#286 Before & After Laying the Foundation: Hear from 4 Students

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After such an unpredictable year, I know a lot of makers may find themselves asking, “Is it really worth it to keep investing in my business?”


Today I hope I can show you why the answer should be a big ol HECK YES!


You’ll get to hear from 4 successful students from the #ThriveTribe about how they’ve transformed their businesses with the help of expert coaching.


I’m so stoked for this episode for two reasons:


  1. I’ve been wanting to get some of our students on the podcast for a while now.
  2. We just revamped our Laying the Foundation program to be better than ever – and enrollment closes soon!


Laying the Foundation is our 12-week signature virtual program designed to teach designers and makers like you to build desire and demand for your unforgettable brand. 


It’s outcome-oriented, which means our #1 goal is to help you implement data-driven strategies that actually get results.


It doesn’t matter what kind of creative product you’re selling, with the right guidance, you can make it happen.


But don’t take it from me, take it from these 4 LTF grads who have knocked their goals out of the park…


 #286 Before & After Laying the Foundation: Hear from 4 Students Show Notes

“While you might think that you know your dream clients, chances are you don't have a specific enough targeted plan to identify and connect with them. So that process from a total stranger to a total fan of your jewelry is what we teach in Laying the Foundation.”

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 286. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews, Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish and Thrive Academy. And I'm so stoked to be here today. bringing you a really exciting episode. Now before I kind of dive in and talk about what the episode is about. We just wrapped up a an amazing challenge. It was the first of its kind called the marketing makeover challenge. And in that challenge, we dug deep into identifying and finding the overlap between what your brand stands for, and what your dream clients most want from you. And we also dialed it in to how to use that in your messaging. And it was so fun.

We wrapped it up with an amazing masterclass. And man, we are super stoked because we have a ton of students already enrolling for our Laying the Foundation program, which is kind of a celebration of students today. Basically what I'm going to be talking about is, you know, I love really kind of honoring people in our community and sharing kind of how they've gotten to the other side, you know, maybe they were experiencing a struggle, or maybe they were kind of stuck in trying to figure out, like how to get their business to the next level.

Last week, you heard from Alyssa Miner who basically shared her story about how she has been in business for 27 years. And after following us for years and years and years and considering to take Laying the Foundation she finally did. She took it right before the pandemic. And in 2020, she had her best year ever and she doubled her sales. And I'm going to be sharing some more stories like that. And so if you've been on the fence about taking Laying the Foundation, or you're kind of wondering how the program can actually help you, then I'm excited to talk about it today. And I think it's really perfect for jewelry makers and designers who are kind of really trying to either figure out the online thing or for some reason, they have a desire and a will and drive to have consistent five and six figure annual sales, or even more than that multiple six figure annual sales. 

And they haven't quite figured out how to do that. They've kind of been stuck at a certain point and their business isn't growing and they aren't dialing in their messaging, they aren't really getting those repeat sales that they know that they can get. And so I'm really excited to share some of these stories today. And if you'd like to take a look at our laying the foundation program, you can head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/ltf and we are about to start a brand new cohort with a brand brand spanking new program we spent the last six months improving and up leveling the program. 

It is like really, really good guys. That's what I have to say. And I'm super excited about it. So if you've already purchased Laying the Foundation in the past, the good news is that you get access to it because that's one of our benefits is we give you lifetime access. And you can redo the program anytime. And as we built out this new version of it, we really designed it to be like a reference tool. And the reason we designed it to be like a reference tool is because we know that as you're growing your business, you might consume something once.

Well actually, it's known that the first time you learn something, you only retain about 20% of the information. So for instance, like the first time you listen to one of my podcasts, you might only retain about 20% of what you hear. So that's why it's good to save all the podcasts and download them and reference back to them later. 

But it's also the way that we designed the program is that we've added some really great things like we have our the module starts out now or the program starts out with business foundations to make sure that you have all the legal stuff that you need set up in your business meaning like your bank account. And I mean, these might be certain basics for some people, but you'd be surprised about how many people who've been in business for like 1015 years are missing some important business setup things so we kind of walk you through the basics of that and a little bit more in depth. 

We have a new opportunity to get your business license and everything set up for you for free. You just have to pay for the licenses. We also have upgraded all of our modules all across the board, including the collection development pricing. We've included a brand new website only module which was not there before we had just a one time Training about websites. Now we have an entire website module about driving traffic to your website, and how to get it. We've up leveled the marketing module and so much more plus, my girl Quay, and has gone in. And we've gone deep into helping you really design a customer service system that helps you create exceptional customer experiences for your clients. 

And the one thing that's amazing about that is this is what helps them and gets them to buy from you over and over and over again, every single season. And so I'm really excited about it. So without further ado, if you're interested in learning more about this, you haven't taken Laying the Foundation yet, head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/ltf I also want to remind you that if you have taken Laying the Foundation before, and you are interested in taking it again, you get this new version of the program is up level version of the program with your lifetime access for free, so you don't have to pay for it again. That's how we roll over here at Flourish and Thrive. 

So get excited about that. So one of the favorite benefits that we offer of being part of our community is that we give you lifetime access to our courses like laying the foundation, which is awesome. Anyway, let's dive in. So I want to talk a little bit about some of these superstars. We are celebrating and seriously celebrating perseverance of creative business owners. 2020 was such a hard year. I know for a lot of people and I know it kind of can be tough to keep your motivation high. And I know some of you might be even in that negative self talk mode. I know a lot of people that weren't able to kind of figure it out ended up having like, like it was 2020 was hard. Other people had a different experience, though, so and you might be even wondering, like, Is it really worth it to continue investing in your business. But I know you know this, but I believe in you 110%. 

But it takes a village. And so today I wanted to share a little bit more about four members of the thrive tribe, to give you a little encouragement about sharing their stories, or by sharing their stories, excuse me. And all four of these ladies have taken our Laying the Foundation program and I've truly transformed their businesses. Many of them started out feeling pretty down about where they were when they started with us. And one of the things that I love about this is you're going to actually hear their voices, is I hope that they inspire you to keep going. 

Because if you listen to last week's podcast, if you haven't done it yet, I highly recommend to go listen to it. You're going to hear Alyssa Miner's story as I mentioned, she bought the program and took it during the pandemic. And in July, her slowest month of the year she doubled her sales, she doubled her previous year's holiday sales, which were the best year she'd ever had in the holiday sales. And she more than doubled her sales for the entire year in the global pandemic. And I have to tell you, that it doesn't matter what kind of jewelry or what kind of creative product that you're selling. You can make it happen and I want to inspire you to do that. So you're ready to meet these ladies. 

Okay, so our first Laying the Foundation grad who you're going to hear from is Nicole Gariepy. Nicole Gariepy is the owner of  Fantasea Jewelry. She's a graduate of Laying the Foundation and a member and a coach of our Diamond Insiders mentorship program. She coaches in that program. She started with us as a student, I saw right away, she's been on this podcast before you can, if you're on the website, you can type in Nicole Gariepy. And you'll find a really amazing episode that she did. She talks about how everything was going against her and how she overcame that. And if you're wondering, you can go find it. It's Episode 76 on the podcast, and it's amazing because she experienced so much massive change in her business. And after taking the program. 

She couldn't be more excited about our success. And the cool part about it, you know, you're going to hear this clip. But she recently posted in our Diamond Insiders community that after Laying the Foundation, so before she took laying the foundation, she was at about $35,000 in revenue, she was really burned out. She's like, I can't work for anyone else anymore. She had closed a retail store down. And even though she was working for a jeweler making Okay, money, she's just like, I can't do this anymore. I need a change. So she was making about $35,000 in her business. And within the second year, she was making $75,000. And in the third year, she crossed the $100,000 marker. And she just keeps going up from there. She has a very successful business. It grew like crazy during the pandemic. And she had a really big aha moment during Laying the Foundation and let's hear what she has to say.

Nicole: Well, for as far as business is concerned, the biggest, really the thing that really kind of hit me over the head when I was taking the Laying the Foundation course was the whole idea of having a dream client and I'm kind of embarrassed to say that that I didn't know before how important that was. I guess I thought it was something only marketers really needed to deal with. But once I did work, the dream client work and I really got really clear on that. It just made so much sense. And I don't know how I was ever, you know, trying to run a jewelry business without that information. 

In fact, you know, knowing my dream client for Fantasea Jewelry just got a blogger to contact me for a feature, I didn't even reach out to them. She just came to me and wanted to feature some of my jewelry. So that was, that was amazing. 

Tracy: So awesome. 

Nicole: Yeah, and my first business mentor came from a corporate background, and he was a really great businessman. But his approach was a lot more about, like mass marketing. And that's like the mass merchandising kind of approach. And that just never felt right to me. So I also really liked, you know, kind of the whole part about finding your authentic voice in the course. And, you know, really going deep into your personal story. And, you know, what, what drives what drives me my passion, my inspiration, my desires, and how that translates into my work and my jewelry brand.

Tracy: Oh, my gosh, I love this, I'm getting the chills, because this is something that, you know, it like makes me so happy to hear you saying this. Because these are things these are huge breakthroughs that I had at one point in my career. And to see that this is really working very well for you is so important and to see you putting yourself out there and you know, standing in your power in a way and understanding who you're marketing to, and how that makes, how that understanding makes everything so much easier, and how it makes it so much easier to even communicate, who you stand for what you are as a brand, why you're why you're doing this and like really tap that story of your brand into your personal story, and then use that to attract the right types of clients.

Nicole: Yeah, that's a whole new world. 

Tracy: Okay, isn't that inspiring about Nicole? Well, sometimes those details we don't think matter or don't even know that we need to care about can be really the key to unlocking some of our greatest successes. So for Nicole, it was changing her focus to actually identify your dream client for the first time. And before you roll your eyes at me while you might think that you know your dream clients, chances are you don't have a specific enough targeted plan to identify and connect with them. 

So that process from a total stranger to a total fan of your jewelry is what we teach, in Laying the Foundation like getting people who are complete strangers don't know who you are. And that was the game changer for Nicole. That really kind of helped her make more sales. Alright, so the next step is to meet Tisha Abramson. Tisha is the owner and designer of Andre Glass, she hand blows polls and cuts her own glass beads, and sells them to other people wholesale. Now tissue has been a member of our community or thrive tribe for about five years now. And this is what she had to say about her journey.

Tisha Everybody, my name is Tisha Abrahamsen And I'm the owner and designer for Andre Glass jewelry, I blow and pull a tube of glass, cut it into individual beads and have a wholesale line with me with my beads prior to finding out about Flourish and Thrive. I was a stay at home mom. And I kind of loped along in my business, and had a couple of accounts and really didn't understand what I needed to do to really sell my jewelry. So I found Flourish and Thrive. I think it was mastering wholesale class with Robin, and I just absolutely loved it, I learned so much. And within the first year of being involved with Flourish and Thrive, I went from about $1,000 in sales to about $12,000 in sales. And I increased my accounts by three I think, at that point. And what made me decide to join Flourish and Thrive was really the community and how much information there is available to to learn.

I have mentors at my fingertips. I've been involved with lourish and Thrive I think going on for years now. And my sales have increased from $8,000. When I was first kind of loping along to I think we made about 20k this year. And that's just from five accounts. It's a big surprise to me, there's some retail sales in there with shows and whatnot. But I think what I've learned more than anything is how to build relationships, how to price my jewelry correctly, how to trust myself and believe that I'm capable of actually selling my jewelry and people want it. And also understanding that that if I really apply myself to what I'm learning in Flourish and Thrive things do change and even if it's baby steps, and it sometimes doesn't seem like it's going very fast. I actually have improved my business quite a bit.

My life has improved a lot since I've signed up just because I I've met so many amazing people in this community, some of my closest friends now, people who I know I will know forever, are part of my life because of Flourish and Thrive, my accountability partners that I just love and the opportunity to just meet people from all over the world and share ideas and resources. It's just, it's made me feel like a more confident person in life. And really, definitely in my business. What would I say to someone who's thinking about thinking, thinking about signing up, especially for Laying the Foundation, it's the best investment you could ever make in yourself in your business.

If you think you're going to take a class at all spend the money on the LTF primarily because you will learn things about yourself about your jewelry, and about running a business that you just can't get from anywhere else. And I go through this course every year, when Flourish and Thrive does the masterclasses. And it's like a living document. Every year, there's something that changes or I can add, or I can tweak, and I learn more and feel every year more confident and prepared for the next season.

Tracy: Now I just love Tisha's journey, and especially what she said about the power of mentorship and networking. One of the things we always talk about is that in the program, you get access to our Diamond Insiders, mentorship community, and access to our desire brand coaches in that community. And they help you kind of as a guide to help you work through the course material. These coaches have already been there and done that in particular, coaches like Dawn and Nicole, they started just where you, you were, they have been dawn as the next person I'm going to introduce in just a minute, they started where you are, they came to us ask for help. They took Laying the Foundation, they implemented they got great results, I guess the best way to put it is that they've been there and done that.

And they have a wealth of knowledge, a massive wealth of knowledge, to help you really soar and grow your business. So for many of us, accountability is crucial to achieving our goals. And that's what our coaches are there for. They answer questions, spark conversations about important topics. And they help keep you motivated and on track as you work through the course material. Now the Diamond Insiders group also helps designers connect with each other to support each other to because literally like a rising tide lifts all boats. And you know, one of our mottos over here is community and collaboration over competition. And what I have to say is that it's so nice to have a community that just totally gets what you're going through.

So I want to share, like say thanks again for Tisha for sharing her story, because this is really awesome. Now our next Laying the Foundation grad is Dawn DiGesare of daVoria Jewelry. She first took laying the foundation in 2012, and has seen her business skyrocket to a whole nother level. And we keep talking about our desire brand coaches. Well, this is one of them. Dawn is someone who has been doing it all and bringing it home. And the thing that's so awesome is that Dawn really loves having a side hustle business. She's not in this to like grow a big thing. She has other things that she's involved in. She's also a grandmother and a mother, and a wife, and a hairstylist and a desire brand coach. So she does a lot of things. And the thing that's exciting about her is her life has changed so much. So I want to just dive in and listen to a little bit of Dawn's story.

Dawn: Let me ask you a question, we are presented with an opportunity that you just knew in your gut if you didn't take it, you'd be sorry. That's kind of how I felt back in 2013. When I took Laying the Foundation, for the first time, I had been searching the internet for information on how to be serious about my jewelry business. And, of course, Google led me to Flourish and Thrive Academy. And I started reading some of their blog posts and getting some of their PDFs. And I just thought this company was like, unbelievable. And so when they said they were launching this course, I thought I've got to take it. And I've never looked back since then.

It did exactly what the title says. It helped me lay the foundation of my business. Over the years my business has done a lot of twists and turns I would add things to it. I teach and I'm a coach. For those of you who know me, I'm a coach in the Diamond Insiders. Laying the Foundation holds a special place in my heart. Every single time I have signed up to retake the course. It's changed a little which always blows my mind because I thought right from the get go. It was amazing. thing, like, I never thought that they could improve it, but they always do. They just kind of tweak it to fit with the way the times are changing. It's amazing. I'm all for Laying Foundation. And let me just say this, it'll help build your confidence as a business person, as a maker. And just as a person around.

Tracy; Wasn't that great? I just love Dawn, I honestly love Dawn so much. I also adore her husband, Dennis. He's hilarious. And he makes appearances in the Diamond Insiders group too. He's sort of like a coach Emeritus or coach, honorary coach, I guess we should say he sometimes will dance for you, too, which is super fun. And we like to have fun over here. Because if you can make business or learning and business fun, then it makes everything else pretty good, too. Anyway, I'm so glad that Dawn shared our story, her story with us our story, her story, her story with us. And I love her so much. Now one of the key points that I'm really glad that she mentioned was about her transformation into being confident, not only in her jewelry, designing and making, but also in her abilities as a business person.

Because after all, often, that's the missing piece for so many designers, you have the talent, but business is a whole nother ballgame, it can really shake your confidence if you're stuck in a cycle of throwing spaghetti against the wall, and just hoping it sticks. Now one of my favorite things about chatting with our Laying the Foundation grads is seeing that inner confidence blossom. And watching designers really own their roles as the CEOs of their own business or, as I like to say, the CVO's of their own business chief visionary officers. And I like to make that distinction because I think a lot of people think of CEOs as corporate and businesses. But if you're a visionary, it really dives into being creative and using your creativity to actually run your business. So last, but not least, we have the incredible Carolyn Hassett, of by Carolyn Dunn, she seriously put work in when she went through the program, she showed up every day and effortlessly paid off big time. So let's hear a little bit about her business transformation.

Carolyn: Hi, I'm Carolyn Hassett, of BY Carolyn Dunn. I've been in business about four years before I started laying the foundation. And my numbers were pretty good, both on the website and in sales. But they really weren't increasing. And of course I wanted them to. So I signed up for the course mainly to get you know, sales information and really improve my business and take it to the next level. But what I walked away with was so much more. Just the exercise of fully defining my dream client made an amazing difference in my business and my outlook. And my messaging, because I was finally able to speak to the person who was intended to get my products. And it just made everything so much easier. 

Having at hand, the right messaging for my dream client and social media, and my website content has made a huge difference in my productivity as well as who I'm actually reaching. You know, I've even had longtime clients come back to me and say, Hey, I really love the new tone of your emails and where this business is going, please keep me informed. And I've never had that sort of response before. So if you're thinking about taking this course, there's nothing left to think about. Absolutely, it's going to be the best investment you can make for your business. And the cherry on top of it all is becoming part of the diamond insiders group. On Facebook, where everyone is so supportive, you can ask any question and there are people there who are more than willing to help and just cheer you on. So please do consider Laying the Foundation.

Tracy: Now everything that Carolyn talked about is right on the nose. laying the foundation took her through each step of the process building a brand that has lasting impact and helped her build desire and demand for those pieces that she makes right? From her brand, mission, tone and feel all the way to marketing herself on her website, social media and email. It's been amazing to see Carolyn soar. It's been so fun hearing the stories about these four Laying the Foundation grads and I hope that their journeys have inspired you to keep going. They never gave up or stop learning and growing in their business. And it's truly made all the difference.

Now Laying the Foundation is our 12 week signature virtual program designed to teach you the independent jewelry designer how to build desire and demand for your unforgettable jewelry brand with the right clients and exposure. So if you're interested in learning more, remember I mentioned we made a ton of new upgrades to this program. It is amazing. And what I have to say about it is that you're going to really be inspired by some of the new content. But more than that, the outcomes that you get because we're really teaching you how to build a data driven, outcome based business. 

So if you want to sell more online, if you want to be reaching more accounts and other sales channels or revenue streams or business models, we're going to teach you how to do that. And I really would love to invite you to head on over to flourish thrive academy.com, forward slash ltf, to check it out before we shut down enrollment for this cohort. All right, this is Tracy Matthews, signing off. 

Until next time, thank you so much for putting your faith and trust in me and listening to me in your ears every single week. It's been an honor to be here to serve. And I'm also we have some really fun surprises coming into the pipeline soon, including coaching sessions with students, and so much more to kind of learn a little bit more about how we work. I'm going to be bringing on some guest hosts and a lot more good stuff. So thanks for listening. I will see you next week. Thanks so much. Have a good one. 

Click here to download the show notes


Nicole Gariepy


When Nicole joined Flourish & Thrive Academy as a student, Fantasea Jewelry was only bringing in around 35k, and she was feeling burnt out.


Over the next year, she repositioned herself and grew her brand to the 75k mark, and then the next year she hit 100k. 


Nicole has since joined the team as a coach in our Diamond Insiders mentorship program, and her business has continued to grow even amidst a global pandemic.


That’s what led to her big “A-HA!” moment, which she talks about in the full episode above. 😉


Tisha Abrahamsen


Tisha has been a member of our community for nearly 5 years, and we’ve watched her brand, Andre Glass Jewelry, take off over those past 5 years.


She credits much of her success to the power of the attentive mentorship and valuable connections she’s been able to form through the Flourish & Thrive community.


You don’t want to miss what she has to say about her journey…


Dawn DiGesare


Dawn first took Laying the Foundation with us in 2013 and has seen skyrocketed her business to a whole other level, and she continues to learn from the course even now.


In fact, just like Nicole, she is actually one of our Diamond Insiders coaches! 


Dawn shared with us a little about how her life – and her brand, daVoria Jewelry – has changed over these many years.


Carolyn Hasset

Last but not least, Carolyn seriously put in the work when she went through Laying the Foundation. 


Her business was doing well when she came to us, but it wasn’t growing. She had hit that dreaded plateau that is all too familiar to many makers.


Dedicated to up-leveling her business, By Carolyn Dunne, she showed up every day for LTF, and that effort paid off tremendously! 


Listen to the full episode above to hear these inspiring success stories straight from the source.


And don’t forget, enrollment for Laying the Foundation is open – but not for long!


xo, Tracy


Links:


Follow Nicole on Instagram!


Follow Tisha on Instagram!


Follow Dawn on Instagram!


Follow Carolyn on Instagram!


Episode #76: How to Market and Grow Your Brand Like a Boss-Lady Even When the Sh*t Hits the Fan with Nicole Gariepy


Laying The Foundation – Enrollment OPEN


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