[143] Growing a Jewellery Design Business with Priyanka Kedia of AYVA

 

Today’s story is of a woman who has come full circle.

Priyanka hails from a family of jewellers in Mumbai, but calls San Francisco home.

After working in a corporate career, a certain life event made her realise how meaningful jewellery can be… and started her on a journey of creating her own jewellery design business.

Her brand, AYVA, is now stocked in stores all over the USA, and today she shares her story of becoming an entrepreneur and a designer – and all the ups and downs along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • It takes time to find the right match for your business when outsourcing product manufacturing.
  • The most difficult part of the process is finding the right place and you have to trust that they will do as good a job as you will do yourself.” {Priyanka}
  • Priyanka took a year to research and plan for her business but in the end she just had to launch.
  • “You have to throw perfection out the door when you are an entrepreneur.” {Priyanka}
  • Trade shows can be a good place to make connections with potential wholesalers.
  • Be confident, persistent and resilient when sourcing wholesalers. Rejections will happen.
  • “Jewellery is not necessarily just an accessory. It’s such an important object – it holds life’s best memories.” {Priyanka}
  • Work life balance may happen over weeks rather than days.
  • Priyanka is able to work with her teams overseas once her children have gone to bed.
  • Your business goals will shift and change as your business grows.
  • “You have set goals, but you’ve got to be flexible with them as well.” {Jess}

 


 

[137] Set Up an Effective Sales Funnel with Chanelle White

 

Do you have a mailing list for your handmade business?

Even if you haven’t started your business yet, you can start collecting email addresses to ensure that you start off with a bang.

If you do have a business, then you need to be using email marketing to grow it.

But how?

I’ve created a number of resources to help you set up and grow a successful list in the past.

(You can find 2 workshops on this in the Thriver Circle – Introduction to Email Marketing + Intermediate Email Marketing Strategies. Join the Circle and get access to these right now!)

Today, my guest is Chanelle White, who is a Shopify designer and strategist.

She and I talk sales funnels – the process of enticing folks to sign up to your email list… and what to do with them once they’re there!

Chanelle is going to be joining me in the Thriver Circle for a live chat about email funnels and Shopify on Wednesday the 28th of Feb, Brisbane time (this is Tuesday, 7pm Eastern US time). If you’re a member of the Circle, don’t miss this opportunity to pick the brain of an expert!

 

 

 

 

Quotes and Highlights from this episode:

  • Our guest today, Chanelle White, is a Shopify design expert.
  • A challenge many makers face is how to direct traffic to their website.
  • With a sales funnel, people interested in your product can opt in (often with a freebie as an incentive) and their details become part of your subscription base.
  • When building a website, this can be achieved by creating a landing page with a single offer or enticement.
  • For an established website, use pop-ups.
  • “Pop ups are a really great tool but you need to be strategic on how you use them” {Chanelle}
  • Avoid pop-ups being too invasive. Give website guests time to connect with your site before the pop-up engages or use an exit intent option.
  • “Be mindful and don’t be intrusive (with pop-ups). You want to make sure people want to stay on your website” {Chanelle}
  • If you have a stand-alone website, aim for a blog as well. Regular blogging builds your SEO and drives traffic to your site.
  • Blog content does not have to be solely promotional driven. Use this space to connect with customers and build relationships.
  • Email marketing is a powerful tool when used well. Ideally you will want to send emails weekly, but keep in mind your resource capabilities.
  • Use a conversion strategy in your emails by offering a discount or a special promotion and include an expiry date to encourage people to purchase now. But, be wary of holding sales or promotions too frequently and lessening their impact.
  • Email marketing is reliable – unlike social media there are no changes to algorithms and until your customer opts our you have direct communication.
  • Scarcity can be a powerful sales driver.
  • Experiment with scarcity buy creating a limited run of a companion products to your main line.
  • Find Chanelle online via her website.

*This page contains affiliate links. I only recommend products I have personally used or truly believe in.

 


Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
  • Leaving a review on iTunes.
  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible.

 


 

[135] Top Tips for Launching a New Product

Do you want to do a better job of launching your products?

Or perhaps you are still in the process of building your business, and haven’t yet launched at all.

Maybe you want to set up a regular launch schedule for not only new products, but new product lines.

Whatever you want to launch, this episode will give you some tips and strategies that will increase the likelihood of your launch being a success!

If you’d like more on this topic, I’m going to be releasing a whole workshop in March over in the Thriver Circle that covers this content and much more – AND we’re going to have a #LaunchParty project, so keep an eye out for that!

Finally – if you want an intensive guide to getting your business and shop launched, you might like to join me in March for Set Up Shop, my 30-day course that will help you go from Go to Whoa!

You can find out more here.

 

Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
  • Leaving a review on iTunes.
  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible. You’ll also get a member-exclusive episode every month!

 

 

Quotes and Highlights in this episode:

  • When launching a new product or line it is important to build buzz and anticipation.
  • Word of warning: some launches are going to very successful and some less so. Don’t be disheartened!
  • “Unsuccessful launches happen to everyone. If it does happen to you don’t let it stop you!”
  • Jess shares a story of early Epheriell product launch experiences.
  • If your launches do not perform to your expectations, analyse why. Did you stay “on brand” for your business? Is this something where there is a customer out there for this?
  • Share the process with ideas, prototypes, sketches on social media. Ask your audience what they think.
  • Bring your audience into the development of your product and build a sense of connection.
  • Set a date to provide a clear end point for both you and your customer.
  • Do not miss your date! Do everything you can to make it a reality.
  • If something happens and you can’t make the date, clearly communicate this to your audience.
  • Create a buzz by providing a discount or preorder to people on your mailing list to build a subscription base.
  • Promote your launch and special offer to drive traffic to your opening deal.
  • Create an event around your launch and remember this doesn’t have to be a huge event! Take advantage of an upcoming market, work with a local stockist, host an online live event or more.
  • “If you’re nervous about it, the best time to do it when nobody is watching”

 

Want to set up online for the first time? Or overhaul your online shop? Join me for Set Up Shop, starting March 12.

Why I Don’t Have a Free Facebook Group for My Business

 

Do you want to start a Facebook Group for your business?

Perhaps you already have one. Perhaps you’re thinking about it. It’s something I’ve considered many times over the years.

With the changes to the Facebook algorithms this past January, Facebook groups are being touted by many as the saviour of Facebook marketing for small business.

It makes sense, in a way – with Facebook more heavily emphasising community and connection with friends and family, posts from groups are being shown way more in our feeds than ever before.

But I’m still not going to start a free Facebook group.

I made this decision many years ago, and I’ve stuck to it, despite the changing landscape of Facebook.

With the rise of groups, and many people encouraging businesses of all stripes – including makers – to start and grow their own groups, I wanted to share my thoughts on the topic, and discuss why I choose not to have a free group – but why you might.

 

Time

 

This was always a huge deciding factor for me, and it’s only been reinforced lately. I’ve seen a number of folks who invested immense amounts of time into growing huge Facebook groups who have since had to shut them down.

Why?

Because they simply didn’t have the time to manage them.

Some of them had to hire multiple moderators to help them. But even then, it got to the point where they had to let the group go.

Now, I have a couple of Facebook groups.

I’ve had my Set Up Shop group since I started running that course in 2013. I am only active in that group when I’m running a live course, usually twice a year.

I have other groups for other courses.

My main group is, of course, my Thriver Circle group, which I am active in every single weekday.

So I know, from personal experience, how much time groups take to run.

If you’ve never run one, this is a really, really important point.

They take a LOT of time. I cannot stress this enough.

Not only do you have to manage people joining, moderate conversations, enforce your rules… you also have to work hard to keep the group engaged and lively.

With a free group, there will always been tons of competition – tons of other similar groups that your members could easily end up spending their time in instead of yours.

Of course, that is true with my groups, too… but the difference is, I am being compensated for the time I spend on them, because all of the people in them have paid to have access.

Now, to be clear, they haven’t paid to have access to the group per se. They’ve paid for access to my courses, or to my community, and Facebook is simply the platform I choose to use to run my community forum.

If Facebook turned around tomorrow and shut my groups down? I would just take those people elsewhere. Because they aren’t there to be in a Facebook group – they’re there to be part of a community I’ve created.

 

Access

 

This definitely follows on from number 1.

I have limited time. I run 2 businesses. I have a life outside of my work!

When I started the Thriver Circle, I decided to use Facebook as the place to host my community forum. I chose it because I knew it would foster interaction, because when you have your forum elsewhere (such as on your stand-alone site) you have to work a lot harder to remind people to come over and participate.

I wanted my members to have access to me, and to each other, in a simple, easy-to-access environment. It’s easy for them to access the group, and each other. This is a big upside of a Facebook group, and why they’ve become so successful.

Moreover, one of the benefits of being part of the Circle is that members have direct access to me.

They can ask me questions, and they know I’ll answer.

They’ve invested in me – and I’m invested in them.

I knew that I would not have the energy to give myself constantly to people in a free Facebook group. I wanted to save my energy for the people who have invested in learning from me. Because when people make an investment in learning from you, I believe they dive deeper, and put more of themselves into the process.

Following on from this: if I had a free Facebook group alongside my course and membership groups, I don’t believe it would be fair to my students.

The ones who have paid for my time and expertise.

I believe I’d be doing them a disservice.

This is a very big part of why I still choose to not have a free group. Because I owe my paying students my energy and guidance, and I want to make sure they are getting the best of me.

 

Ownership

 

You do not own your Facebook group. Facebook owns your Facebook group.

Herein lies the risk of building your community or marketing on a platform that you do not own. There is always the chance that it can be taken away from you. Or that it won’t work so well any more when they change things (just look at what’s happening to Facebook Pages and Instagram feeds).

If you invest enormous amounts of time in growing your community and presence on Facebook, it could definitely have wonderful benefits for your business.

The reason it works well is that people are on Facebook anyways, so if they are in your group, and get your notifications, they are consistently reminded of your business.

But you do not own it.

What do you own?

You own your own website.

You own your mailing list.

You own your business.

That’s about it.

Really think deeply about this when you’re making the choice of where to spend your limited marketing time and energy.

If you want to build a business that is based around community – where it’s important that the community have access to each other, not just you, then a Facebook group or something similar may be a great choice for you.

But I would strongly recommend that you spend at least an equal amount of time fostering and growing your mailing list. The thing you own.

You can combine the two! Use your group to promote your list. Let people in your group know about special deals that they can only get if they are on your list. That is a strategy that could work really well.

But don’t fall into the trap of spending all of your time growing a group that you don’t have ownership of. Move those people onto your list, so that no matter what happens to Facebook, you will still have a way to connect with them.

 

Should You Have a Free Group?

 

Am I a member of free groups? Of course! There are a number that I am a member of, and participate in semi-regularly.

I’m not anti-free-Facebook-groups.

They’re simply not the right choice for me, at this time.

They could be a great choice for you, but just keep in mind the three issues I outlined above: time, access, and ownership.

Make sure, if you do start a group, you’re going into it with eyes wide open so you can make your group an asset, rather than a liability.

 

 

My Yearly Review – 2017 Edition

 

Since I’ve been sharing the #LookBackMoveForward process and course with you this week, I decided to also share some of my own review findings from the year just gone.

I decided at the beginning of 2017 that this would be a ‘consolidation’ year – my year of not starting anything new.

Pretty much every year since I started business – back in 2008 – I’ve started a major new project (or multiple new projects!).

This year, I wanted to solidify what I had done, and take a bit of a break from creating anything new. This was our first full year in our new home, and I’ve been loving just enjoying my home and family.

Funnily enough – alongside this, I inadvertently did the same in my personal life. I usually have at least one personal ‘project’ going at any one time, but this year, I haven’t – I’ve just been enjoying what I already have in my life.

Taking the pressure off has allowed me to have more space in my life – more time to relax and enjoy the lifestyle that my businesses allow me to have.

Now, as the year draws to a close, I’m feeling a new surge of energy, and I’ve got tons of ideas of where I want to take my work into the new year and beyond.

Let’s have a look at how my businesses went in 2017.

 

Epheriell

 

We saw sales slow down a little in the jewellery business this year, and there have been a couple of reasons for this:

 

  1. We have had 2 major vacations this year – a 3-week trip to Japan, and a 5-week trip to the UK. We had to close up shop for 5 and 7 weeks respectively for these holidays, so that was almost 3 months of the year where we weren’t earning any income from Epheriell.
  2. We released literally zero new designs in 2017. All of our orders have come from pre-existing designs.
  3. We closed the shop on our own website in October, and since then we’ve been working on a re-design, with a planned re-launch in early Jan 2018.
  4. I took a bit of a step back from marketing this year, so most of our sales have come strictly via organic traffic and searches.

 

I was originally considering taking a sabbatical from the jewellery business this year, but ultimately, decided against it. Instead, we kind of set it on auto-pilot.

Sales have still been good (a solid few thousand dollars a month) but I can, by now, see the results of this approach (i.e. a slow decline in sales), and am ready to step things up again!

I’ve put together a plan for the new year – incorporating monthly marketing tasks, regular releases of new designs, and an increase in social media and blogging.

I’m most excited about a new range of wedding rings we’re releasing in January. For those outside of Australia, you may not know, but same-sex marriage has just been (finally!) passed into law here, so we’re going to celebrate that with our new release, and we’re planning on donating a percentage of sales of this line for a period of time to a LGBTQI youth charity.

 

Create & Thrive and the Thriver Circle

 

The biggest change during 2017 was that I moved away from doing monthly video workshops, into running monthly projects for my membership community, the The Thriver Circle. This has been super-fun, and it’s been a great way for the members to work alongside each other to move their businesses forward. However, I started to feel like I wanted to get back to offering more fresh content to members each month, while only doing a few video workshops a year.

 

There are a few big changes happening in 2018:

  1. I’ve decided to experiment by moving from having membership windows to having evergreen membership. That is – rather than the doors only being open a few times a year, the doors will be open all the time! This means people can join the Circle when it suits them, rather than when it suits me. There are a number of logistical reasons why I’ve avoided doing this up to now, but I’ve decided to give it a try and see how it goes. I was getting a bit of launch fatigue (running effectively the same launch 4x per year) and I’m sure a number of my email subscribers and community were feeling the same. This way, I won’t be running so many big launches – I will be, instead, consistently reminding folks about the Circle and all the benefits of membership via the podcast, blog, email list, and social media channels, while still aiming to produce top-quality free content for everyone.
  2. I am moving from having a weekly podcast to having a twice-monthly podcast. Mostly, this is so I have more time to spend on other content. I’m going to be releasing a Q&A video on YouTube at least once a month, for example – and I plan on uploading the audio of that to the podcast feed, too. Also, it’s because I’m not sure a weekly in-depth podcast was even necessary. After all, everyone is busy! By balancing the longer, in-depth episodes with shorter bite-sized videos, I’m aiming to draw in some new people. I’m also hoping to get back to creating proper written content once in a while! This is the first proper written post I’ve done in a long time.
  3. That said, I am still going to be producing 3 meaty podcast episodes a month – but the third one will be members-only for the Thriver Circle. As I said above, I love doing the projects, but I felt that the long-term, loyal members (the ones who’ve taken all the workshops and completed the Your Year to Thrive Program) might have been missing out due to the lack of new teaching content. So – this is my way of bringing that back to the members: making my best episode each month for them, because they are the ones supporting me, and without them, the free podcast wouldn’t exist.

 

I also did a re-design on the Thriver Circle website this year, which I’ve been tweaking consistently – and will probably continue to do so until I’m completely happy with it. The Circle has been running for 3 years now, and I felt it was time for a re-fresh of the look and feel of the site.

My aim is to also update the Create & Thrive site to bring the design up to ‘the now’, since it hasn’t changed since I launched in 2013, and I feel like it’s a bit dated. My goal is to have this complete by April 2018.

I don’t currently have any plans to launch new courses in 2018… but this may change, as I’m currently going through a period of growth and ideas, so I’m open to what might arise out of this.

2018 is also the last time I plan on running the Wholesale Know-How course ‘live’. After this, I’m aiming to convert it into a self-study course.

I’m looking to work directly with more makers via my Shop Scrutiny services. (P.S. If you’re a Thriver Circle member, hold off on purchasing one of these until February… you guys are going to get a special deal!). I really love helping people improve their shops and websites, so I want to be a bit more vocal about the fact I offer this service, as I very rarely talk about it!

Finally – I will be running Set Up Shop twice in 2018 – probably March and October, though I haven’t yet set concrete dates.

And that, thrivers, is that!

I’ve been teaching this stuff here on C&T since 2013 – and for even longer on my old blog. I’m in the absolutely wonderful position now of seeing a number of makers who found me at the beginning of their businesses journey’s making a full-time living from their craft.

I’m really excited about what 2018 will bring, and about helping even more people to realise their dream of growing a thriving, profitable handmade business.

Here’s to a wonderful new year! 

~ Jess x

P.S. If you’re reading this before January 8th, and you’d like my help to set yourself up for the best year your biz has ever had, don’t miss the Handmade Biz Bootcamp. It’s a 21-day program that will help you find your focus for the year, gain clarity about the purpose of your biz, and create a rock-solid plan for your business. If you sign up now, you can get the whole bootcamp for just $15!

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