Jessica Santander overcame many closed doors before she realised her true passion was designing and creating jewellery. Her company Project Moment Designs creates unique jewellery with a different story and meaning behind each piece. I was lucky enough to chat to her about her business, mental health, family and creating the rock star community of PMD.
How did Project Moment Designs start?
My company and jewellery brand originated out of both a lifelong passion project and learning experiences. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve held a deep fascination for the world and art of fashion – the poetic energy and colourful paintings that could be crafted into one powerful moment and ensemble has always ignited a wondrous sensation within my heart. Not to mention, I’ve also always looked up to the fearless and confident style from my mom. Upon graduating with my Master’s Degree, I sought after a career within the fashion/beauty industry in Tampa, Florida. Yet with this fierce focus came many hardships that took a toll on my mental health and confidence. One closed door after another for almost 2 years brought me to what felt rock bottom where I questioned my own worth, potential, and purpose. It wasn’t until I literally asked for my faith to show me how and where to get up and to try again that a new opportunity presented itself. I landed my first full-time job after graduation within the Digital Marketing field! So much excitement, joy, and gratitude had brightened up my days, yet, there was something within my soul that didn’t feel complete – as if I was overlooking a big piece in my heart. After many heart-to-heart talks with my parents and husband, I had a clear vision of which direction I needed to pursue, and that was to launch my own jewellery business grounded on a community platform to motivate, inspire, and support women and girls to chase after their dreams.
This is perhaps the most tangible piece I carried with me when walking into interviews and the moments I recall looking at my bracelets and holding on my necklace to remind me of just how beautiful I am with my knowledge, personality, and story – such pieces helped me to own my moment and believe in myself. With such vivid memories, I knew jewellery was the area to pursue and create life-long treasures for women to express not only their style but also their story and dreams in moments larger than life. With a clear understanding of the meaning I wanted to nurture for my business and brand voice, I took that grand leap of faith and decided to just go for it. Project Moment Designs was launched in a period of 4 months and, as a start-up, it’s been a thrilling journey as we create and establish relationships with so many rock stars. My business name, in and of itself, is a summary of the numerous steps and experiences I personally had to live through to bring this brand to life. “In this project called life, own your moment designed with self-love and utmost confidence, and watch the greatest miracle unfold – You shining and growing into your greatest potential.” All together, Project Moment Designs’ brand voice, jewellery and platform serve as a life-long foundation for our dream clients to re-awaken their imagination and pursue what lights their hearts up.
“I knew jewellery was the area to pursue and create life-long treasures for women to express not only their style but also their story and dreams in moments larger than life.”
What kind of challenges did you face when you started PMD?
When we first started PMD, the number one challenge I faced and continue to deal with is the comparison factor: Is my jewellery good enough? Will anyone care about what our brand stands for and the intangible experience that comes from it? Do I have what it takes to even be an entrepreneur, let alone survive the testing period of the first 3 years? So much doubt plays around in the mind as I read about the success stories and beautiful new collections from fellow entrepreneurs within the fashion industry. Yet, the one thing that has kept me going and going every day is the power of faith. I do truly believe that everything has its timing and purpose. Without having gone through those difficult moments in my life to push me to be doing what I’m doing today, I wouldn’t have had a story to ground the foundation to my brand. The faith I have in nourishing a fearless focus of what I aspire for PMD to become for women and their ambitions is my light to do something extra, whether big or small, every day and bring this brand community to greater heights!
What do you love about making jewellery? What inspires your designs?
To be honest, EVERYTHING! From the moment of brainstorming the emotion, moment, and colour story for our new collections, to seeing our very own rock stars sharing photos of their new jewellery pieces, I seriously have a HUGE cheek-to-cheek smile (along with doing my happy dance). Looking back to when I was a little girl, even 2 years ago, I would’ve never imagined myself in being a jewellery designer. For every piece I create, I hold so much humbleness and gratitude to be able to make a jewellery piece from my heart for another woman to feel ever so remarkable and extraordinarily beautiful. As one may see from our designs, I love to instill a touch of poise with whimsical styles into our jewellery pieces. Style icons such as Kate Spade, Audrey Hepburn, Rebecca Minkoff and many rockstar boss babes who captivate me with their expressions of confidence and self-love all help inspire my designs. Ultimately, I see the PMD woman as one who adores embracing a winsome style, but isn’t afraid to be a risk-taker and unleash her brilliant, bold attitude, all while listening to what her heart wishes for.
Some of the values at PMD are positivity, love for life, hope, imagination, community, family and faith; tell us a bit about how you express these in your products?
From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to instill a life-long commitment of mine as a business owner to ground our core values into our jewellery pieces and brand community. Each value comes together into shaping our voice and creating a lasting impact that goes beyond the purchasing journey with our clients. For instance, love for life and for thyself, bring forth a storytelling platform for our customers to partake with us as we design new collections. Our jewellery, packaging and message serve as a daily reminder of the limitless potential you already have within your heart to take a new leap of faith. As we love shining the light on our fellow rockstars and learning about their greatest aspirations, we always leave little notes of encouragement on various platforms, even featuring them on our monthly blog posts. Ultimately, our core values of faith are what help differentiate us and layout our foundation for our customers to feel valued and, even more so, feel they are a part of a wondrous community.
“Giving back plays a huge part in not only our core values, but also the direction we aspire to grow as a business.”
One of the values of PMD is giving back, why do you think this is important? What kind of organizations have you worked with?
Most certainly, giving back plays a huge part in not only our core values, but also the direction we aspire to grow as a business. Our story comes from living out a humble heart with appreciation for the present blessings, and I’m forever grateful to have been raised in a family where gratitude for having love and support is all that makes a world of a difference. This particular value is also heavily inspired by my mother’s journey as she’s supported unconditionally her family in Brasil up to this day.
Giving back just feels that it’s the right thing to do 200% and mirrors the universal truth that no one makes it from one place to another without the helping hand of another. And, as a business, the rippling effect of giving back in our local community and beyond is a life-long gift itself as I know and feel that someone out there is feeling hopeful, loved, and inspired. Since we launched in December 2018, there have been several organizations that we’ve been able to partner up for various causes. Some have included The Humane Society of Tampa Bay (as we’re huge animal lovers), the faith-based non-profit of Trusting The Process of St. Petersburg, Sol Relief for providing aid to those impacted by Hurricane Dorian, and currently National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc for Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Your work alongside your mum, what is that like?
It just feels like it’s meant to be, you know. My mom and I share a very close bond and I simply admire, love beyond words, applause for everything she is and who she has become. Leaving her home country as a teenager with dreams of providing educational opportunities for her family, while also ensuring I was raised to be a fearless, confident woman, is what makes my mom a forever role model in my eyes. And for the longest time, we both have wanted to start our own businesses together; from handbags to a restaurant, we knew there was something greater out in the universe waiting for us to create together. My mom definitely helps out with keeping me focused on the brand aesthetic, voice and presence we aspire to share with our dream clients because as a start-up there are so many times when comparison to others takes place in my thoughts. Having her to wake me up and bring me back to my zone is the perfect tough love I need haha.Growing together with PMD, I feel just so grateful and excited to chase after this big dream alongside my mom and family. There’s definitely fun moments that we laugh at from brainstorming new pieces to doing markets together – it’s an exciting journey!
What projects do you have coming up for PMD?
There are just so many projects I’d love to bring to life! I always have to tell myself, “just one step at a time.” Since the holidays are coming up, we have a fun collaboration in the making with a local opulent organic skincare brand based out of Tampa (always love coming together with fellow boss babes) as well as our winter and birthday collection! 2020 promises to be an ever-flourishing year as I aspire to spread our wings beyond the digital footprint and into new touch points for our rock stars to pursue the story of their dreams all while feeling fabulously brilliant in our jewellery!
A big thank you to Jessica for taking the time to share her inspiration journey with us! She has been kind enough to give the TDP community free shipping on their first order of Project Moment Designs jewellery when you sign up for the newsletter.
Follow Jessica here for more amazing jewellery content.