A jewellery and accessories lover with a vision, Caroline Néron is about to conquer the world. Néron has had careers as an actress, a singer, and a business owner. Her name is abuzz across Quebec and her force has now reached our neighbours across Canada with a new retail location in the West Edmonton Mall.

 

Caroline Néron

Photographer: Maxime Leduc Makeup and hair: Julie Saint Laurent

Most people recognize Caroline Néron as the face of her own jewellery and accessories brand, having seen the bubbly blond in ad campaigns wearing layers of necklaces, and with wrists decked in arm candy. What is less known is that she began her career as an actress and a singer, a path that was deviated by a trip to Vegas along with a motorcycle accident, both of which inspired her to change course.

 

The initial idea for a business came to Néron while she was in Vegas in 2004 looking at jewellery. As someone who invested so much into her own stage accessories, this wasn’t foreign territory. She jumped in as a born entrepreneur with a strong passion for accessories and a strong eye for detail. In a flash, she hired a designer, booked an appointment with Les Ailes de la Mode, and launched a 30-piece jewellery collection within three weeks, all while balancing her acting and singing career. For two years she juggled the two careers, but after a motorcycle accident that left her temporarily in a wheelchair, unable to act or sing, she decided to fully commit to her business.

 

Néron launched her first kiosk while pregnant – and another three kiosks before she gave birth. “I wanted to change my life before [my daughter] came,” she says. “It actually happened that year. [Gross business sales] went from 900 000 to 10 million. That’s when it switched. My company grew. The hormones were good for me.” Sixteen stores and four franchises later, her story is proof that yes, you can have it all.

 

While she values hard work, this entrepreneur does not spend every waking moment at the office. As a mother and a businesswoman, Néron is a great example that having a family is no hindrance to great success. “My biggest life lesson was having my daughter. Before that, I was always working,” she reflects. “I love my job, but now I really have a balance between my personal life and professional, and it makes me stronger as a businesswoman and as a person.”

 

Today, Néron makes it a point to leave the office at 4pm to pick up her 7-year-old daughter, Emanuelle, the inspiration behind her upcoming collection. She makes it work because she is a firm believer in schedules. “To-do lists are the worst thing ever,” she explains. “It’s like a mountain that you have to go over. I find if you put it into a schedule, in a timeframe, you can have three lives in one.”

 

One of those three lives involves a series of philanthropic endeavours that she supports through events and donations, grown from an inherent desire to change the world. “When I started my career as an actress, I made a pact with life. I don’t know who was up there, but I said, if you give me a contract, I will give part of my money to the poor. For me, it was always a responsibility as an individual living in a society,” she says, stressing the importance of giving back. As someone with growing influence and increased financial means, Néron has never forgotten her humble start and the importance of giving back. She will mark 13 years as a businesswoman by devoting her energy to two projects she holds dear: The Breast Cancer Foundation of Quebec amongst other organizations dedicated to breast cancer research and the Breakfast Club Canada, which empowers every child to realize their full potential. She also volunteers 10 of her employees every year to participate in community work.

 

 

 

Though Néron refuses to focus on what other brands are doing – intent on staying fully immersed in her own—she remains receptive to current trends, which she says are part of our evolution as human beings. As long as it fits in with her boho-chic image, she is game for just about anything. Her spring 2017 collection (the soft launch is December 15th, followed by a full collection in February) is inspired by Coachella, and will feature necklaces with medicine pouches, feathers, and dreamcatchers.

 

Asked about her favourite piece, “The medicine pouch!” she gushes with a smile. “Oh, and chokers. If you want a choker, you come to my place. I have all of them. When I go crazy for something, I go crazy.”

 

Her accessories will soon be available around the world. Her decision to feature young models in her campaigns is part of that plan, with hopes to appeal to 20 and 30 year olds internationally. Though she continues to attract women and men from a wide range of ages, her strong online presence is a shout-out to the younger “no bullshit” generation, a generation of consumers with a whole new set of values and a thirst for adventure. As for those among that group trying their own hand at entrepreneurship, she encourages them to follow her lead and just take the leap: “Nothing comes without work. That’s the only thing I can say. Work, work, work. This is how you’re going to learn. This is how it happens,” she advises. “There are rare situations where the person is lucky and everything starts to go well. Otherwise, it’s about work. Just jump into it. I feel like a lot of people are waiting to have the best plan ever on paper before they start anything but that’s just a reason not to jump. For me, if you have an idea, go for it.”

When I ask her if she has a business philosophy, she emphasizes the importance of doing what you love, being honest, and keeping your voice authentic: “Love the job, be passionate. Make sure you’re surrounded by great people that have the same values as you, because in the end, we’re working five days a week, so that’s a lot of time that you spend at work. For me, real success is to love your job. Love Mondays. I love Mondays.” #lifegoals.

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