How do you sustain a successful jewellery design business over decades – and through 2 major global financial crises?

My friend, and guest today – Tracy Matthews – is a jewellery designer, entrepreneur, mentor to creative visionaries and the host of the top-rated, Thrive By Design Podcast.

Her passion is helping people tap into their unique creative brilliance factor to make more money and impact. She’s been featured in InStyle, Elle, Us Weekly, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Weddings, Entrepreneur, and the Today Show and interviewed on various media outlets including Yahoo Finance, American Fashion Podcast, EOFire, SoMoney and Creative Live.

As the Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish & Thrive Academy, she helps other jewellery brands launch, grow and scale profitable jewellery businesses. Over the years, she’s inspired creative thinkers to use their innate gifts to grow their businesses.

At Creatives Rule the World, she helps creative visionaries of entrepreneurial companies to spend more time in their creative zone of genius which results in more inspired teams, increased profitability and a lot more fun in business.

In this episode, Tracy shares how she got started in jewellery design back in the 90s, and how she’s evolved her business over time in response to personal and global changes to keep it strong and profitable.

You can listen to this episode below, or on your fave podcasting app!

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Highlights from this episode:

  • Tracy first studied jewellery making during college and after she graduated started a wholesale jewellery business that was stocked in over 350 stores internationally.
  • In the wake of the global financial crisis, Tracy closed her wholesale business and pivoted in a new direction.
  • She then opened a new direct-to-customer jewellery business which now pays her more money than when she ran her wholesale business.
  •  Tracy has used her business experiences to establish the Flourish & Thrive Academy to help new jewellery designers and makers.   
  • “Sales techniques and relationship building are timeless qualities and it is something that will work for any kind of business model for the long haul” {Tracy}
  • Tracy used networking, referrals and a sales representative to make connections for her wholesale work. 
  • It is much easier to connect with buyers now than when Tracy started her wholesale business in the late 1990s.
  • “You have to expect that if you’re paying the $15,000 dollars to be in one of these prominent shows that your first couple of times showing there is a good chance you may or may not make your money back and view this as a marketing expense not a sales expense” {Tracy}
  • As her wholesale business grew, Tracy’s team grew and her production was outsourced. 
  • As the creative business owner, you will need to decide what degree of “hand-on” for each of your products feel right when considering whether to outsource. Reflect on if you want to be personally involved in every step or if there are aspects you are comfortable with others completing.
  • “There’s a cap if you are doing everything yourself. There’s a natural ceiling to what you can achieve because there are only so many hours in the day and only so much time you have” {Jess}
  • Etsy can be a good starting space for new makers but it is essential to set up your own website.
  • You have a business and Etsy happens to be one of the platforms you sell on” {Jess}
  • Tracy recommends Shopify for setting up an e-commerce site.
  • When setting up or reinvigorating your site, investigate the features and sales process of shops that you like to buy from and mirror the best elements.
  • “We know that an about page on a website with a really strong brand story is one of the best conversion tools for people to get to the next step” {Tracy}
  • Have a consistent and recognisable look to your product images.
  • “People buy from people. They are not just buying products” {Tracy}
  • Include social proof on your website to build trust and sell your product including press, reviews and testimonials.
  • A strong mailing list is a valuable tool during these COVID-19 times. Invest time to build this up.

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