Giovanna Ngai is a jewellery designer and a fireball of a person. She’s always got a thousand things on her plate, and she’s telling us how we can do it, too.
I met Gio at Waterloo, and thought it was super cool that she runs her own jewellery brand, Simply Giovanna. You’ve got to give a girl props for chasing her dreams (she’s successful at it too!). So I wanted to get her two cents on the lifestyle. To give us all some extra wisdom to apply in our lives.
Her two cents are priceless.
Dana Iskoldski: Tell us about Simply Giovanna.
Gio Ngai: Simply Giovanna is a jewellery brand that I started five years ago. There is a lot of focus in the brand on custom work and non-traditional designs. I love exploring and trying new things, so I’m always using new materials. The backstory is that I was at a church sleepover where we had a necklace workshop and I decided “I love this, I’m going to keep doing it.” So in 2010 I just started selling my creations.
DI: Five years later, is it still a learning process?
GN: There are definitely moments when it’s clearer than others, where I have validation that I’m headed in the right direction, but others where everything is out of sorts. I don’t expect it to stop being a learning process anytime soon, because it’s only after I come out of grey areas that I have a better understanding of what I’m doing with the brand.
DI: What is one thing you didn’t expect about the entrepreneurial lifestyle?
GN: When I read articles about the top 30 under 30, I would get the sense that people have it so together. But when I met those people, and took the time to listen to their stories, I realize they don’t have everything figured out. Not to discredit everybody’s achievements, but there’s a lot of “fake it ‘till you make it” going on. We’re all constantly figuring new things out for the first time.
DI: What is one piece of advice you have for someone starting their own business?
GN: Don’t be scared to make mistakes. You may think others have it together, but we’re usually also just stumbling around. So convince yourself that you, too, have the liberty to make mistakes and you’ll open yourself up to greater successes. Just make sure you’re not making reckless mistakes. It’s equally important to ensure you have a foundation and support system to get back up when you fall. Surround yourself with resources so that you can learn from your mistakes and make sure you’re moving forward.
DI: What are you most proud of?
GN: The nature of my lifestyle is such that it’s very easy to let things go, so I’ve been intentional with maintaining my relationships. So I’m proud of how I’ve been making time for the people in my life. I’ve gotten better at it, and it’s been really rewarding.
DI: What does success mean to you?
GN: Success is being able to touch people by doing what you love. My two passions are art and people. So, to me, success is using my gift for the arts to impact those around me. It doesn’t have to be huge — little things, like teaching a friend to skate, are meaningful too. Part of this is because we don’t realize how rare it is, to know what we love and use it for good. But if we can tap into our passions, and use them to do what we love, it will last us forever.
There you have it, folks. Four coffees down, ninety-six more to go. Hope you learned something. And to Gio, stay bright.
P.S. Here are some of Gio’s awesome creations: