This might sound strange to mention, but I’m not quite sure how much to talk at the beginning of posts about my day to day life. Some bloggers share quite a bit and readers love it, others bloggers keep pretty private and share only topical information. I’m not quite sure where I (should) land on that continuum. Any thoughts on this topic?
Small Business Questions: Answered!
On Monday, I asked for any business questions that I could answer for my Small Business series. Today I’d like to answer Maggie, Diana, and Eva’s questions. So here it goes.
Maggie – Trademarking
Oh, I love this series. You may know about this or not… trademarking. The process seems complicated. Have you done this? Is it necessary? Is there a simple guide to it (NOT the gov site? LOL)
Unfortunately, I have never personally dealt with trademarking. I have thought about doing it several times but always abandoned the project. However, I am a huge fan of Design Sponge’s Biz Ladies series. Other than Modish BizTips, it is the most practical resource for this kind of general information. In one post, Design Sponge takes on copyrights, this might be helpful. I’d also take a trip to your nearest Score Counselor and get some free advice.
Diana – Growing a Jewelry Business
love the blog! It’s been a great tool as a fellow entrepreneur!
Ok, so today I have a bit of a specific question to ask. I am a jewelry designer and my company has just ‘completed’ the following steps:
1. selling to friends, friends-of-friends, and other ‘fans’ online (Etsy.com)
2. selling to local stores (5 and counting…)
3. created a website (under construction)
4. just became an LLC
5. beginning to make contacts within the “fashion/design” world for runway, photography and collaboration opportunities
What do you suggest as the “next step” in order to continue company growth? (All listed below are goals/ideas, but I was curious to know if you had suggestions of how to prioritize, since you’ve “been there done that” )
– expand/develop an online store/website (outside of Etsy.com)
– continue getting into more stores (contact larger stores, “chain” stores, dept stores, stores in other states, etc)
– invest in advertising
– hire a sales rep
thanks so much and keep up the great work,
First of all, congratulations on your success thus far! You definitely have all of your initial bases covered. That is important. As you consider the future steps you mentioned, I recommend making a vision for the business you’d ideally like to have. Do you want this to be a full-time career or hobby/passion? Selling directly to customers is easier to do part-time. Wholesale generally has a higher time investment during the workday.
Do you dream of selling to stores across the country and doing wholesale mostly? If so, this would lean you towards an emphasis on getting yourself into more stores, talking to sales reps, and eventually doing trade shows. I’d prioritize more stores accounts, and making sure those stores do well with your pieces. Try to get your reorder rate as high as possible. Once you have a strong relationship with the buyer of your most profitable store, ask her who would be the best sale rep for you. Chances are, the buyer knows jewelry reps that can get you started (or at least give you advice).
On the other hand if you are focusing on retail, I’d think about advertising (blogs are a great place to start) and committing to either your Etsy site or a new separate site. Holiday shows are another great way to make retail dollar with your pieces. At any event you do, be sure to get the word out about your site with business cards and collect emails for an email newsletter. And finally, blogging can always help.
Eva – Blogging Consistently
Hi Jess, This is a blogging question, how did you become so diligent in your blogging, do you have a set schedule you follow?
Hah, it’s funny you mention that I’m so diligent when lately I’ve been feeling a bit off in my writing rhythm. The motivation behind the regularity is because I genuinely believe that sharing my experiences with making under and helping others do the same is part of my personal vocation. It’s simply what I’m meant to do. And at this point in my life, blogging is the best way to fulfill that mission.
As for my schedule, it varies day to day. Ideally, I like to write posts the day before. I also try to post by 7am CST in order to catch the early readers. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, my intention is to have five posts a week about a variety of topics including my personal makeunder, exfoliating, helpful articles I’ve read, and of course the DESIGN YOUR LIFE series.
Thank you so much for sharing your questions, Maggie, Diana, and Eva. If anyone else has a question, please leave a comment.