Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Meet Maddy Barber (Madly Gems)
Meet Maddy Barber, the founder of Madly Gems. Both Maddy Barber and Madly Gems have been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Promising SME500 Awards 2018, Singapore Women’s Weekly, Asia One, Weekender Singapore, Ladyboss.Asia, Singapore Tatler, Her World Singapore, Robb Report, Curated Edition, iFitness Singapore, Singapore Brides, The Peak Magazine, Lifestyle Asia, Vanilla Luxury, House of Coco.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I am Maddy Barber, the founder of MADLY.
MADLY is a multi-award winning bespoke jewellery house that specialises in coloured gemstones. We never shy away from bold colours and unconventional pairings because we think fine jewellery is meant to be fun, always! Likewise, even though we pride ourselves on only working with the top 0.1% of gemstones, we make it a point to offer an experience which is personal, tailored to the customer, and luxurious but completely unintimidating. Whichever occasion you want to commemorate, or success you want to celebrate, we can make it MADLY meaningful.
What got you started on your business?
Jewellery is (one of) the most personal things you can own. Growing up, I’d silently coveted my mom’s jewellery collection which is a mix of diamond and coloured gemstone jewels. I wasn’t too sure of the way they were set and so when I was able to buy my own jewellery, I wanted each piece to reflect who I was: my style, my story, my statement– elements of myself which shift with the different phases of life. I found that traditional jewelers didn’t and still don’t offer many choices of stones or design, and the pieces offered in the market were quite run-of-the-mill. So, to cut the long story short, I started a jewellery business to satisfy my own need for top-quality gemstones and unique designs that focused on fine craftsmanship and artisanship. Apparently, many feel the same way too and so, here we are!
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full time basis?
Was a radio DJ and still am! I love both vocations and as long as I can keep doing them both, I will. Also, being an employer and employee at the same time keeps me grounded and in touch with clients and staff alike. Hopefully this makes me a better boss because I know exactly what employees think and say behind their bosses back all the time! 😛
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
Learning to deal with adversity and overcoming obstacles IS life! Accepting that this is the way things will always be, no matter who you are and what you do, is the first step to overcoming future challenges. Be 2 steps ahead, anticipate the worst, but always hope for the best!
What is your vision / personal motto?
My motto has always been to work to your strengths; find them and use them everyday. There are many things a person wants to do and can do, but when you play to your strengths, you take it to a whole new level where you have the power to make an impact on a much larger scale. I hope that as MADLY grows, we will be able to help develop talents in other areas of the business, apart from design, but also in the diminishing trades like gem-cutting and craftsmanship.
Who inspires you?
I’ve never been able to answer this question because it changes along the way, depending on the phase of my life, and I’ve had many!
Do you have any word of advice for other ladies who are starting their business / starting to pursue their dream?
Success is doing what you love on your own terms and it doesn’t necessarily mean having your own business. Being ‘boss’ often involves doing a lot of mundane, day-to-day things that no one enjoys; there is nothing glamorous about it. But if it’s your calling, then be sure to build a good and united team which has a vested interest in the success of your business. To do that, be the boss YOU would’ve liked to have; don’t sweat the small things and whatever chip you may have on your shoulder, get rid of it!
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
I help ladies feel confident by encouraging them to buy and wear what THEY like and to care less about what other people think. Some established career women come in, fall in love with big gems (which they can well afford!) but are shy about buying and wearing them because they think other people might find them too ‘showy’. But you should feel free to wear and love whatever you want, especially since you’ve earned it! There’s definitely a sense of empowerment in being able to walk into our studio and picking out a piece for themselves without needing to wait for a man to buy it for them! We love making right-hand rings, and we hope you feel a boost of confidence wearing them.
What excites you most about your industry?
I guess it depends on what you consider MADLY’s industry to be! While yes, we sell fine jewellery, we’re in a niche sector of ‘rare coloured gemstones’, which is relatively unknown to a large section of Singaporean society who are more familiar with the traditional ‘Big 4’ (Diamonds, Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire). This puts us in the position to educate and share our love and knowledge for the gems and jewels that Mother Nature has to offer! It’s absolutely crazy that these gems have been in the earth for millions of years, but Tanzanite, a luscious purplish-blue gem was only discovered in the 60s. Who knows what else we’ll find?
Because MADLY is a bespoke jewellery house, the experience and journey of crafting a piece that was made just for you is just as important as the end product. We are constantly refining our process so that we can help you encapsulate the most poignant moments of love and life, for you to keep close to heart every day.
What do you do in your free time as self care? How do you unwind?
Television is my meditation. I also exercise (a little) and take naps whenever I can!
Let us know more about what you do!
Meaningful, colourful, free and feminine — our jewellery pieces survive the Marie Kondo effect and can’t help but spark joy.
Connect with Madly Gems!
Are you a Fempreneur too?
Connect with us – we’d love to feature you! Say hi to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us via our social media.
Read TLC x Fempreneur Series:
- Charlyn Ding, Om & Away
- Shireena, Sheens Image Consulting
- Angelina Tan, BeauLab
- Marine Lim, Absolute PR
- Rina Lee, Rina Lee Jewellery
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Nadia, HelloBello (Malaysia)
- Zairin Azman, UMMA
The rest of the Fempreneur interviews can be found here.