Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in jewelry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Yuliana Minor, Owner of YSM Designs, located in San Ramon, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is called YSM Designs. I design and hand make jewelry for all the giftable seasons of your lives. From personalized necklaces for moms to wedding jewelry for your brides and bridesmaids. We love our jewelry to be a part of your life story.

Tell us about yourself

I started my jewelry business as a hobby in 2010 when I became a mother. With a newborn baby and my husband traveling 50% of the time for his job, I knew I had to stay home to take care of my daughter. I started learning and making jewelry during her naps and when she went to bed, and surprisingly I loved it. Growing up in a typical Asian family, emphasis was always put on academics such as engineering or science, where the money-making jobs are. With my Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry, I started working in a lab for a biotech company, and I was unhappy. I never got a chance to explore my creative side until my daughter was born.

As I learn to make necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, I found my passion for design. On a whim, I listed my handmade items on the Etsy marketplace, and they sold within the first weeks. 12 years later, I am still here designing and selling my jewelry. I now have over 200 designs and have expanded to my own website, After selling over 15,000 pieces of my jewelry, I realized that jewelry is more than just an accessory for women, it tells a story. Many of my clients purchased my jewelry to celebrate birthdays or their accomplishments, for their weddings, or to represent their loved ones that have passed. And I am so honored that these women included me on these days that are so significant in their lives.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is definitely being able to pursue my passion in jewelry making and be supported financially. I never dreamed of such a thing.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest thing about being a business owner is juggling all the different aspects of running a business, especially a handmade business. With every item I have in my shop, I have to design, source the materials, make the item, photograph it, market it, and fulfill the order when it sells. Then, there's also the accounting part of it and the inventory management. It's like running a whole company but with very few resources and help. There's also my personal obligation to my family, so it's a delicate balance between the two.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't overthink, and just start. You will learn as you go. And the clarity will come with your actions.
  2. Be consistent, and don't stop when it gets hard. Growing a business is like growing a plant. You plant the seed and then water it each day, and over time, you will watch it grow bigger.
  3. Be ready to pivot and be uncomfortable. The landscape of online business is always changing, and you cannot stay the same, or you will be left behind.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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