Kim Paddon is an award-winning designer and entrepreneur based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Always on top of what’s trendy, she’s been making waves in the city with her constantly evolving, yet faithful to its roots brand. We were lucky enough to touch base with this jet-set boss lady for a quick interview! Keep reading to learn more about Kim and what inspires her:
TWT: Please tell our readers a little about what you do.
Kim: Where to start?! Well, I am the owner & operator of Whink, a boutique in the heart of downtown St. John’s. Whink carries a wide selection of art, jewelry, and things, as well as a large selection of locally designed and handmade product. I also have another company, Sparkes Design! Sparkes Design is a jewelry company that specializes in our provincial mineral Labradorite.
TWT: How did you get started in the business world?
Kim: I started Whink at 22 years old! It’s a fun story! I was away in PEI studying graphic design, and after graduation, I worked in New Brunswick for about a year. Then I decided that I wanted to come home to be closer to family and friends. When I returned home I stumbled upon my dream business in the form of a gift shop!
TWT: What led you to get into jewelry design?
Kim: I have always been creative and artistic, I literally grew up with a paintbrush in my hand and a sketchbook by my side. Whink was about 4 years old when I started playing with the idea of designing jewelry. I had an amazing opportunity to go overseas with a friend who is a fashion designer. That’s when it all began!
TWT: What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your businesses?
Kim: There were many challenges when I started especially at the age of 22. I had a lot of great mentors by my side, thank god! There isn’t really a major one that sticks out in mind, but with very little retail experience I had a lot of mini challenges, definitely have made mistakes and still do. That’s the thing with owning a business, you have daily challenges, but as long as you’re going in the right direction that’s all that matters!
TWT: What has been your key tool to success?
Kim: Taking risks, always believing in yourself and you brand, and ALWAYS trust your gut!
TWT: What and/or who inspires you?
Kim: For Sparkes Design, my biggest source of inspiration is Newfoundland and its natural beauty. For Whink, my biggest source of inspiration is my customers, staff and my business friends/mentors.
TWT: What makes your jewelry different?
Kim: Sparkes Design is different on so many levels! I design all the jewelry in my studio in St. John’s Newfoundland. Our jewelry is distinct, timeless, and one of a kind using semi-precious and exotic stones. Our Dory Blue Collection incorporates our provincial mineral Labradorite, named after Labrador. Each stone has been mined and cut to bring out the full depth of its natural beauty, and carefully set in sterling silver by our amazing team of ninth generation artisans.
I travel to the most amazing place in the world. I work with the most incredible family that has a team of talented artisans that have been working in the gemstone and jewelry trade for generations. Traveling to the edge of the earth to design jewelry and gemstones, and empowering women in the workforce is life changing. Through education, training, healthcare, and investment in life-skills and self-reliance, we are committed to making a difference in the lives of working women as they earn wages and gain independence. By invigorating the art of refining gemstones into beautiful wearable pieces that are then sold across Canada and the world, I am able to share their stories and histories with the world, from one edge to another!
TWT: What advice would you give to somebody getting into entrepreneurship?
Kim: DREAM BIG, always be different, find good mentors, learn from your mistakes
TWT: Describe what it’s like to be your own boss in three words.
Kim: Fun, Scary, Rewarding
TWT: What is your favorite local hotspot?
Kim: Jumping Bean!
TWT: Mine too!
TWT: What is at the top of your bucket list right now?
Kim: Travel to Italy!
TWT: Do you have a fave quote or words to live by?
Kim: SO many! These are the ones that are my absolute FAVE: “Big ideas have small beginnings,” “Celebrate all the little wins,” and “Be where you are”
I am so inspired by Kim and all that she does. I was blown away to find out that she started Whink at 22 years old, and after publishing last week’s article, 22 Things To Do Before 22, I was even more touched by her accomplishments.