UNMRKD WOMAN: Tiereny Schiff
By Cailin Chien
Meet Tiereny, the Connecticut-born go getter and owner of Metier Essentials. Last week we chatted over Zoom about our mutual love for creating products, branding, and connecting with our customers. By following her gut and striding to her own beat, Tiereny found success in her small business. She recently reached 10K followers on Instagram and continues to grow everyday. As she begins attending college full-time, she learns about balancing her time being a student and a small business owner. Read below to find out her story and how she does it all!
For the readers who don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm Tiereny, I’m 19 and I own Metier Essentials. I started this company in high school as a freshman. I go to Villanova University in Pennsylvania and I’m in the business school at Villanova. I wanted to go to a business school instead of a fashion school just in case all of this doesn’t work out but ideally I’d be doing this for the rest of my life.
When did you come up with the idea of starting this business? How were you able to create a foundation for it and source/connect with people who could make and produce items for you?
It’s definitely a lot of trial and error. I was always pretty crafty and started making necklaces with beads I had around my house. I started making some with tassels and decided to put them on Etsy. My cousin was also an entrepreneur and owned a straw bag company. She used to do a pop up shop in Montauk and helped me sell my necklaces there, which got the ball rolling a little bit. Through that, I started making more quantities because it wasn’t something I was used to.
Before I was getting my beads from my local bead shop but didn’t realize how marked up everything was so I had to look into getting them from other shops. It was a lot of baby steps and it took years and I’m still not where I want to be. I transitioned into making gold and silver jewelry in my sophomore/junior year and still wasn’t sure what I was doing. I bought my supplies online in bulk and got pilers and would assemble them myself with the clasp and the chain. And that’s basically what I do now too.
How do you balance owning/running a small business while attending school full time?
It’s been easier in some ways and harder in others. It’s different being in a new place trying to have a social life, meet new people, and join clubs but timing wise it’s a bit better because I have less classes per day. I can work on my business in the afternoon to package and ship everything out. At night I can do my homework and be a normal college student. I also joined Business of Fashion Society at my school and they’ve been super helpful.
I went to private school my last two years of high school and it’s a requirement to attend an after school activity so I didn’t get home until 5:30pm. And the post office closes at 5pm! So that was really tough.
What are your goals for the brand?
I’m starting to work on creating custom made jewelry. I would sketch something and send it over to the factory to get it made. That’s something I haven’t gotten the chance to do yet because of costing and finding the right factory to work with. I want to make sure the factory is ethical. I just started working with a tiny factory in India and they’re working on a few designs for me. We’re starting with 3 sizes of hoops and 2 rings as a test batch. That will be the ultimate goal to create something that’s unique to my brand. But I’d also LOVE to create a store front.
Whether it’s life or running a business, we all go through a few bumps and bruises along the way (especially now) how are you handling and adjusting as a small business owner and student? What have you learned?
It hasn’t been awful. I think people are at home on Instagram online shopping and luckily I have had enough inventory that I haven’t needed to restock. I’ve had these hoops I’m wearing now on pre-order and my supplier emailed me letting me know that it’ll be a few more days so that’s been tricky to navigate. But having items on pre-order has also been reassuring. It was such a bummer as a student because school was just getting fun. I had my friends, my society, and classes have been fine. The online classes on Zoom is hard and weird but it’s manageable.
How has owning a business helped you grow as a person?
It gave me somewhere to put all my energy instead of feeding into the pressure I felt in high school. Having something to work on and go back to was so nice. Talking to people for customer service has been really beneficial as well. Answering those emails everyday is so helpful for my day to day.
Other than owning a successful jewelry brand, what do you hope to accomplish?
I’m definitely interested in graphic design and making my website more branded. And I have done some freelance work for that and it’s something I can spend hours doing. But I’m still unsure what I would do as a full-time job if this all doesn’t work out. I do love the marketing side, social media, e-commerce, I think all of that is so interesting.
How do you stay motivated in your creative process in designing jewelry and creating content, especially when you work alone?
I love going on Pinterest and looking at vintage magazine covers for inspiration. But when it comes down to it, I pick what I like because I know I’m going to be wearing and creating content for it. My mom actually helps me out with all the finance and admin stuff. Looking at a spread sheet makes me want to pull my hair out and it’s been really nice to have that help so I have the energy to do all the creative side. I don’t think it’d be possible to get me motivated to do the financial stuff but everything else is just fun and I love it.
During this pandemic, what is something keeping you sane right now?
I’m fortunate to have three siblings so I’m always entertained. I usually go on a walk with my family. Introspectively, I love listening to affirmations on YouTube. If I’m feeling stressed out or on edge, I would just listen to that! I love listening to it before bed. I’ve also been doing these little writing challenges and you spend 5 mins writing about something you love or what you’re grateful for. It’s nice to have a dose of positively in your day.
What does Unmarked mean to you?
I’ve always done what feels right for me. Keep away from the norm if it doesn't feel right and not being afraid to do something different. It’s definitely very important for me to stay true to myself and do what’s right for me.
Metier Essentials is offering 10% off from today to Sunday, April 19th for all our Unmrkd customers!
Use with the code "Unmrkd"