Earlier last week, we had the privilege of interviewing Birgit Grossmann Coles, CEO of Simbi® of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Birgit tells us all about the jewelry industry, how she designs her pieces, tips for new entrepreneurs and so much more.
Good morning Birgit, thank you for joining me, let’s get right into the thick of things here –
What’s the story behind Simbi?
Simbi® was founded in 2013 by Birgit Grossmann Coles and Haiti native, Lori Manuel Steed, who decided to launch the company after experiencing the devastating results of the 2010 earthquake. We saw the need for Haitians to have access to clean water and in doing so realized that job creation and sustainability were as important. Creating inexpensive accessories seemed to be the quickest way to get money back to Haiti as soon as possible.
Did you always want to own your own business? If so, did you always want to have your own fashion business?
As I was full in mommy mode for so many years, it never really crossed my mind to have my own business. It happened by sheer coincidence that my kids were old enough to fend for themselves when I started this business with my friend Lori. I certainly had no intentions of going into the fashion business, but always had an eye for it.
Where do you see Simbi Haiti in 5 years? 10 years?
I see Simbi as a name in which people will recognize and associate all the good and positive energy that comes from Haiti. I also see Simbi partnering up with a larger corporation to help us get bigger and stronger in order to make a real impact in the lives of Haitian's.
How do you come up with the designs for your pieces? Do you use certain trends?
As my partner and creative director says, we get it from just being aware of our surroundings. It’s a natural instinct for the both of us to fell what is and will be popular in the coming seasons. We also try to find materials unique to Haiti, which gives Simbi it’s edge in the highly competitive accessories market.
You’re very successful for a young business owner, what would you say to anyone looking to start their own business or jewelry line?
Patience, a willingness to listen, and of course obsessive work ethic.