BABE #176: LACEY SMITH, Owner, Beyou Jewelry
When two out of three of Lacey’s children were diagnosed with Leukemia within just 2.5 years of one another, she experienced firsthand the physical and mental changes that occur with such a disease — to both her family and herself. It was during one of their late-night hospital stays when Lacey was desperate for an entertaining distraction that Beyou was created. Today, the jewelry company has grown into a successful online store and is carried in 12 of Jacksonville's retail shops. We are honored to share Lacey’s hopeful story today, which reminds us of the importance in resilience, inner strength, and being kind to one another.
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Current city: Jacksonville, Florida
Alma mater: University of North Florida
Degree: Business Marketing
Very first job: Adventure Landing prize counter
Hustle: Owner, Beyou Jewelry
How do you spend your free time?
Rarely am I not battling that work-life balance, so free time is very limited. But, I enjoy looking for shark teeth and sea glass, eating good food, exploring new places and listening to live music.
Go-to coffee order?
I let hot coffee sit until it became cold, so I order iced lattes now.
Go-to adult beverage?
Titos & club soda.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I would love to fill a room with all of my closest girlfriends. It has been so long since I sat and just conversed with them. All of us live in different cities and never get to see one another. It would be so nice to just sit and have uninterrupted conversations about the non-serious things in life over coffee (aka a bottle of wine, or two).
What’s something most don't know about you?
I’m pretty good target shooter.
Three words to describe yourself?
I guess that depends on who you ask, but I would say I am, driven, spontaneous and strong.
Tell us about your hustle.
My Florida-based jewelry store, Beyou Jewelry, has quickly grown to become a successful online store and is currently carried in 12 retail shops. With almost two years under my belt of long days and sleepless nights, the dream of Beyou has quickly turned into a reality as a result of the hard work, commitment and extreme dedication I put into growing and developing it. I am a one-woman show and handle every single aspect of the business, running it all from my home. I conceptualize, design and make all the pieces, order the materials and maintain relationships with the highest quality vendors, do pop-up events, run the advertising, keep the books, handle all the social media, website, photography, packing orders—all while somehow juggling three amazing kids and trying to keep the house running. There isn’t much rest or downtime, but I love every single aspect of it.
What does your typical workday look like?
Nonstop go, go, go. My hats change all day long. I hustle through the morning routine to get the kids dropped off at school on time, head back to the office/studio and try to knock out the most pressing items. (Jewelry making, packaging, fulfilling orders.) After lunch, I run and grab the twins, usually stopping at UPS or shops when things need replacing or refilling. We charge it home for about an hour and a half, and that’s when I typically grab a quick shower. Then, it’s back out the door to get their brother from school. While in the carpool line, I return calls and start compiling a to-do list for the night’s workload. After school, I’m back and forth between mom-mode and business-owner. I get everyone going on homework and content with snacks so I may work until about 5:30. Then, I shift into my mom-life: baths, dinner, books, bed. Then, I'm back in the office working on emails, accounting, prepping for events, social media stuff. Other days I’m in the car all day making deliveries and refilling stores, so nights are spent working on jewelry. I do try at least one day a week to not work at all and focus on cleaning, grocery shopping, errands, etc. Each day is different and it can change so quickly, yet I am so grateful for the flexibility it provides for our constantly changing lives.
What inspired Beyou?
After two of my three children were diagnosed with leukemia two and half years apart, I spent a lot of time in the hospital. Going into our fifth overnight stay, I was running out of ways to entertain us. I ran home to grab some clean clothes and ended up grabbing a jar of sea treasures and old pieces of unworn jewelry for us to play around with. Without a clue of what to do, I started piecing together some of my favorite things: stones, sharks teeth, fossils—and from there the idea sparked. Fashioned with a beach bohemian vibes and belief in always owning who you are, Beyou was built. With a strong passion for those impacted by cancer, Beyou was created by witnessing the physical and mental changes that occur when diagnosed with such a disease. No matter the changes, remaining true to yourself and just “being you” is what Beyou is all about.
Have you always had a passion for making jewelry?
I’ve always loved jewelry that was minimal yet impactful. I used to take jewelry apart just to create something unique to wear. Combining that concept with my passion for sun and salt (not just on my margaritas) is where the concept all stemmed from.
What inspires your designs?
I draw my inspiration from the beach and my native roots. I try to create pieces I feel will market well to women who don’t like to change their jewelry just because they change their outfit. Whether we’re at work or at the beach, I aim to showcase pieces that are for women who live a chill lifestyle while remaining true to where we live and what we love: the beach.
How do you balance your business while raising kids?
It's a rollercoaster of emotions; be prepared to doubt every decision you make. When you’re succeeding on the business side, you will then think you’re failing on your roles as a mother. The times when you take a day off to be with the kids, you later feel the need to kick yourself for not replying back fast enough to a missed email or for missing out on a potential business opportunity. There’s no equal balance between the two roles, you just do the very best that you can and take it day by day. One thing I've learned is that no matter how busy you are, you will never, ever regret stopping work to listen to your child. For them to show you what they just colored or to hear a story they’re wanting to tell you about what happened at school that day is the true meaning of why we do what we do. It's so important to never forget that.
What’s been your biggest career milestone? Why?
I’m proud of the amount of work I’ve produced and the overall growth of Beyou within the past year. Launching the company with two children still in treatment for leukemia and having them both in remission while seeing business growth has been a life-changing milestone.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
The societal expectation to not show my emotions and to always be “on" has been a struggle. When the cancer came into our life, it became my identity: the woman with two sick kids. I began losing myself; struggling with being unhappy, over-stressed, and it was a constant struggle to keep it all together. I lived in and out of hospitals with the kids, trading shifts between myself and their father. I was tired of people waiting for me to crack, and acting like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown every time I shed a tear. We were blessed to have an amazing nationwide support system, but that forced me to always be “on.” After three years of treatment, I made changes to my life and decided to become a full-time businesswoman and also a full-time mother—I freely chose to start this business. It was hard in the beginning to not be seen as piggybacking Beyou off of the support system that grew due to the leukemia, but I’ve worked hard to create a balance between my family, my career and my personal life. I chose for myself and for my family to be the best mom and businesswoman I could possibly be.
Have you always had entrepreneurial qualities?
I have always been a forward thinker, always seeing something for what it could be rather than what it is. My father is hardest working person I know. He taught me that if you want something, you’d better be prepared to work for it. Nothing in life is free; you cannot sit around and wait for things to be different. Be ready to persevere longer than anyone else to be successful.
What kind of support system do you have behind you and your work?
The support is amazing. Everyone in my family is so supportive and proud. My kids are so into helping out and are so mature about understanding when I'm busy. My mom helps me out with the kids when I need it and their father is great at being flexible to work around my events and travels. My boyfriend makes my jewelry stands, assists at setting up and breaking down the events and will spend an entire day with me working festivals and manning crowd control. My friends are amazing, always sharing their favorite pieces on social media.
What is your biggest strength in your role?
The ability to multitask. I can go from closing a jump ring and packaging an order to plating dinner while calling out first-grader spelling words.
What would you say is the skill you most need to improve?
Learning how to say “no.”
Are you involved with any other community organizations or side projects?
I participate in events to assist in raising funds for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund.
What helps you wind down and manage stress?
I enjoy a nice glass of wine in the evenings.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Stay true to who you are. Know and accept the person you are and make choices for how you want to live. Don’t worry what everyone else thinks: live and do what works for you. There is only one you. Own it.
In partnership with: Beyou Jewelry
Created by today's babe, Lacey, Beyou is an emerging Jax jewelry boutique, with deep roots, a bright future and a dedicated following. Voted the Best Jewelry Boutique of 2017 by Jacksonville magazine, the collection is available online and currently in 12 of Jacksonville's local retail shops. Check out the Beyou collection online and receive 20% off your entire order when you use code 'BWH20' at checkout!
*This is an affiliate partnership. That means when you shop using our links and/or promo codes, a portion of your purchase goes right back to us, so we can then roll out some awesome new things for you. Of course, we only promote brands and products we genuinely stand behind and know you babes will enjoy.