Ariadne Kapelioti is a scientist by training but always had a keen eye for design. A decade ago she decided to switch gears and use her Physics degree to start a jewelry brand. But her designs aren’t a complete departure from her previous career. Her pieces at her eponymous line Ariadne Kapelioti are all 3D printed and explore the relation between form and mathematics; her earrings, bracelets and necklaces look like modernist sculptures, incorporating traditional materials in untraditional ways. Today the Thessaloniki, Greece-based entrepreneur is happy to have built a loyal base of customers and to have founded the very first 3D jewelry company in Greece.
Kapelioti‘s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
Having a background in Physics as well as art and design, I consider myself a scientist-turned-artist or a designer with a scientific approach. Therefore, my reason for starting was the aim to combine my passion for science and design, which may appear to be two conflicting subjects, however, they have fundamental similarities. Both disciplines require creativity, patience, research, inspiration and hard work. A keen interest in the creative process has led me towards extensive research and development into jewelry construction via 3D printing and a greater multidisciplinary design philosophy.
How do you define success?
Success is very subjective and personal. Even though I set goals, I always keep pushing myself so I never reach a point where I feel topped out. There’s always more room to learn and grow. I have come to find that the most fulfilling way to define personal success is to do it at every step along the way. Overall, my own definition of success is to wake up with a smile every day.
Tell us about your biggest success to date
Other than having built a list of beautiful loyal customers, my biggest success is to overcome the genuine difficulties a small business owner faces on a daily basis. Such as to find the right balance between working long hours and enjoying life, or to create a situation where my business can continue in my absence.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
As mentioned, I founded the first Greek jewelry brand embracing advanced 3D printing technology. That was about a decade ago, when consumers and buyers were not familiar with the concept of additive manufacturing. As a result, introducing high quality 3D printed jewelry to the Greek public took a lot of time and patience. This is the top challenge I faced to date as a designer as well as a business owner.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Follow your plan and your dreams with total confidence at all times.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I love listening to David Bowie.
Who is your most important role model?
Gloria Steinem is my most important role model. An acclaimed journalist, pioneering feminist, and one of the most visible, passionate leaders and spokeswomen of the Women’s Rights Movement. Throughout her lifetime, she is battling for women to take their rightful place, side by side with men. I look up to Gloria Steinem for being ahead of her time and strongly standing by her beliefs.