In 2017, Claire Summers miscarried a dearly wanted baby, she nursed her father through terminal cancer and left what she now recognises as an abusive engagement and home. Following this, she struggled with deep depression, but was also acutely aware that she needed to give herself fertility options for the future. It was in this moment, she decided to freeze her eggs to empower herself with options, unexpectedly, she nearly died through the treatment.
She created Gratitude Glass Jars as a visual tool to help her heal from five distressing life events, by capturing daily notes of gratitude, that enabled her to rebuild herself and open her heart once more. She developed them while just out of hospital and in her mum’s care.
A month later she had a job opportunity in the USA. Despite her hesitancy and fears, she took it, believing it to be her way forward. Only weeks into her new role, in a new country, with no friends or family, she found herself being sexually harassed by her boss.
After all this, thankfully Claire was still aware of the power of gratitude, she knew how this concept had helped her in the past and how it could potentially help others. Seeking some light-hearted relief, and while they were just a side project for her, Claire took her Gratitude Glass Jar to the New York Now Trade Show, it was here where her life changed forever and she was discovered by Oprah.
After that day:
- She became the number 1 best-selling product on Amazon the day after launch
- 6 figure business overnight after getting featured on Oprah
- 7 figure business in the first year of business
The success of Gratitude Glass Jars
Since this day, Claire and her Gratitude Jars have gone from strength to strength, supporting others in times of need and celebrating the spirit of living with her loyal customer base. In times of uncertainty where emotional resilience really is key, her simple, yet nurturing approach of sharing her story to inspire others, has guided many. Providing them with the tools they need to maintain their own positive energy, heal, or to simply celebrate the spirit of living. This method is widely celebrated as it does not depend on external circumstances, but is rather an innate power of the human soul.
Her jars have also been featured as ‘Oprah’s Favorite Thing’s in 2017’ and ‘Oprah’s Favorite Thing’s Hall of Fame’ in 2019’s’ O Magazine.
We were lucky enough to be able to chat with Claire about her journey so far and how she navigates the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
It originally started as a way for me to heal, but I started making a few jars on the side and thanks to the NY trade show and Oprah it really took off!
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
I have always had the entrepreneurial, creative spark within me. But I never had the courage to truly pursue it until I started to take baby steps in that area. I suffered from a lot of self-doubt and insecurities as a child, a teenager a young female. I went through bullying, did not have the healthiest family life growing up and constantly felt that I didn’t deserve success. This fed a lot into my lack of confidence to immediately go down that path. However, I always had that spark and now, that spark is a flame that will never go out. Never again will I let a person, or people dull my light….
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
You owe it to yourself to try. If you really believe in the idea, the product, the business that you have and your willing to invest the time to give it a shot, then you owe it to yourself to try. You will never know the success it may bring into your life, you have to take that risk….but the rewards of knowing that you gave something a go, completely outweigh the constant mind game of being left wondering if I ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’..
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Solution focused
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
I look up to anyone, that has fallen through difficult times and has had the tenacity to get back up again, despite how difficult it was to do. We will all go through difficult periods in life, there is so much strength to be had by sharing your stories with others to inspire them to also share theirs. Strength comes in numbers and they are the people who inspire me.
What was the best advice that you have been given?
I’ve received two pieces of advice that really changed the direction of my life. ‘Always put yourself in the best position possible’. The first love of my life told me that when I was in an extremely difficult situation with my fiancé at the time. From a heartfelt position, with no judgement, he offered those words and they really resonated with me. The second was ‘Take control of your life’. This really reminded me that I have never fallen into victim mode. You are responsible for your own actions, your own successes, your own life. If you feel not in control of it and finding yourself speak in victim mode, the power is within you to take control of your life.
What do you think your key to success has been?
Following through on an idea that brought both myself and others joy. I have been involved in crazy start up ideas before, from tech to retail, from great corporate jobs, that never brought me contentment. I still wanted more. I knew I wasn’t following my true vocation in life. They key to my success was taking myself off those wrong roads and placing myself onto the right one. That and my tenacity to always give life a shot.
How have you personally measured your success?
My success is based on whether I am truly living the life that I deserve. Is my head and my heart in the right space, truly aligned to achieve what I desire. If they are, then I deem myself successful. If I am still doing that, with an open, genuine heart, then double pats on the back. If this was to all fail tomorrow & I ended up making smoothies on the beach for tourists, I would still know that I have succeed because I followed through on what I believed was the right path to take. I was lucky in life to have a series of events that forced me to change the trajectory of my one and only precious life.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
No-one can be a master of all trades, never kid yourself from that perspective! Seek outsourced skills when it is required. However, also be mindful of your cash reserves when starting out. Often, I would feel that I would need to bring in an expert to do something for me, when really I had the creativity & the proactive attitude to find my own solution. So, find that balance where you are not wasting your hard earned start up cash on things that you could, really do yourself.
How do you generate new ideas?
I seem to be on this path where I am going back to my youth (before the world got its paws on me!) and generating products & ideas that resonated with me then. From fragrance, to home furnishings, to beautiful things that speak to you on an emotional level. Pairing myself back to the simple life. In saying that though, I’m able to tap into that space of simplicity when I am by the water. Walking / Swimming / Watching the ocean gets me out of my head and into my heart where I feel free to create and bring forth new ideas.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Two things. Being able to create what I want, what brings me joy and having people enjoy what I produce, blows me away. To have my products in people’s heart’s and homes around the world and know that they feel that it is not just another ‘product’ brings a lot of joy to my life. The second is the flexibility. I always knew that I wasn’t meant for the corporate space and craved flexibility to both live my life and enjoy what I do…..I truly feel blessed each day to do that e.g. I am writing this article and off for a swim later in the middle of the day J
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
It’s the people that inspire me the most, regardless of the business they are operating. I love hearing the stories of people that not just came up with a great idea, but had the courage to follow through on it. Having worked in Silicon Valley, I met so many inspiring companies, start-ups that I was energized from meeting. The same now that I am in the Homewares & Gifting industry from the women / family owned businesses who just had the courage to pursue something new. It does take guts and they are the people that I admire the most.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
On a personal level, I see myself moving within the area of motivational speaking and finally publishing that book. I’ve been approached to do so and if one more clairvoyant tells me to do the same I will scream! I believe I have a lot to offer in the areas of resilience and living with authenticity, straight from the heart. At a business level, my aspirations are global. I’ve never thought small and the chance to play a large role in helping people’s mindsets across the world brings nothing but joy to my face.
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
My mum has always encouraged me to say yes. When I was fearful of leaving to the USA as I knew I was still battling with depression, she literally told me that I was going. She has always encouraged me to push myself without any expectation of performance or results. This is a great attribute to have as a mum. In my circle of girlfriends, I found a beautiful group of women within the industry overseas that openly supported me being from Australia, whether it was financially, letting me stay at their homes in between travelling, connecting me to people that I needed to meet. Always offering their support. I consequently have a lot of soul sisters or soul mumma’s around the world who I instantly connected with.
What do you do for encouragement or to be motivated?
I am a very self-motivated person through knowing what I want. The time when I went off track with my life was really when I was lacking direction and an idea of what I wanted. I consequently brought what I ‘thought’ I wanted into my life which I intuitively knew was incorrect. I now have 3 very clear goals to achieve for my family, personal and home life, that present themselves as a very strong visual which I carry in mind. I know that one day I will achieve all 3 together as my behaviors are strongly aligned to making these come true.
How do you balance your entrepreneur life with friends that don’t understand the challenges we experience?
This is difficult too and I have recently been working through this issue. I found that my circle of friends has consequently changed to those that are also very both 1) Goal directed and 2) Operate from a growth mindset. I have found that I have naturally drifted from some groups of friends through no malice or anger, but just a different viewpoint as to what we want to achieve in life. Whilst it has been lonely at times, I feel now that I am always moving myself forward and have found a stronger, more supportive network of friends that operate from the viewpoint of vulnerability & authenticity. Your vibe definitely attracts your tribe!
What makes your business unique?
Because it is a vocation. I never started Gratitude Glass Jars off to become a business. I created the original jar for me, to help move me through a very difficult period in life. I then branched out to create them for family & friends who were also going through a difficult period. In doing that, I found myself in a ‘business’ that is aligned to my true values and my spirit of helping people to connect with their thoughts & emotions to live their best lives possible.
What keeps you going in difficult times?
Laughter, gratitude & self belief. Some of the stories I could share of significantly difficult times in launching the business will leave you with your mouth wide opening wondering how I coped! The only way through it was through laughter, self belief that I would always find a solution to every problem that presented itself and gratitude. I have my health, I am here on this planet. I am the luckiest person in the world. All the rest can be overcome.
What keeps you up at night?
It used to be the finances, I would have many sleepless nights over that as I am self-funded and have taken many financial risks to achieve what I have. But then I realized that it is me who was placing myself into those financial positions, creating undue stress. I now take a more balanced approach from the fast growth opportunities I had and have found that I sleep much better ever since.
How do you handle doubt?
I really ask myself, will I regret not giving it a shot. If the answer to that is yes, then I have to do it. I think the other tool that I have mastered is to take the time to answer that question. I am an A Type Personality, my first reaction is to say that ‘I should have done that yesterday’, when really, you can take your time to answer those questions that leave you in doubt. So pause, breathe, take your time and then assess whether or not you will regret saying no. My mantra in life is to never say coulda’, woulda’, shouda’….