Those that know me well, will attest to my love for Tiffany & Co. My adoration for Tiffany’s began just under a decade ago, when I lived in Toronto while attending university. I was fortunate to reside just around the corner from the most luxurious stretch of shops located on Bloor Street.
As I made my way to and from school each day, I would stroll past these shops in awe; however, surviving on a meager student budget, I assumed I would never be able to afford anything they were offering and thus, never ventured inside.
On a June day in 2008, I recall submitting my last paper for the coursework portion of my Master’s degree, and then wandering around for a while, unsure of what to do with my new-found freedom. As I made my way home, I passed those beautiful shops again and then something happened that would truly change my life – I came upon a Tiffany & Company window.
From what I remember, it was a simple window; black velvet, two or three crystal goblets and a few, long strands of pearls, but the way those pearls flowed out of those goblets and across that velvet will be etched in my mind forever.
At the time, the flagship store in Toronto was very simple – covered in what appeared to be polished granite and adorned with a modest, but proud statue of Atlas. I stood at that window for sometime before deciding whether to enter. As I opened the large, heavy doors, it was as though I had walked into a dream.
“Welcome to Tiffany’s”, said a smartly dressed gentleman with a warm smile. I thanked him, as I made my way past pristine glass cases filled with sparkling diamonds and vibrant gemstones. I finally stopped in front of a case that housed a silver medallion etched with a delicate script (this would eventually become my first piece from Tiffany’s). I looked up as a woman with long, dark hair asked me, “may I help you find a special piece?”, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Since that day, Tiffany’s has become such an integral part of my life. I have visited several of their boutiques in different cities and countries, often choosing a special piece to mark the occasion. For the last few years, I have celebrated milestones like my birthday, with a visit to Tiffany’s, and each time I walk through those doors, I feel the same way I did nearly ten years ago.
While I’m sure you know that Tiffany’s produces some of the most exquisite jewelry in the world, did you also know that one can learn a great deal about life from Tiffany’s? Well, I certainly have. In the inaugural post of what will be a reoccurring series on the blog, I offer you the first of the many Lessons from Tiffany and Co.:
Lesson No. 1:
“Great success often comes from humble beginnings and usually does not happen overnight.”
In 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany and his school chum John B. Young, established a small stationary and gift shop in New York City with a vision and a $1000 advance from Tiffany’s father. While the opening day sales grossed a mere $4.38, two years later, Tiffany and Young were still in business, having expanded their wares to include porcelain, cutlery, clocks and you guessed it – jewelry.
While a European design aesthetic reigned at the time, Tiffany and Young took a risk, departing from the norm, and developed a new style. Inspired by the natural world, the two young men committed to patterns of simplicity, harmony and clarity, standards that continue to guide Tiffany’s today.
Fast forward 179 years, and that little shop has turned into over 200 stores, making Tiffany’s one of the most recognizable and successful luxury brands in the world.
You may be wondering what the life lesson is here? Well, the way I see it, the lesson is that great success often comes from humble beginnings. So often, people have dreams and aspirations that never come to fruition, because they don’t feel like that have enough – enough money, enough time, enough strength, enough knowledge, enough (insert excuse here).
What Tiffany’s teaches us is that you do not have to start with “enough” to become something great; all you need is a vision and a little help.
Ok, I lied. To be successful, you also need a great deal of patience because, as Tiffany’s also teaches, success does not happen overnight. The opening day sales for Tiffany’s was less than $5.00, and I am certain that the next day was not much more. In fact, it may have been even less.
If you look at the timeline of any success story, there are ebbs and flows – periods of growth followed by periods of decline. The key is to stay committed to your vision, but be flexible enough to allow that vision to evolve as you do.
This lesson really hit home for me. Last year, I embarked on this blogging journey with a vision and a little (tech) help from my husband. The readership on my first post was small and the next one was even smaller. I began to think I did not have “enough” of whatever it takes to be successful; however, I stayed committed to my vision and continued to write posts that I believed in.
In June of this year (ten months after my debut post), I hit my highest readership to date – almost 2000 beautiful people visited my blog that month. Had I given up on my vision after that first decline, I would have missed out on connecting with all of those wonderful readers.
While I still have a long way to go before I find my yellow diamond, like Charles Lewis Tiffany, I will stay committed to my vision until I do.