As we continue to feature inspiring women on our blog, it's only fitting to write a post dedicated to the woman who started it all. Elsa Vos, the founder of Pieces of Me, turned a college graphic design project into something much much bigger. With the combination of her creativity, determination, and entrepreneurship, Elsa has began to build her empire.
TELL US HOW PIECES OF ME BEGAN!
Pieces of Me truly began back in college, my junior year and stemmed from a Graphic Design project. For this project I decided to analyze my personality through my friends and family. I asked them to pick out which personality traits they saw in me. I took those traits, compiled the data and came up with my most dominant traits. From there I designed a visual set of icons, and each design was created to represent each personality trait. After creating the set of icons I put them together in a reflective pattern. This was a life changing experience for me. In college, like many others can probably relate to, it’s hard to know exactly who you are as a person, and what your identity truly is. I was going through some tough things in my life at the time and had a pretty toxic friendship that was taking over who I really was. This project and this pattern gave me a sense of freedom. When I saw the traits that people saw in me it was a HUGE confidence boost, and gave me so much strength to see hey the closest people in my life think I’m creative, and hardworking etc. It made me realize how I was made unique, that I do have these qualities people appreciate about me.
The entrepreneurial spirit in me said how can I share this with others? How do I allow others to feel the same sense of freedom, and feeling of love and appreciation. That is when Pieces of Me was born.
It evolved into a jewelry line as a way to let individuals truly wear who they are, and share their unique personality with the world.
WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY?
DETERMINED: I’ve been told that I’m extremely tenacious and determined. Others might say that I’m stubborn, and yes they couldn’t be more right. While being stubborn and determined can be a negatively quality it is also that exact character trait that keeps me on this entrepreneurial path and growing the business each and every day. When I want something I go after it I stay extremely determined until I meet what ever goal it is I set my mind to.
CREATIVE: I’ve always been creative, since I was very young. When I was a little girl I always wanted to grow up and be an artist, then it was an art teacher, and then in high school I knew I wanted to go into Graphic Design and that’s exactly what I did. I believe that being creative isn’t always necessarily what it means in the traditional sense when people think of the word, I think it runs much deeper than that. It is about observation. I’m a much more introverted person, an observer. I take in the world around me, and have a natural curiosity about things, I think I’m creative in the way that I problem solve and approach a challenge. Being a creative individual is at the very center of who I am.
LEADER: This is a newer character trait for me that I feel like I continue to grow in each day. I never thought I’d grow to have such a passion for leadership and mentorship. I started an intern program, and through that I’ve grown such a passion to lead. It brings me so much joy to mentor and help someone else in the best way that I know how. I’ve had a few people approach me and tell me how inspirational it Is to see me and what I’m doing. It’s those moments where it hits me sometimes, like wow what I’m doing is really impacting people’s lives around me which is a really great feeling.
AMBITIOUS: I think that any entrepreneur has to be very ambitious. They have to be hungry and driven to keep striving for the best, or to reach that next goal. Building a business is hard, really hard. It takes everything you have and more. I feel like if I wasn’t a very ambitious person by nature it would be very difficult for me to stay motivated to work towards building this business every day.
YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY VERY CREATIVE, WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT CREATIVITY STEMS FROM?
Like I said I think that I’ve always been that way and it is the center of who I am. When people talk about being heavily left brained or right brained, I’d say I’m one of those people that is so far on the creative and visual side of things. I’m an observer, I see things in composition in the way the different objects relate to one another. Being a graphic designer has pushed me to be creative, but it’s being creative with a purpose. Approaching a challenge and deciding what is the best way to visual communicate something. I’m not great at making small talk or communicating verbally, but give me a design challenge and I’m all in to communicate visually to the best of my abilities. Tying back to Pieces of Me designing our set of icons was one of the biggest design challenges to do that had to be solved in a very creative process.
WHY IS ENCOURAGING OTHERS TO BE INDIVIDUAL AND UNIQUE SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?
This is important to me because I believe it is something that we all struggle with at one point in our lives. Who are you? What makes you different, what is your true identity? There are a lot of pressures out in society and social media has made it even easier to play the comparison game. Leaving a lot of us to feel inadequate, that we need to dress better, decorate our house better, our children need to be more put together, that we need to have our own business, that we need look a certain way, act a certain way and be a certain way. Instead I want to give people a little piece of positivity among all of those pressure to remember that they DO have strengths, and UNIQUE personality that they need to remember and embrace. When the pieces are given as a gift it is a reminder that they love and cherish you for who you are.
This brand started out as my journey and my business idea, but it has turned into so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. I hear customer stories and testimonials about how our pieces have made an impact in their lives, and that is truly what keeps me motivated each day. I’ve realized that there is greater purpose here at work then just me building this business. I can’t wait to see where God takes me on this journey and how Pieces of Me may impact many more individuals lives.
WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL GOAL FOR PIECES OF ME?
My overall goal for Pieces of Me is for it to become a nationalized brand. One of those brands you know and love that will always be there. I want to spread positivity, encouraging others and reminding them of their strengths near and far in the US and beyond. I want to impact as many individuals as I can. I can’t answer what the future looks like exactly, but I can tell you that I want to build a national brand that revolves around individuality and embracing who you are. I can’t answer what jewelry pieces we will sell years from now, or if we’ll have apparel or accessories, but I can tell you that the brand itself will remain true to who we are.
We want to inspire others, spread positivity, and celebrate everyone’s unique personality across the globe.
WHAT ENCOURAGMENT WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE ASPIRING TO BE AN ENTREPENUER?
My biggest encouragement to someone aspiring to be an entrepreneur would be to say make sure you are 110% passionate and committed to what you are doing. It may look glamorous at times, but I’m here to tell you it’s not easy. It’s really really hard, so the only thing that is going to get you through is your passion and commitment to whatever venture you pursue. That being said when you do pour your passion into your business, you will look back on it and have so much joy in what you’ve created. My other piece of advice would be something I’m still learning how to do, but it’s to embrace and celebrate the little moments. It is so easy as an entrepreneur to always be focused on the future and where you want to be then where you are right now in this moment. It’s important to take the time to celebrate all the little successes along the way, and pat yourself on the back every once in a while! You deserve it!
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