Trailblazing Queen: Bianca Librandi, White November
Interview by Yes Queen Founder, Sarah Fritz
When did you decide to start White November?
I had just finished my studies in 2012 and my mentor and boss Iris Isaccs really helped me start White November. She set me the task to design a range based on my recent holiday in Rome. From there, my first range Celestial Spheres was born drawing inspiration from the ancient building, the Pantheon.
How did you go launching a start-up? Any tips?
With lots of help and a bit of luck! As soon as I started White November my friends reached out to help me in any way they could. I was so encouraged by everyone’s generosity and kindness; I decided to make those values the foundation of my business. I always treat every person I come in contact with in my business with warmth and respect. Part of my job that I love is giving back through working with students and building relationships with suppliers and customers. My tip would be to reach out to your network or go out of your comfort zone. Attend some networking nights in your local area. It’s super awkward in the beginning but it pushes you to meet new people who might be future collaborators.
Your top 3 lessons in business so far
I think having great branding, packaging customer service, web presence is so important and really do make your brand look cohesive and professional. I have tried to align all my touch points to deliver the same message, from the pen I use in trade fairs to the font that is used on the website – all details are considered and part of the White November universe. Being consistent in customer service is also crucial for me. I treat every customer as if they’re my only customer and they always come first. I am always looking in how to make the customer experience better and always looking for ways to innovate and improve.
I have made mistakes and had failures but the important thing is that I pick myself up and keep going. I do feel like quitting sometimes, and that’s normal but I always have the word persistence front of mind. Out of the failures and mistakes are lessons and I don’t tie these to my ego. If something isn’t working I try and adapt and adjust. Someone great once said, “Failure is a great teacher and, if you are open to it, every mistake has a lesson to offer. “
Never stop learning.
Before I decided to make jewellery my main focus, I had studied 3 other courses: fine arts, interior architecture and a fashion business course. While not all directly relate to jewellery, I really do believe having these influences make me a better jeweller and make me the designer I am today. The reason I drew inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome was because when I was studying interior architecture, I was really fascinated with floor plans of interesting buildings. This encouraged me to research the building while I was there in Rome. I try and find beauty in everything and always keep my eyes open for the next inspiration. Continuously learning new skills and thinking patterns are very important to me.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your SS19 collection, ‘Astral Orbit’.
I have lived in near the Botanical Gardens for around 6 years and at the start of this year I realised there was an observatory in the gardens and I hadn’t ever noticed. I did some research and booked myself and my partner Warren in for a tour. The architecture of the buildings that housed the telescopes really inspired me. The domed roof and exposed beams fascinated me. I started researching observatories around the word and found images of a really beautiful observatory in India called The Jantar Mantar observatory in Jaipur. I hope to travel there one day to see it in real life. The radiating pattern of my new work was based on this building which I imagined was brought to earth from another planet far far away.
What is inside your business tool-kit?
Last year I finished an amazing business accelerator course called Mastered. This 10 month course really helped me to pull together all my knowledge and create an extraordinary brand.
One of my favourite business books is Start with Why by Simon Sinnek. He is one of my business heroes – I think this quote sums up what his about perfectly - “Great companies don't hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.”
You have an amazing IG following, how did you grow your audience?
Be social is the most important advice I think. From being social I have formed a relationship with stylists, stockists and influencers which all help to grow my audience. The ability to connect with so many people and show your work is incredible. One of the most important lessons is that each platform is to be used differently as people interact with each platform uniquely; therefore different content must be produced.
We love your global “WN Girls”? What does she represent?
WN girls are happy girls comfortable in their own skin; effortless and believe they have magical powers. Celestial, light, pretty gritty and otherworldly are some words to describe the White November woman.
Who would you identify as your business mentors? IRL or other?
Last year I was lucky enough to participate in a Mastered: Live event in London. There I met so so many amazingly creative and talented people, but I would have to say the highlight was Vanessa Belleau. Vanessa is a Creative Business Strategist who has worked for WGSN. She taught me how to use confident language to describe my work and what I do. Guilty of underselling myself and my skills, Vanessa encouraged me to look at myself as a talented artist and creator though her storytelling and examples. In her workshop the most memorable lesson Vanessa taught was to say.. “I am brilliant at….” as anything after this is undeniable. I would have never said anything like this before this workshop and was impressed how quickly she taught us to re-frame our thinking.
What do you look for in people you hire / work with?
I look for people with kind souls, who are motivated with a beautiful energy above anything else. I look for people with a clear idea of who they are and for people who love what they do. I believe skills can be taught so having people work with me that understand the values White November has been built upon is so important.
What is your ultimate goal?
I would love to keep creating and learning more about the jewellery industry and mentor some emerging designers as well.
Advice for Yes Queens
Fortune favours the brave! You don’t know until you try; I do take a few risks in my business and fall on my feet most of the time.
Last week White November became a Yes Queen Approved business. Bianca has kindly offered 20% off her jewels with code: yesqueen at the checkout. Valid until Monday 19 November 2018.