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Designs on Marketing: What Are Your Long-Term Goals?
Former jewelry designer Jacqueline Stone stresses the importance of planning in her first column on jewelry marketing.
Admittedly, I fell into the world of marketing consulting completely by accident. In 2016 I decided to move from New York City to Boulder, Colorado. I knew this would change my career trajectory and, honestly, I wasn’t sure what the future had in store but the goal outweighed the risk for me. I had been a part of the New York hustle for over 14 years and was ready for a better work-life balance. Plus, the mountains were calling!
I packed all my worldly possessions in a pod, and into my car went the remainder of my gear along with my faithful companion Velcro, a black cat who, as I learned, does not enjoy the open road.
Jacqueline Stone has a background in finance, marketing, advertising, product development, fine jewelry manufacturing, design and sourcing. She can be reached at email@example.com.My first year in the Rocky Mountains wasn’t exactly a joy ride.
I truly appreciated the beautiful landscape and the low-key lifestyle, but apparently I wasn’t alone. The Denver area has become one of the most heavily populated cities in recent years. Word has gotten out about this gorgeous and vibrant city and unfortunately, there are more people here than jobs.
My plan was to head back into the corporate grind, this time working for one of the amazing Colorado companies that truly believes in a 35-hour work week. But after months of searching I finally resigned myself to my old lifestyle. I started working as a nanny again for a wonderful family and kept creating custom jewelry for private clients.
Luckily I had built enough of a reputation that orders kept trickling in. However, it was no longer bringing me any joy and because of that, my business suffered. (You can read more about the final chapter of my fine jewelry business in my last Designer’s Diary column.)
Along the way I became friends with folks at the Boulder Metalsmithing Association. I started helping them with their Instagram account in exchange for discounts on classes. The director, Beth Merkel, suggested I give a class on digital marketing. I laughed, but agreed to give it a shot. It turns out I knew a lot more than I thought I did. All of those of years of blood, sweat and tears were paying off, but in a much different direction.
Through that opportunity I was introduced to my very first client, Adorned by Nomad, a gift shop in downtown Boulder that stocks jewelry from more than 40 local artists. It was a natural fit as I’m excellent at bragging about other artists’ work (though not so much my own).
When I started my journey as a marketing consultant, I didn’t really have any processes or procedures in place and instead took an in-depth look at my client’s business model as a paying customer to find any places for improvement.
As time went on I became more focused. I started paying attention to analytics. I created templates for all my clients to fill out before we started putting together a strategic marketing plan.
“The first step to success is truly taking the emotion out of your finances.”
But for this first “Designs on Marketing” column I think it makes more sense to back up and start the same way I start with every one of my clients: Let’s define your long-term goals.
In order to define your business’ long-term goals you need to start with your present-day reality. Grab a piece of paper and your tax returns. Maybe even get your accountant on the line. What were your sales numbers for last year? What was your gross income? Net income? This exercise is so helpful.
Once you have those numbers I then ask you to set a realistic goal for the year ahead. We break it down annually, monthly and daily.
Financial ambiguity is probably one of the biggest mistakes I made as a jewelry designer. When I sold a set of earrings I felt like my first-born child just got adopted into a good home. It’s hard to put a price tag on that, isn’t it? But the first step to success is truly taking the emotion out of your finances. How much money do you need to make each year to be financially solvent? To pay all your bills on time? To feel somewhat comfortable and give up the day job? Let’s start there.
Once you’ve created that new yearly goal (based upon last year’s numbers), it’s time to break it down for each month and review your distribution channels.
For example, if you only sell retail you likely are going to stack income in November and December (the holiday season) while other months could be slow.
However if you are adhering only to a wholesale model you might want to look at June, July and August as being your biggest months of cash flow for the year. Retailers are preparing in advance and that’s likely when they are going to place their largest orders. Maybe e-commerce is your jam. When do you see the most sales throughout the year? Is summer quiet and the holiday season slammed, or vice versa?
On a new piece of paper write down each of the months of the year. Next to each month put your financial goal and then an aspirational goal right next to it. Dreams are a good thing to have and, a lot of time, just having clarity around these numbers can help things move in the right direction.
Now you’ve got your numbers for each month. Break that down weekly, perhaps daily for a retail outlet. The really interesting part is now figuring out how you are going to achieve those goals. What marketing initiatives will you employ? Will you use social media? How about a newsletter? Blog? Search engine optimization (SEO)? I plan on going through all of these key pieces in a strategic marketing plan each month to help you build out a plan for success.
What’s difficult about marketing is that there is no magic bullet. At first, it’s a lot of experimentation and I ask all my clients to give me three to six months before they see any results. About the time they are getting frustrated is when we see things start to move in the right direction. Please keep this in mind as you try new things.
In the coming months, I’ll be talking a lot more about Google Analytics, which is a very useful tool to track your progress. However, I don’t want to overwhelm you in this first column. I think getting clarity around your financial numbers is an amazing first step.
Some of my clients print out that daily sales goal and put it on their cash wrap or hang it somewhere in their studio. Try starting each day with saying the goal out loud. Don’t scoff until you try it! I had one of my clients do this and she started hitting that goal every day it was communicated with the team. Never doubt the power of intention.
Please stay tuned for a column all about the best practices for Instagram. I know there are so many questions out there on how to increase your digital footprint and I plan on addressing them all.
In the meantime, please let me know in the comments below if you have any other pressing marketing questions, or feel free to email me directly. I plan on bringing in some of my very talented friends in the marketing space to provide helpful information that you can incorporate into your daily business practices.
Jacqueline Stone has a background in finance, marketing, advertising, product development, fine jewelry manufacturing, design and sourcing. She was the chief creative officer of her company, Salt + Stone and now is the CEO of her marketing consulting and coaching business. Stone can still be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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