Natasha Faith, 25, is from London and co-owns La Diosa jewellery. She turned her business dreams into a reality with the help of the Prince's Trust
Natasha Faith, 25, is from London and co-owns La Diosa jewellery. She turned her business dreams into a reality with the help of the Prince’s Trust.
‘One of the best pieces of advice my business mentor from the Princes Trust gave me was, ‘Don’t let anyone steal your dreams.’ Where I come from in East London there can be a fear of success. I knew from early on that I wanted to overcome that.
My mum moved here from Uganda when I was three. I went to a rough school, but I refused to let that influence my future and began to look up to TV role models like Branson and Oprah.
I left school at 16 to go to college, where I met Semhal. We were similar in so many ways. We’d both been brought up to be independent and wanted careers where we didn’t work for other people. All I knew at that point was that I wanted to so something creative.
So we worked in retail for a year so we could go traveling around Tokyo, Thailand, Belize, Maylasia, Hong Kong, Singapore and then Mexico. There, we had the opportunity to work with woman who made jewellery in Oaxoaca. We learnt the beading that has become our signature style.
We thought it was a great idea for a business and returned at 19 to do that using semi precious gemstones we brought back with us. Our only hope for money was The Prince’s Trust.
Our mentor, Nicola Mitchell, really wanted us to be ready before we went to panel, so for the next six months we took our jewellery and stood outside Harrods to get feedback. We were eventually awarded £5,000, which we used to buy stock, pay for insurance and legalities and have working capital.
We were so naïve at first we just turned up to stores instead of making appointments, but one buyer liked what she saw so much she bought a few thousand pounds’ worth of stock.
Within less than a month it had sold out.
La Diosa jewellery is now stocked across UK in independent jewellery shops and we’re set to increase our profits by 20 per cent next year.
Recently we sent a pendant necklace to the Duchess of Cambridge to congratulate her on her wedding, and received a letter saying that she really appreciated it!
I have so many fears of what might have happened if we hadn’t set up the business. I love being able to take care of myself. Every day is different, and I want to diversify in as many ways as possible.’
La Diosa co-owner Semhal Zemikael, 25, is also from East London
‘When we made a gift for the Duchess of Cambridge, we were interviewed on African Marketplace on CNN International, and orders came in from all over the world. My parents came here from Africa, too – Ethiopia and Eritrea – to do degrees and to work. It made my family very proud.
I always had big dreams from when I was young. I didn’t want to stay in my area my whole life. I became reserved and avoided trouble. I saw it happening to other people, taking drugs, and getting pregnant young, and I kept thinking, I want to have an amazing life.
I hope that by doing this we give people from areas like ours the confidence to go out there and do something against the odds. There’s so much for us to do here still but I will move away some day and I will live somewhere beautiful.’
Mentors have been a must for us. They guide you with their vast experience and knowledge. Surrounding yourself with people you admire will have a dramatic effect on your business.’