[DISCLAIMER: The following post is only a small percentage jewelry and does not feature the usual dosage of sparkle. It also may be perceived as highly feminist, boy bashing, not feminist enough, or just plain boring. Viewers not concerned with personal banter and rationalization should discontinue viewing immediately. Readers agree to risk wasting time and will not be compensated or reimbursed.]
Sometimes being in the Jewelry Industry is like being transported to the 1950s when women were good for typing, vacuuming and…..
If you are not sure what I mean, then clearly you have never been a young female on 47th Street. I encourage you to try it! It is somewhat like an obstacle course of sleazy marriage proposals and X-Ray vision checkin’ you out type look stare downs. Now before you start to place the blame on me or any other female with similar claims, I can assure you that I usually rocking some casual business wear and not some booty short crop top ensemble. Why do I dress like I’m going to the office when I am my own boss? Because I am a Girl Boss! (In a very Boys world).
“OKAY So if it’s such a Boys world and you want people to take you seriously… why did you put ‘Girl Boss’ on your business cards?”
– Said No One Ever
Alright, so nobody said those exact words but a few of my closer male friends including my boyfriend have politely inquired and asked me if I was seriously going to put that on my business cards. And I am sure plenty of people think it. I was and still am serious. Why? Because lets be real:
I am 25 (strike 1)
I am a girl (Double Strike 2)
I have the audacity to start my own company (strike 3)
My company mission is Socially Conscious (Why are you even still swinging you are already out.)
And much to my own dismay, that my friends is exactly why nobody would take me seriously if I put:
Constance Palelei- CEO
Constance Palelei- President
Constance Palelei- Principle
Or whatever other fancy titles you can think of, that in my opinion people over use anyways (No seriously, check out Linkedin, it seems like everyone and their freaking chihuahua is the president or vice president of something or other.) Who would really take me seriously?
So rather than fighting the current, I chose to smile, ride the wave of condescension and build a name that nobody forgets. After all ‘Coco’ began as a name that patronizingly referenced her bar songstress past and she grew it to one of the most recognized brands in the world. (CoCo Chanel…. if you weren’t on the same page.)
Aside from the general cheekiness (which I always appreciate) there have been other benefits to the adopted job title/life decision. There is a sense of instant camaraderie from other women with similar experiences.
I recently started working with a female jeweler on 47th who came out to look at my job request and when she saw my card. she said, “I can’t tell you haw many times men come in here and ask me to speak to the boss. And I say ‘I am the boss’.” She addresses my returned jobs to: Constance P.- “The GIRL BOSS” and I have her in my phone as: Aimee- Boss Lady Jeweler.
My now attorney who also happens to be under 30, own her own practice and be very very pretty, shared with me that at an attorney’s networking event a man came up to her and asked if she had been invited by someone. When she replied yes he then proceeded to ask her if she was thinking about attending law school. As she informed him, “No, I am a practicing attorney.”
He proceeded to make the “Aww…” sort of sound people googoo gaga at babies and puppies and then follow up with “That’s cute!”
……… Obviously, it is not a completely unique experience to the jewelry world. However, I know have heard some real winners. What’s your Girl Boss in a Boys Club story?
*Oh yeah and if you haven’t read #GIRLBOSS yet…. Do it now. For Real.