Boss Lady - Christy Bourns Ward

Bella Vita launched a blog titled “Boss Lady” in March 2017 - after years of being inspired by the women that we are friends with, work with, or do business with, that are building their empire doing what they love.  Running a business takes work, and getting started takes courage. At Bella Vita, we wanted to take this opportunity to praise and encourage some of the great female entrepreneurs we have met over the years and we hope to inspire more young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs.  


My team and I are reaching out to the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis.  We will start with a brief background, then dive into the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between.


Hi! My name is Christy Bourns Ward. I was born in New Orleans, LA (while my dad was in dental school at LSU) but I moved to Arkansas when I was 1 or 2. I grew up in Benton and majored in Political Science & Journalism at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. After a short stint in Washington, DC, after college I moved to Little Rock where I currently live with my husband, Derek, and our two-year-old son, Henry.

  1. Give us your elevator pitch.  When it comes to designing, life is my toolbox. I draw inspiration from all facets of it – travel, experiences, music, the day-to-day. I believe there’s value in cherishing life’s ups and downs and many detours. I use these inspirations to create jewelry that tells the story of where we’ve been and where we hope to go. For me, great design is a product of the heart as well as the hand.

  2. What is your business?  Robinson Lane Designs - I create hand-stamped jewelry using various metals, vintage components and stones.

  3. When did you start your business? 2002! Crazy that it was 16 years ago. It started as a hobby and I went full-time in 2004.



  4. What inspired you to make the leap? I was working full-time and Robinson Lane became a second full-time job. While I loved my career in marketing, my true passion was design and jewelry. Time-wise, something had to give. I decided to leave my job and pursue design full-time. I gave myself a timeline, set some goals and dove in headfirst.

  5. What helps you get started each morning?  Unsweet iced tea and snuggles with my son! I wish I could say it was exercise but I’m slow-going in the mornings :)

  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business.  I usually start the work day on my computer – updating my social media accounts, responding to email and checking my calendar. I spend the rest of my day fulfilling orders and creating new product. The past year and a half with my son has changed up the way my work day looks. He’s at home with me so I mix in a lot of play time and usually work while he naps.



  7. What keeps you motivated?  Honestly, I love my work so much. I love what I do and consider myself lucky that I get to do it. Designing and creating meaningful pieces brings me so much joy and that joy keeps me motivated.

  8. Describe your dream day.  I love to discover and try new things and my dream day would involve some sort of ‘discovery’. Whether it be exploring a new location, discovering a new favorite food, or learning a new skill. Ideally, my husband and son would be with me!

  9. What is your greatest strength/super power?  My positivity. I’m able to look at the positive in almost any situation and make the best of any circumstance (no matter how challenging or chaotic it may initially seem).



  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? All three! Although, I’m more active on Facebook (facebook.com/robinsonlane) and Instagram (@robinsonlane). I mainly just lurk on Snapchat…

  11. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!) Currently, my favorite way to spend free time is going to the park with my son, Henry. We both love being outside and the change of scenery is good for both of us. I also love reading a good book and getting lost in a great story…

  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? No question, I’d use it to hire an employee or two. For me, the most difficult part of owning my own business is wearing all the hats. Designing, production, photographing, updating the web site, social media, accounting, fulfillment and distribution, ordering supplies, long term planning, etc. It’s a lot. I’ve definitely improved over the years and have gotten in a groove. But, at the same time, I’m not as strong in some areas as I could be. I’d love to be able to focus on my strengths (design and production) and have help with the rest.



  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? Besides jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet – the biggest risk I’ve taken is putting myself in a position to follow my dreams and own my own business. Wouldn’t change any of the successes or challenges for anything…a true growing experience.

  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? My husband will tell you that my weak spot is anything related to accounting/numbers. It’s just not fun or easy for me. To make it more tolerable, I’ve passed that job along to him. :)

  15. How do you handle discouragement?  I’m of the belief that how you handle discouragement is very telling of how successful your business will be. If you learn from it, analyze what went wrong and change your course of action and adapt – you will be successful. If you let it upset you, make you bitter or don’t allow for change – you will have a hard go at being a successful business owner.



  16. Which iconic person inspires you? It’s not one single person but the Female Entrepreneur. I have female friends in all walks of life who are pursuing their creative dream – whether it be film production, design, art, music, health coaching, etc. These women are who inspire me. Hearing their stories, watching them overcome challenges, collaborating and brainstorming with them. This fuels me!

  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? I’ve got two: Micah 6:8 – Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. The second is “Never resign to a typical life.” It’s actually a lyric from ‘Vaporize’ by Broken Bells and it encourages me to be myself, not to settle and to chase my ideas and dreams.

  18. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose? When it comes to my business, I have two mentors: my mom and my husband. Both know me well, know my business and bring great ideas to the table. I wouldn’t be near as sane without them by my side supporting me.



  19. Who are you in your next life? Hopefully still a creative but maybe I’ll know how to play guitar….that’s been a dream of mine!

  20. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business?  Probably not much of a secret but you must be able to adapt and go with the flow when you own a business.

  21. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? I tell everyone that if you have a clear idea and a passion you can make it work! It takes dedication, hard work and motivation – some days will drive you bonkers – but it’s so rewarding and fulfilling. Totally worth the effort it takes…so hang in there.

 


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All Photos By: Saira Khan

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