#287 Ask Me Anything About Your Jewelry Business

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I’m in a great mood today, m’dear! We just wrapped up our Marketing Makeover Challenge with an amazing masterclass, and it was a huge hit in the community. 


During the challenge, I hosted a live Q&A for designers and makers trying to grow their creative businesses. 


We covered topics from grassroots marketing to pitching your products to celebrities.



In fact, there were so many questions about marketing, we created a FREE Marketing Guide to help answer some of the FAQs on growing a small creative business.


The questions from this Q&A were so thoughtful, I thought it might be helpful to take some of the best ones and turn them into a podcast, just for you!


 #287 Ask Me Anything About Your Jewelry Business Show Notes

“Journal, I would meditate, I would say affirmations to myself 25 times in the morning and 25 times in the evening. And those affirmations were basically training my mind to think differently about my situation.”

Welcome to Thrive by Design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing, and scaling your business. Spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make you ready. All right, let's do this.

Tracy: Welcome to the Thrive by Design podcast Episode 287. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews, Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish and Thrive Academy. And I'm here today to do something fun, basically answer questions from members of our community. Here's the background behind this episode. Today, it's an Ask Me Anything episode, we're gonna be doing more of them. And we cannot wait because we are having a blast. Anyway, we just finished our Marketing Makeover Challenge. I was gonna say a challenge, but our Marketing Makeover Challenge. And we wrapped it up with an amazing masterclass. And we welcomed a bunch of new students into our Laying the Foundation program, which was pretty epic. 

We had a blast, we had so much fun throughout the entire process. And the questions were really good on the Q&A that I did a couple of weeks ago. So I wanted to use this Ask me anything Q&A, as a podcast for a very specific reason, it's actually too long to use the whole thing as a podcast. So we're just going to use parts of it that we some of the other parts might resurface later. But the important thing about this that the reason why I wanted to bring this on in particular, is because inevitably, anytime we launch into a program, or we share what we're doing, we have great questions from people who are participating in our challenges. And they're the same questions that other people have, as well. And that's why I wanted to bring it to you today. 

So here's the thing. Before we dive in, I know that so many people have questions about their online marketing strategy. And we created this amazing digital guide called the Ultimate Online Marketing Guide for jewelry designers, makers, and retailers. And it's really designed to help you bring your online sales and marketing efforts to a place where you're feeling less overwhelmed. And to a place where your marketing actually works. In this free guide, we go through the nuts and bolts of what it takes to build an essential and awesome online strategy. 

So you can head on over to http://www.flourishthriveacademy.com/marketingguide And honestly, you're not going to want to miss it, make sure that you grab it, we've had 1000s of people already downloaded and it's getting such a great response. You definitely want this in your business repertoire. And even though the title says for jewelry designers and makers and retailers, it's for anyone selling a physical product and any of those realms. So you're good to go there. Right. Okay, so without further ado, let's dive into today's episode to get into some of those juicy nuggets with the Ask me anything coaching that's going on right here. 

So I was writing in my journal this morning, and I was really reflecting on how far I've come in the last 15 years, I moved to New York 15 years ago. And I thought that I'm going to probably get teary eyes moving in a week. And it's been an interesting experience, because I'm super emotional about it. I moved into this apartment three years ago, with the hope so that was a huge leap. For me it was a big investment. But I knew that I needed to change my environment and do something differently. If I wanted to attract some of the things that I wanted in my life. One of those things was a relationship. And I met my boyfriend Jason, who I'm moving to Arizona to be with in this apartment, he literally was invited over by a consultant of mine. 

And he walked through this door and it brought me so much it also brought me an opportunity to start many new businesses, it brought me an opportunity to actually live a lot closer to my sister and be able to support her with twins that were born about three years ago as well. And so much has happened in this apartment. And when I was thinking back, like I was writing my gratitude list this morning, and I was thinking back to like where I was three years ago when I was making the decision to move into her into this place. And I'd been through so much at that time, Flourish and Thrive had been around about five years. 

I had my new jewelry company for about seven years at the time. And I was reflecting on where I was when I moved into New York City. You know, I was really hopeful. I moved my company from San Francisco to New York with the hopes of New York City being the place where I was going to really make a big right. And that first year out of the gate, I crushed it, I have my best year in sales. In fact, I was really close to the million dollar marker with my jewelry company, which was a lot at the time, because I wasn't designing fine jewelry I was designing, basically demi, I find a demi fine price point. 

So most of my pieces, I did have a fine jewelry collection. But that wasn't the majority of my sales. It was mostly pieces that I was selling for $50 to $150. So I was doing a lot of volume, and really growing my business. And that year was followed by 2008, which basically completely took my business out. And New York didn't actually in the beginning offer me this amazing opportunity. My sales grew in the beginning, it actually tanked my business because of a lot of other things that happened along the way. And I remember back to that time, you know, just like thinking back, like feeling crushed, like, what did I do? Why did I move here, I moved my sister here. And I felt so much guilt and failure, and all so many emotions, like all the fields that you feel right. And it was devastating for like many, like a few, at least a good year after but many years after, I felt like a total fraud, like, who would want to listen to me and all this stuff. And I was ambitious though. And I knew I wanted to do big things in this world and start a new jewelry company because I tried to get away from it and start teaching yoga and do that as my career. But I couldn't get away from it. 

In fact, I tried and I just couldn't stop making jewelry. Robin, my co founder at Flourish and Thrive will tell you that. And so I'm like Okay, so here's my situation, I have all these beliefs about myself. I'm telling myself some really terrible stories that are not serving me right now. What am I going to do to actually get over that. And so, I started some really strict like disciplined practices that started with my morning routine, I would get up every day, I would journal, I would meditate. I would say affirmations to myself 25 times in the morning and 25 times in the evening. And those affirmations were basically training my mind to think differently about my situation. Now, affirmations don't work just in and of themselves. 

You have to have action yet. And so I would do something every single day. That absolutely terrified me and I remember this one day, I was and I posted about this in the group this morning. I remember this one day I was online, I'd met this woman Kate Northrup, she's actually going to be on my podcast. In a couple of weeks. Allison's getting that episode ready for editing and stuff like that. She was introduced to me by my friend Danielle, and I met up with Kate, Kate was this Fung Shui artist. She's like, Hey, can I put you on my email list? She was doing a lot of different things at the time. And I was like, Sure. So one day, I got an email from her. And it was about this online program that I'd never heard of these people before. But it was an online program, teaching people how to grow their business online. And in the process of reinvention and growing myself, I knew that if I was going to survive as a jewelry designer and a maker, I had to reach my customers online. Now this was literally in 2012 or 11. I remember 2011.

What is that? That's 10 years ago, that was 10 years ago. And I didn't join the program in the first round. Meaning like, I got an email saying like, sign up, we're closing, we're closing doors in there. And I didn't sign up and I had an opportunity to join because they had sent out one more email and saying, like, Hey, I get it. You might be on the fence. But you know, we're opening the cart one more time. Just jump in, try it. If it doesn't work for you. Don't worry about it. We'll give you your money back. I was dating this guy named Chris at the time. And he's like, what are you doing? You're broke, your business just failed. Like you have, like, you have like $3,000 in the bank, you're gonna spend 15 $100 on a course. Like, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. He was like hating on me for it. And I was like, You know what, something about this feels right. I am terrified right now. And I could potentially lose that money. But for some reason there's something right about this program. And I invested I had I didn't even know what to expect. 

And something really crazy happened. And I dove deep into the training they gave me. And at that point I literally was making probably about $2,000 a month living in New York City that is not a lot of money 10 years ago, in my process of reinventing at that point, it was like barely it didn't even cover my rent, quite frankly. And I had to subsidize it by teaching yoga and doing a bunch of side jobs in order to make ends meet. And this mind you is after having a business that was doing almost a million dollars in revenue like I literally had to start over. And but I trusted that the process for some reason I knew that this was going to be the thing that was going to help me get to that next level within a couple of months, but things changed around really quickly, like, immediately, my sales started to grow. 

In fact, I had a desire to actually make $15,000 a month in profit, like, that's what I wanted to take home. And I was doing my custom jewelry business at the time. And I was just working on getting more customers, getting more clients and getting people to actually take an action on my website. And month after month, my sales kept growing, my business kept growing. And within 18 months, I not only was making $15,000 a month in profit, I actually had my best month ever in the history of money that I took home and a $30,000 a month in profits month. And I'm not telling that to you to make you feel bad. But I know that sometimes when you're faced with a decision, okay, do I want to invest in my business? And take the step? Or do I want to save the money and hoard in a way, because that's going to make me feel safer. 

And you're the only person who can make that decision for yourself. But I know from doing a lot of work on myself and doing investing in myself a lot. I've invested 10s, probably hundreds of 1000s of dollars at this point in my business education over the last 10 years, that every time I've made an investment in my business, it forces me to go all in to discover and uncover what I don't know. And one of the most powerful things about taking that program was it got me to see all of the things that I was missing in my strategy. And that is the exact reason why I created Laying the Foundation for you guys. 

Alison: Alright, here's another more business related question from Rebecca. She asks, my current business name is RMK creations. Do you think a name change can ever help with sales?

Tracy: Um, it certainly can. It depends on what you're going to change the name to? In a lot of ways. I don't know if that really matters. Because my next question would be like, Why? Why do you want to change the name? And why do you think your name is not a good name? You know, I think certain people are really good at naming and like, like, for instance, I use Alex as an example a lot. And actually, I'm gonna use So Alex Alex Camacho. Her business is called Acid Queen jewelry. And the reason why it's so perfect is it literally fits into the naming and the design and the style of a brand like she hit the mood right away. 

My business has always been my name Tracy Matthews Designs was my first business. My jewelry business now is just under my name Tracy Matthews, it's not original, that's awesome. Because there's a lot of brand awareness with that. The challenge with that is like I can never really sell my business unless I wanted to sell the rights to my name. And it becomes more challenging for people to do it. I know a lot of people who've done it like Alexis guitar and many others. And Kate Spade will be another example. People do it. But the issue is, is that over time, like do you want to be selling your name? So I guess you have to think about like, what are your objectives with your business? and have people told you that the name is is rappelling or maybe there's another way that you can position your brand, which we will teach you how to do inside the program that makes that name make sense, because I don't think that the name is necessarily the thing that's deterring people from buying your jewelry, it's probably your marketing.

Alison: Awesome answer. And here's another one. And this one's about getting more customers. Rachel says, I just started out. And I opened my business during COVID. How do I get more customers, I only have an email list of like 30 people and they're mostly friends and family. I've tried Facebook ad creative marketing. And so far it hasn't really converted. I know I need to get my brand out to more people. And I'm sure I'm not 100% on who my ideal client is. I guess my question is, what would be the best way for me to start building more followers who want to buy from me?

Tracy: Great. Love this question is a big one. I was about to take notes. But I think I got the gist. you started your business in COVID you don't have a big audience. How do you build the audience and keep it going? Well, obviously the program is designed to help you do that. But the quick answer is this. Build your external following using the resources that you have. So there's a guy named John Davis, he started a company called Boots. It's a flower company. This guy been a successful business owner and entrepreneur for a long time. And he was successful in his field, whatever it was, but he decided that he wanted to start this company. He just had a baby. His wife thought he was crazy. And he was like or he didn't have the baby, his wife had the baby but you guys get the picture. And he decided he wanted to go out on this venture you partner with someone else and he's kind of the sales and marketing guy and the other guy was the idea guy who wanted to bring these farmers' teams of flowers to the market. 

So and they had no budget. They had a little seed money of their own personal savings. They didn't have investors. In the beginning, he's like, how can I grow this business on a shoestring. And so I'm sure he invested or worked with a business mentor, I would guess. But he sent out 1700 personalized emails to his network. He went through his basically alumni organization, so anyone he ever knew from any school, like all of his Facebook, friends and followers, he went through his friends and family network, all the things through all throughout all of that he and if you have a business network, you know, you can leverage that to, to send out 1700 personalized emails to sell flowers, yellow flowers, we know, you know, typically, if you're buying like artisanal flowers that aren't in a bodega on the streets of New York City, there's a bouquet is typically like 50 bucks, or 40 bucks, maybe to like $100 for nice flowers, right. 

So that's basically the price point that he was selling at a very similar price point to jewelry. And in one year, just by that grassroots methodology, and I walk you through this, that specific methodology, the guy sold $1.7 million in flowers. And I think part of the reason for, I mean, I wouldn't have that high of hopes, like, as a jewelry designer, just starting out to go that big. And like, you know, I beg anyone to like, actually break that ceiling and prove me wrong, just because flowers are something that people purchase over and over again, because they die. And people might just purchase a couple pieces of jewelry a year. However, that strategy works really well. In fact, he did this strategy at one of our Momentum retreats about two years ago, as a retreat I had in San Francisco with our high level students. 

Many of them were like getting ready for the holiday season. And we wanted to challenge them to make money while they were in the retreat, to make the investment that they had spent to travel back in that period of time, this was pre COVID, we were allowed to meet in person, we gave them a simple framework to text or email, someone who had been on the fence about an order someone who they think would maybe buy from them or a random friend or family member in 48 hours, we made $36,000 as a group. And I think that ended up increasing to like, way more than that over like the week. So that kind of strategy really works. And I think there was only like maybe 25 people in the room, because half of the people well, and then some of the people were streaming too, because they were streaming in. 

So this strategy works. So this is what we call the Grassroots Strategy. We teach it in the program, we also teach it in our TYC workshop, Train Your Customers to buy from your online workshop. And it works when you do it. But the problem, the reason why it doesn't work for some people, it's because they're not really willing to go all in on it. And they say it's cheesy, they send it out to three people and don't get a response. And so they say it won't work. The key here is that you have to be detached to the outcome. Yes, do it. And you're not necessarily asking the person that you're sending an email for a sale, what you're asking them for is a referral. And oftentimes in that ask for the referral. 

People are curious, they want to go take a look at what you're doing. And they end up being customers, too. So that's one way a great way. Another way is to just build your basic social media following and then try to get those people onto your email list. That one takes is a longer game, and takes a lot more strategy and time on social. But if you feel comfortable with that strategy, then it works really well. That's more of a long game strategy. And then as in the program, we also teach you more advanced strategies to grow.

Alison: This is a fun question. Do you have any suggestions on how we can get our products to a celebrity or magazines or the press I have been able to get through one time. But I'm curious if there are better ways to go about this?

Tracy: Awesome. So we have, in Laying the Foundation course, we cover PR because it's awesome. Our resident PR expert, Sabina is going to give you the formula that actually you can use to pitch swipe formula where you can customize your own templates and use it to pitch stylists, or editors or whoever you're trying to reach. So as far as getting outreach to celebrities, things have changed a lot since I was working with celebrities back in the day, it used to be that you just needed to get in touch with like find out who the stylist was and develop a relationship with that status. And that still does work. But there are certain celebrities who kind of are on this pay to play situation where you might have to pay a celebrity to actually wear your work or like an influencer. And I have mixed feelings about this right now because I don't necessarily think it's always the best way to do it. 

Now one of my favorite designers, Lorraine West, is doing this incredibly well. I met her two years ago at New York City jewelry week and in a specific BIPOC installation called Here we are. And she took our program that we've since retired called Multiply Your Profits. And I just loved her, she walked up to me, I didn't know I never met her before. And she gave me this big hug. It's you. And I was like, Oh my gosh, she has a really great run getting stuff on celebrities, but she's had these long standing relationships with a stylist who styled as celebrities. So if you really want to work with celebrities, and you think it's going to be game changing for your business, then I would start to find out which celebrities you want to be on and identify who their stylist is, and start developing a relationship with the stylist, 

I'm warning you might be paid to play. Now there are agencies and stuff that handle this, like celebrity piece placements and stuff like that. It's a big waste of money, you might get your stuff on a celebrity, most independent brands who aren't doing over seven figures in revenue can't afford to invest $5,000 a month in programs like that. So I don't always recommend it, especially in the startup phases. But over time, it can work. And other strategies are working with micro influencers and influencers who have big followings. And there are pros and cons to this. The Pro is that they have a big audience. And if they really understand marketing and actually email people about stuff, then it's beneficial. The cons to this is that Instagram is changing. And it's also sometimes pay to play if the bigger the influencer is. And the bigger the influence or is also like the less engaged their audiences. So Alison and I were talking, Alison started with us and around October, and she had sent me the screenshot. Alison, you want to explain the screenshot that you sent me of the stories where the massive influencers engagement crashed?

Alison: Yeah, yeah, so Instagram has been a little bit all over the place for about a year and a half. And the algorithms have been shifting due to the new features and updates that Instagram has been implementing. So a lot of people mistakenly assume that that only impacts the little guys, if you have like a small account. But in the fall, a bunch of different folks on Instagram have all different account sizes from you know, maybe a couple 100 followers to millions of followers, we're sharing some insight into their analytics, and every single person was hit by about the same percentage scaled down to the size of their account. So it was pretty crazy to see that, you know, the algorithm affects everyone and no matter who you are, or how big you are, the unpredictable nature of social media can come and get you.

Tracy: Certainly and that's why I was saying like influencer strategy is kind of changing. And so I really depend on the influencer, like, I think it can be good, but it has to be the right thing. And if it's a pay to play situation, you just want to really be like, thinking through all the outcomes and be okay, if nothing comes out of it, if that makes sense. Thank you so much for listening today. I am super excited to be here. And to have been able to do this fun little Q&A podcast for you. And thanks for listening. I so appreciate you welcoming me into your earbuds every single week. And I wanted to thank you and I'd also love to hear from you. If you had a big takeaway from today's episode. I'd love for you to find us over @flourish_thrive, or @tracymatthewsny over on Instagram, and shoot us a direct message. Also, you know, we'd love to be friends. So if you want to follow us, we'd love to connect with you there. And tell us what your big takeaway was. And if you have a question for us, that you would like us to cover on the podcast. You can submit your question right there. That's right. All right. This is Tracy Matthews, signing off. Until next time.

Click here to download the show notes


Q: “Can a business name change ever help with sales?”


A: It can, but it depends on what your objectives are for your business. Don’t pull the trigger on a name change before you’re clear on what you’re trying to accomplish.


Over time, do you want to be selling your name as a key part of the brand? There are plenty of successful jewelry brands that have changed their names and lived to tell the tale. 


However, if your sales are struggling, it’s not necessarily your brand name that’s deterring people from buying. I’d first recommend taking a good hard look at your products and marketing strategy.


Q: “I opened my business during COVID and have a small email list, mostly friends and family. What’s the best way to start building more followers for my brand?”


A: Build your external following using the resources you already have. In other words, don’t be afraid to lean into grassroots marketing.


Having a small email list of friends and family is actually a great place to start. In the early stages of a brand, one of the best things you can do is reach out to your grassroots network and directly ask for referrals and sales.


It will be nerve-wracking at first, but you’ll end up with lifelong customers this way.


Q: “How do I get my products to a celebrity, magazine, or the press?”


A: This has changed a lot since I got into the jewelry business. But ultimately, the answer is still the same: pitch your products to the stylists responsible for the celebrity/magazine you want to be featured in.


Fair warning, much of this is pay-to-play now, and you may be hard-pressed to find a PR opportunity for free.


There’s a lot that goes into pitching your products successfully. Our PR Coach, Sabina Hitchens, covers this topic extensively in our Laying the Foundation coaching program.


Do you feel like you still have questions that weren’t answered in this episode? Don’t forget to check out our completely FREE Online Marketing Guide For Jewelry Designers, Makers, And Retailers.


xo, Tracy


Links:


The Ultimate Online Marketing Guide For Jewelry Designers, Makers, And Retailers


Laying the Foundation Coaching Program


How I can help you with your biz RIGHT NOW!


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