donated to.

"This year we donated enough to send 75,000 pads to Lebanon which was a really proud moment for me," she said.

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As for the future, Georgia added: "Plans for 2023 are to expand more into cartilage and ear stacking earrings and I think we’re ready to be in retailers so that will be my focus.

"I’m also excited to do more pop ups and collaborations so bring on 2023!"

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