Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Elevator Pitch

Yesterday I attended a BNI meeting with a friend who invited me to join.  I had no idea what to expect.  I have never attended that sort of an event.  Half way through the meeting I had to stand up and give my 30 second commercial.  A couple of weeks ago I talked about forming my elevator pitch as one of my goals.  I had no idea that after weeks of procrastinating I would be forced to come up with it in about 5 minutes.   As I listened to members go around the room I got more and more nervous. What was I going to say that would define what I do and who I need a referral from?  I stood up (still had no idea what I was going to say) and it just came out.... "I am Samantha Larkins representing Samantha Louise Jewelry.  I design, create, and sell jewelry to individuals and stores nationwide.... Currently I am launching a line of bridesmaid jewelry.  This week my perfect referral would be brides interested in giving a unique gift to their attendants or bridal stores interested in adding a jewelry line to their dress colleciton."  If you have ever seen the movie Old School I felt a little bit like Will Ferrel during the competition for their fraternity house.  It was like I blacked out and it just came out.  It may not have been perfect, but it was way better than I hoped for.  It made me realize that its not as scary as I make it out to be.  After the meeting I got two referrals! It is amazing how putting yourself out there can actually pan out.  In general people want you to succeed and they are excited if you are excited.  There are so many aspects of running a small business that I never imagined would be part of my daily routine.  Networking is an important one. Surrounding myself with other businesses that want to see me succeed and are willing to point me in the right direction is a new concept for me. It is a powerful tool that I can wait to use.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Falling Out of Love with Jewelry

When I first moved to Colorado I was determined to take the jewelry industry by storm.  My internship with William Travis Jewelry had me jazzed about being out on my own.  I took on everything and thought I knew how to do everything!  I soon learned that building a business that is respected and successful takes lots of time, dedication, and hard work.  Its not that I wasn't willing to put in the work, I just believed it would come naturally. I worked really hard for about a year before I hit the wall.  Throughout that year the speed bumps were incredibly discouraging.  I was selling, but my technical skills were being challenged everyday and my lack of business experience was evident.  I was starting to hate it....I guess hate is a strong word,  but it was causing me a huge amount of stress.  On top of that I was lonely.  I had moved to a new city and I worked at home.  Besides my dog, Carolina, I was alone most of the day.  When my husband got home from work I would get in his face and chat chat chat chat...Mainly because I had no one to chat with all day long.  

By the end of my first year I was ready to throw in the towel.  Instead, I found a part time job in a totally different industry.  I helped a restauranteur open a restaurant.  It started out about 15 hours a week but, quickly increased to 40 or 50 hours a week.  It was fun, different, and I got to meet tons of people in my neighborhood.  The best thing it did for me was help me to look at my profession with new eyes.  I realized that starting any business is loads of hard work, but it is easier when you are passionate about what you do. I realized that I will always be passionate about the jewelry industry--The creative process, the freedom to make my own decisions, and the quiet focus that it takes to move a new piece form design to creation.  

When I was finally ready to continue on my path I did it with new eyes and new perspective and as a result the jobs kept rolling in.  Now in the spring of 2010 Samantha Louise Jewelry is finally taking off the way I had always hoped it would back in 2007 when I opened.  Several key elements are falling into place.  First, I have a renewed sense of passion for the craft and I cherish the time I have to design and to create.  Second, I have a better vision for what it takes to succeed and I have the dedication to make it possible.  My designs are better, my business practices are improving, and I am throwing myself out there in a way that I have not done in the past. Lastly, it is easier for me to remember that building my business is a marathon, not a sprint.  I am focused on the long term success of my brand and I am committed to seeing it through....

This year I will launch Signature Couture Collection... a little sneak peek below!