Good afternoon .. It's Fridays Feature :)
This week we are talking to Jill from Georgia, of blue piranha She shapes precious metal into jewelry that merges minimalist style with urban glamour. Enjoy ...
Tell us a little bit about yourself...
My name is Jill Sharp. My business name is Blue Piranha Jewelry. My favorite hobby was jewelry design, but not that's how I make my living. Other hobbies (except for maybe shoe shopping) have fallen by the wayside. :) I began designing jewelry in 1998 and took the leap to business in 2002. It's been a wild, fascinating ride, and I wouldn't trade my day job for anything.
How long have you been in business?
In business for 7 years.
Did you start your business full time? if not, what made you take that leap into running your business full time?
As I mentioned, I was a hobbyist first. The leap came after I was laid off from a corporate job and we moved across the country. My husband was also laid off (same company as me; we met at work) and we moved from AZ to GA for his career. When we moved to GA, I began my business.
Did you write a business plan? or do you set regular goals to achieve?
I am terrible with the biz plan, but I do write a loose one every year to keep me on track. I have a list of goals to accomplish and work toward those.
What selling venues do you use?
My main revenue venue is festivals. I don't exhibit at small craft fairs, because I found that I am too high-priced or art-y for them. I apply for larger, heavily juried art festivals, because those bring my targeted customers to the event. I also have had an online site since I began my business. It doesn't bring a huge amount of revenue, but more than pays for itself every year. I have been wholesaling to retailers for the last three years or so. I opened my Etsy shop in January but didn't actually list products until April. I also have an ArtFire site, a shop on 1000Markets, and a Trunkt portfolio.
Give us one tip on how you stay motivated (to run your business full time)?
Motivation! I really have two things that regularly motivate me: a. I am passionate about what I do and love the challenges of running my own business b. I never, ever want to go back to a corporate job.
Where do you draw your design inspiration from to keep coming up with fresh ideas?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. I have a sketchbook and draw out ideas to play with as time permits. I currently have ideas for at least four new collections; it's just finding the time, and growing my skill set, to start working on them. Every time I learn a new skill I am thinking about how I can use it in designing. I learn by doing - very hands-on - so I've dabbled in PMC, fabrication, and other classes to get a feel for how I can broaden my skills.
What is your best advice on customer service?
Be consistent and respectful. To me, customer service is part of the Golden Rule - treat others as you wish to be treated. Respect them as individuals and understand their needs. Then supply those needs. And treat everyone well. This results in very loyal customers.
If you could offer one piece of advice to someone just starting a business, what would that be?
Don't operate from fear. No business can succeed without taking risks. Just starting a business is a risk! I spent time worrying about what people would think - what if I didn't succeed? What if no one liked my creations? What if I went to a show and sold nothing? What if I spent money on something that didn't work out? Once I really said to myself, "Well, what if that happens?" and realized that it wouldn't kill me, or kill the business, I stopped worrying so much. Now I view selling and marketing as a challenge. Kind of like a game. The rewards are out there; it's up to me to figure out how to reach them.
If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be? LOL sorry had to add this, I feel like Barbara Walters - haha - I was going to take this out but there have been some great answers so I left it in :)
A maple! Colorful, solid, and I'll be sweet if you want some sugar. :)
Places you can find Bluepirahna:
My own website is www.bpjewelry.com
1000 Markets is http://www.1000markets.com/users/bluepiranha
ArtFire is: http://www.artfire.com/users/bluepiranha
Thank you so much Jill for taking the time, it is appreciated!
Have a wonderful day everyone ..