When I was a child, I never knew what I wanted to Be when I grow up. And when I grew up, I still did not have any specific vocation. I admire children who know exactly what they like and what they want to Be. They are privileged. I knew that I needed a Creative activity that would enable me to develop my inner World, my Ideas, my Thoughts… but I could not find it. Nothing attracted me. What should I do with my Life?!
Just imagine, I did not know what I wanted to Be, and it was that bad that I chose to study economics when completing my secondary education…Yes, precisely the career most of us choose by elimination. Moreover, I chose to pursue that career at a school where only four years instead of five were required and where it was not necessary to study during one year out of the four because the studies were replaced by professional training. I did not feel like studying, I found it boring. Now I would love to have Time to do it… and to study the things I am Truthfully interested in.
I became initiated in the world of Jewellery simply because I did not know what I wanted to Be… and because it literally fell down on me from the Sky. My Father had been one of the most important wholesalers of Precious Stones in Spain during the 70s and, at the end of that decade, for personal reasons and due to health issues, he had to switch careers… although he had a real Passion for it, he sacrificed it for his Family. This is what he demonstrated when he became Free to choose his profession: In 1994 he re-opened the business and I, recently graduated and lost as usual, but attracted by the Beauty of Precious Stones and by High Jewellery, got into the business with a keen interest to Learn and Succeed.
Who better than a Father to teach you the ropes of the business… and this is exactly what occurred. There was not a single day I worked less than 10 hours a day to try and make the company grow. I got involved with all my Senses and acted as though it was a personal Challenge. I shouldered a bunch of sample jewels and covered the northern half of Spain in order to open up a market…Every night I slept at a different hotel and never drove less than 100/150 kilometres a day…I gave it all. But the strategy of the company did not work in addition to the fact that my personality and ambition collided head-on with the caution, fears and experience of my Father: He had a lot to lose and little to gain, while I had nothing but a head full of Dreams... and where the captain rules, the sailor has no sway.
So, after 4 years of intense work, I decided to take different directions and, thanks to the financial aid of my Father to kick-start my business (my small salary during those 4 years had not allowed me to save), I started another professional activity, which I frankly prefer not to mention, as I ended up losing friends and money after 3 years… Although I have to say that it indeed brought me endless maturity and experience. We always learn a lot more from bad Experiences than from good ones.
Once again wondering what to do with my Life?! I was still living with my parents at 31 years of age and had no capital whatsoever. I was mentally tired, exhausted: These had been 3 extremely harsh years, experiencing one disappointment after another…and the only Positive thing being that I managed to emerge debt-free after some very tough three-party negotiations and financial aid coming my way in the form of a loan from my Friend Walter. I perfectly remember the day I signed the last document that would get me out of this phase: Immediately after signing before a notary in Seville, I just ran out of there. I came down 3 flights of stairs at great speed and, as soon as I reached the street, I kept on running up to the spot where I had parked my car and, after 2 hours of non-stop driving, I finally got home. I actually managed to repay the whole loan to my Friend Walter.
They were missing me in the Family business and I was asked to Come back. It was the easiest Path and I took it…But the situation had not changed and I felt tied hand and foot when it came to making my Dreams come true. I worked for a year as I had done over the last 7 years, giving all and demanding more from myself than from others… Always having lunch at the office in order not to stop working…in order not to waste Time… in order to progress faster…in order to try and move the company forward… and in order to keep myself moving forward along with the company… but the economic situation in Spain was not helpful either… and I was feeling every day more and more disappointed… with my Life.
On New Year’s Eve 2001, everything started to change. I had arranged to meet my Friend, Borja Bellod (coincidentally the same person, who is in charge of designing the Me&Mylife website) in order to have dinner at his place, get ready to go out and party afterwards. At 00:00, while he and another Friend were swallowing 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight (a Spanish tradition that supposedly brings luck), I was in the shower, my hands against the wall and my eyes shut... not caring less about the grapes, the 12 carillon bells… and the bad luck that not following the tradition would supposedly bring me. At this very moment I decided that my Life had to change and that, if I was not Happy on this Path, I had to look for a way of being Happy by taking a different one. 3 months later, I moved in with my Fiancée (now my Wife) and 5 months later I waved goodbye to the business of my Father.
At this stage, quite a few of you probably think: “Oh dear, poor little thing!… secondary education, university, Family business, Living at his Parents’ place at 31, money raining down from the Sky to kick-start another professional activity, back to the Family business… many wished they had so much Luck!!!”. And yes indeed, you are utterly right… Although I had worked for 8 years like a slave with no results, I realized that, in spite of it all, I had always been extremely lucky. But how come I was not Happy then?
Well actually, because of it all: Because even though I had all these Opportunities, I did not Feel I had reached my full potential. I knew I was capable of achieving a lot more and I needed to give it a try. Therefore, from the time I became independent and moved into this rented 1 room apartment that had no more than 40 m2 and being under pressure of having only € 2,000 in my pocket, I spent 15 days tossing and turning to figure out how I could survive. I had to act fast, I did not have a lot of time.
The Only thing that was clear to me was that I wanted to try to do something related to the world of Jewellery and Precious Stones. And it was then that, plucking up all my Courage and with nothing to lose, I caught a flight to Antwerp (Belgium) to try and find a company that would help me, that would entrust me with merchandise at a fair price I could sell with a small profit margin… A company that would trust me. My speech was short and straight to the point: "I really want to work, but I have no money to buy merchandise.” When you are in a situation of absolute despair and badly need something (there was no more financial aid from my family… ), your eyes convey this to perfection and the person in front of you, if that person is clever, get it at once. The five companies I visited opened their doors to me… some more than others… and each of them in a Different way… but the person, who saw himself reflected in me and trusted the glimmer in my Glance from the very first second was Roger Van Goubergen. I will always Feel indebted to him, his son Jan and his wife Maria and will always be grateful to them.
I left Antwerp destination Marbella with $ 100,000 worth of diamonds and feeling very much afraid of disappointing Roger. I still remember that I told him “Roger, maybe I won’t sell anything.” and he replied, "Don’t worry, do your best.” I took an insurance policy that I could comfortably afford by paying in monthly rates. I turned a corner of my apartment into my ‘office’: A table against the wall bought at a reduced price from my Friend Marcos, a safe that cost me € 200, which I placed under the table, a fax payable by instalments, my ‘brick-like’ mobile phone (I still have the same cell phone number) and my car with a mileage of 250.000 kilometres. I got down to work on July 1, 2002.
Blessed Decision… From the very first day business went well… I could not believe it… I shed tears of Joy when I was by myself…Although I never could never quite believe it… no precaution was too small to be omitted and I worked non-stop from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m… sometimes even until 11 p.m… There was no set time for eating and I worked every Saturday till 3 p.m., all Saturdays without exception. Every Sunday night, I spent a couple of hours preparing for the week. No Friend of mine understood this. But why would I take it easy when business was starting to go well after 8 bitter years in business?? 2 years later, I rented an office, which I later bought. 3 years later, I hired Inma to lend me a hand (we still work together). 4 years later, I set up a Jewellery workshop that started with Sandra, who came from Germany (we still work together). In the following year, André, her boyfriend at the time and now husband, joined the team and later on Javi (an amazing gem setter) as well as Santi (bless him). All of them still belong to the team. In 2010, I rented the next door office, which I later bought, and transformed it into the best Jewellery Showroom in Marbella (https://delafuentefinejewellery.com) and Adrian, who used to work for Cartier, joined the team and became manager. At a later date, Sofia and Eva (the three of them are still in the business) joined the team. We remember the others and miss them: Frank, Miguel and Manolo.
Although the recession has affected us since 2008, sales never went down. During several years they remained stable, as the Team had always been working extremely hard. We did, and still do, take great Pride in the Showroom and clients have always been loyal and keep being loyal to me… but since 2012 I felt the need for new Challenges and I began developing Ideas in my mind that I could try to launch on a global scale… What could I do that others were not doing? What could I invent? What could I produce that could be understood on the 5 Continents? What was I particularly good at? What were my skills? A great many Ideas occurred to me… some more sophisticated than others… but my great Friend, Vlad Yavorskyy, was the one who would make sure I would come down to Earth. And looking into my Eyes, as only he can do, he said to me one day: “Stop looking at others and what others are doing. Do not waste your Time with others. Follow your Heart and allow yourself to be carried away by it. Do things as you like, as you Feel they should be”. And I realized that he was utterly right immediately after he made this comment during one of our unmissable lunch appointments in Hong Kong. Vlad is a genius
And one day a spark flied!!!!!! Boom!!! And a Concept occurred to me… that would start with the Idea to Create bracelets that would speak of Ourselves in a Deep and Sincere way. Colorful bracelets that would be easy to wear and express our Feelings and our Attitudes towards Ourselves and Others. An accessory that both Women and Men and as much Children as Grown-ups would wear. An object that would have a Value, not just for being a Jewel, but for what it means, for the Respect and Admiration for what it represents. No sun or crown… but something much more sophisticated: Miniature sculptures in 3 dimensions representing scenes that convey a Feeling, an Emotion, a Yearning or an Attitude that defines Ourselves or a Loved one (Thank you, Ismael, for your artistic talent, your technical contribution and your patience with the machinery).
And the Idea kept on evolving over the years. And there came Victoria (the girl, who has wings instead of arms), who is our Soul, and Viktor, who represents our Character (The Lion)… and Stories were developed to get people to understand better the phrase that we assign to each Feeling or Attitude. And the Stories became comics (Thank you, Cristina, for your Sensibility)… and the comics gave rise to descriptive/reflective pieces of writing… And new characters appeared: A Wolf (The Independent), a Bear (Perseverance), a Horse (The Nonconformist), a Koala (Innocence), an Elephant (Remembrance), a Snake (The Custodian of Our Secrets), a Warrior (The Fighter)…
What a lovely project for such a small Team!… What a shame that we could not develop it 24 hours a day… that it was not possible as we finance ourselves and depend on keeping our businesses, Jewellery Workshop and Showroom, operating… on keeping making a profit… and to achieve this, I must keep on dedicating at least 8 hours a day to both businesses…which leaves me with only 2 or 3 hours a day ‘free’ to progress in making this Dream come true, apart from the weekends, such as today which is a Saturday (Thank you my love and thanks to my little girls for understanding). Moreover, apart from the Creative process, plenty of Control and plenty of Order in the implementation of the organizational systems are necessary, which would not have been possible without Olga. Spasiva Olga! And plenty of Imagination in the production processes (Thanks to you Javi and Dani for your dedication and enthusiasm). Thank you so much to the other co-workers, such as Erwan, Nacho, Laura Parias, Jacobo, Laura, Alfonso. Thanks for all the help you have given us.
No, it did not fall down on me from the Sky this time… Behind it all, there is a lot of Time invested, a lot of Sacrifice, a lot of Work… and also a great deal of Satisfaction. My Wish is for this project to work and for me to be able to develop it just in the way I have thought it out in my mind… But even if I do not succeed, I will always remember it as the best thing that ever happened to me in Life after the birth of my two Daughters.
I believe that I will offer to myself a “Proud of you” ;))
P.S.: I don’t follow the 12 grapes tradition on New Year's Eve since 2001;))
Ps2, 20th July 2.019:
Life is a non-stop adventure …
As this is a project that began developing in September 2014 and for which we have postponed the launch date on more than 6 occasions… the first one in October 2017, certain things have changed and I must mention them out of consideration for reality and for the protagonists of our company’s recent history.
I wrote my “Who we are” almost 3 years ago already, and later on the Jewelry workshop was completely dismantled: Sandra and Andrée left the Jewelry profession altogether and rebuild their professional lives in their native country, and Javi Torres left us to reencounter with his passion, jewelry setting. We miss the three of them, and particularly Sandra, who was always a strong, clever woman, with her own criteria and no desire to conceal them. We long for the three of you a lot.
However, whenever a window closes, others open, and we are now extremely proud to have Master Hugo and the obliging Chemi among us.
New colleagues have also joined the Me&MyLife team: Daniel P., Daniel T., Joel, María, Sofía and Aline. Thank you all, because without you, we would not have succeeded.
Welcome everybody !!
What does "Me&MyLife” mean for me?
The answer is easy; when I lost my job and decided to redirect my career, I chose to devote myself to 3D Sculpture and Design during 3 tough years of study. All of this, without the support of most of my Family.
At Me&MyLife I was given the opportunity to demonstrate my skills and knowhow in addition to acquiring new skills for my professional future.
"What is exciting for you is not tiring, but this does not mean that the road is not tough.”
When seeing your own reflection in a mirror, have you ever have stared into your own eyes and during a few seconds had the feeling you were watching a stranger?
Me&MyLife has taught me that this stranger standing in front of the mirror is the real Me, my essence, free of complexes and prejudice, self-assured and capable of doing anything, if I put my mind to it.
Do thoughts and wishes ever come true? YES!!
One day as I was leafing through a local fashion and entertainment magazine, I noticed an advertisement for a Jewelry brand located in Puerto Banús. The photos had so much glamour, elegance and luxury that they left me fascinated. I thought that it would be an honor to work for that company.
Two weeks later I had an interview for a personal assistant position.
And just imagine my surprise when that same company, which advertisements I admired so much, offered me a job in a new and fantastic Jewelry project!
I accepted blindly! I joined the team of Me&MyLife in 2014 and I am very proud of it.
In spite of the variety of jobs that I have performed during my life, Me&MyLife offered me the opportunity to show my capabilities.
In spite of the fact that I had been with the company for a short time, I was entrusted with setting up a team and a department, which thanks to all the overcome obstacles have made us grow as a team and as persons, giving us the possibility of fulfilling our goals in life.
“A warrior does not renounce what he loves, but finds love in what he does."
Thanks to having this opportunity to belong to the MML team, I learn new things every day and this helps me get a little closer to my goals.
"Team meeting is the beginning.
Keep being a team means progressing.
Working as a team ensures success.”
Me&Mylife = Stroke of luck
I joined this team in 2015 and almost inmediately felt as if I had a stroke of luck after having a negative experience in the past. The world of jewellery is beautiful and interesting in all its aspects. Our staff is formed by a group of higly intelligent, creative, motivated, beautiful and cheerful people.
I am definitely happy to be part of Me&Mylife team.
“Whatever happens, happens for the best”
With Me&MyLife I have learned that, in spite of the inconveniences and obstacles that you may have to face, it is necessary to work and fight as a team, striving every day to achieve progress and be successful in your life project.
“Never dream about success. WORK FOR IT.”
Newly arrived here, my journey of self-discovery took me away from home. In Me&MyLife I feel I am in the right place, at the right time and with the right people.
The pursuit of what makes our hearts happy is not always easy, but it has been rewarding.
I am very happy to be part of this team and this project that takes so much Soul and Positivity.