Donna Fox, Crow Steals Fire, The Story ExchangeYour Name: Donna Fox

Business Name: Crow Steals Fire, a handmade jewelry maker

Type of Business: Clothing & Accessories/Artisan Jewelry

Business Location: Saint Louis, Missouri, United States

Twitter   @dlkfox

Reason for starting
I started my business on a lark, but I don’t do anything halfway. My personal mantra is if you’re going to do something, you do it right. My original venture of selling a few bracelets at a craft fair has evolved into a skilled product line with a voice.

How do you define success?
It pleases me greatly when someone likes my jewelry. I love it when a piece speaks to someone. And I really enjoy making money from the sales of the jewelry I create. But a metal artist I know once said he measured success by how full his pantry was — it may not be steak but it’s not all ramen. That struck a chord with me, because I really do believe it’s the simple things that define success: happiness (my own and my family’s), being able to pay our bills, and doing things we enjoy as individuals and as a family.

Biggest Success
My biggest success is creating a self-sustaining business that has given me the opportunity to expand my skills in metalsmithing. To have the opportunity to keep learning new techniques and to continue to improve and grow means the world to me.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My biggest challenge is time. There’s a time for multitasking and a time for focused work. The challenge is not letting other tasks intrude on my workbench time where I need more concentration — and where I actually make my products. Not letting the marketing, the planning, the accounting, the search for supplies get in the way of what I am actually doing, which is making jewelry. I’ve countered this with reminding myself of the quote from Terry Pratchett: “You do the job that is in front of you.” It’s amazing how that little sentence helps me focus on what I am doing at that moment. The to-do list will always be there, and I am so much more productive when I can focus on one task.

Who is your most important role model?
I am inspired by many people. Each person I admire has influenced me in different ways. While no one person stands out as most important, it is their combined entrepreneurial spirit that I find the most energizing.