We're going to be dipping our toe into the US market by opening a dedicated online jewellery (or jewelry) store to cater to our lovely American customers, with prices in local currency and fast local delivery. Exciting times!
I've decided to share some background as to how Simone Walsh Jewellery got to this point as it's been a long and sometimes difficult journey. This is a bit of a long story, so gather 'round.
In the beginning ...
It was New Year's Eve a bit over 3 years ago when I sat on my front porch with a dear old friend drinking endless glasses of wine and lamenting the state of my business.
Things were going well ... and yet not at the same time. I'd just been through another extremely busy Christmas, my hands were worked almost to the bone and I was truly, madly and deeply exhausted from far too many 100+ hour working weeks in a row.
It had been a successful year, yet I was still finding finances a struggle. My friend suggested all sorts of marketing ideas, before he understood that I was one marketing success away from certain failure: I physically couldn't manage to make more jewellery than I was already. A major new influx of customers could potentially kill my business as I wouldn't be able to fill the orders.
We discussed the option of having my jewellery designs manufactured elsewhere, but I was very worried about my customer base being unhappy about my designs being mass-produced - and I didn't feel very comfortable about it either.
It all felt like a bit of a trap and I couldn't see a way through it. We spent the whole night talking about it and and vaguely plotted a course of action. You can read a bit about my thinking at the time in this blog post.
A change in course
Coming as a great surprise to everyone we knew (not least ourselves) that dear old friend is now my husband. True story!
These days we run Simone Walsh Jewellery together as a family business and with my husband's fresh perspective and business acumen we've made a lot of changes.
The key change has been to take the plunge and partner with a really excellent and ethically-run jewellery workshop in Indonesia. We personally visited the workshop to make sure we felt happy with this solution before starting work.
As a result we now have skilled artisans helping to hand-make many of our components, while most of our jewellery designs are still finished and assembled in our Australian workshop - and many pieces still are made here from scratch by me personally. This is a solution I'm very comfortable with and so far it's working very well.
I'm now free to spend more time on business planning, customer relations, design and marketing. And I no longer need to be frightened of a too-successful marketing campaign. The extra time and brain space has allowed us to upgrade our packaging, change how we're shipping products, have the business re-branded, build a new website, explore new business ideas and much more besides.
The New Year's Eve just gone saw the two of us again sitting on the front porch drinking too much wine, but my fingers were in fine shape and I felt relaxed and happy. What a difference.
Coming back to where it all began
As a result of Simone Walsh Jewellery having a lot more capacity we've decided to dip our toes into the US market, with a dedicated online jewellery shop in local currency with fast local delivery.
This is where my business first got started in terms of selling online. It was way back in 2006 that I decided to take a punt on a new website called Etsy. I was fairly convinced that nobody would buy jewellery online, but it looked like an easy way to list a few items and see what happened.
What happened - to my surprise - was that my jewellery almost instantly started selling. Very quickly I realised that running an online shop was going to work for me after all. Soon enough I set up my own independent online shop and moved away from Etsy.
At the time almost all of my customers were in the United States. Australians were still pretty uncomfortable with shopping online, but Americans had well and truly embraced it. That all changed by 2009 after the global financial crisis had hit: the US economy was in a very bad way, Australia was doing okay and Australians were finally happy to be buying online. My US-based customers rapidly decreased in number, while my Australian customers rapidly increased, so Australia is where my focus has been ever since.
Now in 2017 we feel the time is right to set up shop in the USA. Much research and planning has gone into this project. We're currently busy building a new online shop, getting a warehouse and delivery service established, sorting out financial arrangements and endlessly reminding ourselves to spell 'jewellery' as 'jewelry' in all the right places.
We hope that we'll be live in the USA in mid-to-late July. Hooray!
If you're in the US you can get onboard early by joining our new mailing list right here. If you get in quick you might even nab yourself a $15 gift card to spend when the shop opens. Plus you'll be first to know when we launch.
If you have friends or family in the US, we'd love you long time if you could spread the word.