Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie McMillan.
Hi Natalie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
In the summer of 2016, I set up a jewelry bench in my mom’s incredibly hot garage after graduating from college with a Studio Arts degree. In my final semester, a college counselor reminded me that I hadn’t taken enough electives, and my options at that point were between glass blowing (yes, I’m serious) or jewelry making. As a ride or die jewelry girl since the day I hopped out of the womb, it was an easy choice. While I learned a lot about jewelry making in college, I am mostly self-taught. The business aspect of my career has been 100% self-taught, refined by trial and (lots of) error. As I began to build my brand, I thought about all the other things I loved and had loved forever. Candles and perfumes were another obvious choices for me, as I was always the girl who was getting asked what perfume I was wearing. And the truth was, I was always mixing a bunch of different fragrances together to get my perfect scent. So being able to cut through all the mixology and simply make my own perfume was really a dream! After the unexpected success of my first perfume, Blood Sugar Baby, I realized that my brand was my oyster and that I could really create whatever I wanted – leading me to where I am now, making things from jewelry to homewares and everything in between.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Oh hell no. Like most entrepreneurs and people working in a creative field, it has not been easy. Making a name for yourself in a market saturated with a million different brands offering the same types of things as you sometimes feels impossible, but I am known for my tenacity and resilience, and if I set my mind to something, I’m gonna make it happen in some capacity. With that being said, there have been many moments along the way that have required me to pivot. For example, during the pandemic, the prices of gold absolutely skyrocketed, and I had to make the move from solid gold to gold-plated jewelry in order to be more inclusive and accessible to my customers. It’s all about winding with the road instead of being thrown by the curves.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Man, “what do you do?” has been a hard question for me to answer as of late. I feel like what I’m trying to do, at least, is create a career for myself that allows me to do all the things that I love doing. I mean, aren’t we all? But for me, what that career entails is something that includes artistic expression, the empowerment of others (particularly women), fun, and community. Through my brand, I am able to artistically express myself in so many ways – but I am probably best known for my jewelry and my perfumes. My best friend Corinne and I also host a podcast together called Am I Doing This Right? where we have been so blessed to have a platform to share knowledge that is empowering to so many. Through social media, I have been able to create a little community of girls and gays who I think are the coolest, kindest group of people. And throughout everything I do, I guarantee I’m having fun with it. Without fun, what’s the point? Maybe having all of these different aspects going on is what sets me apart from others. Or maybe it is my willingness to be extremely open and vulnerable with people? I really don’t know if I’m being honest, but I am so grateful that little by little, I’m doing the damn thing.
We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Luck is something that I’ve always found so fascinating. I even designed a lucky charm necklace and have a lucky penny tattooed on my arm. It’s all relative, isn’t it? For example, I feel insanely lucky that I’ve been in the position to build my brand in the way that I have and that I get to live in a city that is so supportive of artists and creatives. I see myself as a very lucky person. But someone else might look at me and be like, “Girl, you have Type 1 Diabetes and mad anxiety and clinical depression, that’s not very lucky.” Which I guess it isn’t, but I think we create our luck by focusing on the things that make us feel lucky and not letting what is unlucky throw us too far off course.
- Website: shopnataliemcmillan.com
- Instagram: @nataliemcm @shopnataliemcmillan @amidoingthisrightpod
- Other: natalie-mcmillan.com