EP385: Her Jewelry Business Became a Safe Haven From an Abusive Relationship
12:02AM Jan 24, 2023
When I was first starting out, it was primarily just there in person events. And then as like, my business progressed and I started getting more skills and I started like dialing in my design style, my vision changed.
Welcome to thrive by design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing and scaling your business. So you could spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make money. You ready? All right, let's do this. Welcome to the thrive by design podcast episode 385. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews here, chief visionary officer of Flourish & Thrive Academy. And once again, I'm back with another episode. So this is a subject today that doesn't necessarily come lightly, but I hope that it will empower and inspire people who've been in a similar situation to number one, get some support, but also understand and fully actualize what their jewelry business actually does for themselves, their confidence and their mental health. So today, I'm interviewing a very brave guest. Her name is Claire Steckel. And she talks about how her jewelry business helped her get out of an abusive relationship and gave her the confidence to move forward and quit her job to go all in on her jewelry business. Now, before I dive into the intro for this episode, if you or someone you know is in danger, or in a domestic violence or abusive relationship, or any sort of things where you might feel your safety is that harm, please ask for help. And go ahead get help, you can head on over to the domestic violence hotline over at 800 799 safe that's S A F E and get some support right there. I'll also have a link to this number in our show notes. So I wanted to dive in to this episode with Claire. Before I do I wanted to know Are you joining us for my free masterclass next week called how to stand out in a saturated market with a timeless jewelry brand. I'm going to be uncovering the five trade secrets that your competitors don't want you to know or you might not even know yourself. And if you're someone who's wanting to launch into your business full time, this masterclass is going to be super helpful for you. And even if you're someone who wants to build a side hustle where you don't have competition, and you have consistent sales coming in that support your family and create financial security for you and your kin. Then please head on over to flourish thrive academy.com forward slash timeless brand. One of my favorite things about this masterclass is I share a case study of one of our students who literally followed the advice of something that I said on this masterclass and she ended up selling out of her jewelry within hours after just taking this one piece of advice. And so if you want to know what it is register for class show up live we've got a couple of options so that you can attend live, and I'll see you there once again head on over to flourish thrive academy.com forward slash timeless brand. All right, let me introduce Claire before we get started, she's a tenacious owner and designer behind Scotland jewelry. Originally having a background in the culinary industry. Her jewelry journey began in 2014 as a hobby and grew into a career by 2019 and turned into a full time gig in 2021. So let's dive in to today's episode. Well, I am super excited to have another guest on the show today. Claire Steckel of Scotland jewelry. Claire, welcome. Hi. I'm excited to have you here. And we're going to talk a little bit about your business and how you've grown and some of the things that have happened since you've taken our Laying The Foundation program. So thanks. I'm so excited to talk to you about that. Yeah, I'm
really excited to be here.
So my first question is always tell me about your journey into jewelry. Like how did you get become a jewelry designer? How did you start making jewelry, all the things
I started about eight years ago at this point, it started as just like, basic beading. I had a local bead store when I lived in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and it was the walking distance of my first apartment. I got really bored one day and I just like meandered in and this woman showed me how to make a bracelet and from there it just kind of like took off as a hobby for many years and then I finally pursued it full time in middle of 2021
That's awesome. It looks like you're not making beaded jewelry anymore, though.
Nope, not at all.
Tell me about your designs.
Well, I would say my designs They have definitely a mix of like different influences. Like I bring in like fantasy influences. Um, there's also like edgy, like terrain influences in there. There's like even some medieval or historical influences. It's kind of like a concoction of these different things that I'm really inspired by. And I try to kind of kind of like almost develop that into like a specific type of style that I try to carry forth into most of my pieces.
Smart girl. You got your signature style dialed in. Which is great. For people who are listening on the podcast, you can't see this. But behind Claire, there was some really cool imagery. Tell me about that. Is that like, are those your muses behind you?
A little bit. I know that behind me, there is a tarot card of strength. That's kind of definitely like symbolic for me. When I was picking that out. I was like, I definitely wanted something that would like inspire me. So I was like, I need to have this on the wall. And then there's like a bunch of other pieces of artwork that are actually by a local artist called codename share Gearheart. And she's very well known in the area. She does like tattooing, and she has a very specific artistic style.
I can tell it seems like it kind of works with your jewelry too. Yeah. Kind of the same vibe or something?
Yeah, it's kind of similar. Yeah.
So how are you currently selling your jewelry?
Right now it's primarily online. When I first got started, like, I was selling out a lot of renaissance fairs. This was probably like seven years ago. And then, as I kind of transitioned and got more goldsmithing skills I transitioned to online. And it's been primarily Etsy for a long time. But this last year, I've started bringing in a lot more sales from Amazon, my website sales school, and jewelry.com has increased by over 500% Compared to 2020. And then I've also kind of started branching back out into just meeting people face to face and selling at pop
events as well. That's awesome. Are you still doing the renaissance fairs?
Not right now? No, right now, like I remember when I first did it, my job was at a much lower price point, which seemed to appease a lot of people. So right now, if I were to get back into doing that, I'd probably pursue a bigger festival like the Bristol renaissance fair, not some of the smaller ones that I was doing before.
That's cool. The reason why I say that is like I've only heard of two people selling jewelry at renaissance fairs and our community. And I've interviewed both of you. It's kind of funny. So I interviewed clay Flom, twice last year, Clay she worked for us for a while as our customer service manager and then she was helping us with coaching and in our community. And throughout the time that she's taken Laying The Foundation and all those things her business grew to like a multiple six figure business. But she would always be like, Tracy, I'm out for a week because I'm going to be at the renaissance fair. And she's like, would crush it at the renaissance fairs.
Yeah. renaissance fairs. They used to be like I used to get quite a bit of sales. They were pretty much my only sales channel for a long time. So
Yeah, I think I'd like to do them again at some point. But yeah, right now it just makes sense to do online.
That's like a lot of people's dream is to be able to really grow their online sales so that they can do what they love make the jewelry and you know, just sell it to people who find them on the internet. Yeah. So what was your strategy or plan are you kind of talked about this your strategy, or plan to making sales and getting your business kind of ramped up when you start it was a just the renaissance fairs pretty much
what I was just getting started. It was a mix. It was primarily renaissance fairs. But I also did other things like kind of like witchy, like, hippie events as well. That was the way that I started. And then as like, my business progressed, and I started getting more skills, and I started like dialing in my design style, my vision changed. So I was like, I don't know if this is exactly what I want to do anymore. And this is kind of what I'm striving for.
So what was your strategy or plan to like, start marketing your business in the beginning,
the start marketing in the beginning, like very beginning, when I was first starting out, it was primarily just there in person events. And then as I increased my skills, and started dialing in my design style, I was like, Okay, I probably need to shift because where I wanted to go, I wasn't quite making those sales at the events that I was doing. So I was like, I need to find a way to reach the clients that were going to buy my work. So I ended up pivoting online.
Okay, that's cool. That's awesome. And as you're like growing your business, how did you start to like build momentum like in the energy to keep going like what inspired you to keep going?
That's actually it's kind of a mix of factors. I was going through a lot of difficult challenges and relationships in my personal life. And at one point, my business was actually a safe haven from a an abusive relationship, I spent a lot of time, like just working to be away from that. And then I also kind of ran into realizing that I don't necessarily do well, in a corporate like nine to five setting work for somebody else. So I was like, I do my best work working for myself. So I should probably know, to the best of myself and to pull the best out of myself. I should really consider pursuing this full time.
That's awesome. And how long have you been full time and your jewelry business?
I would say it's been about, like, seven months now.
Yeah, that's congratulations. So when did you take Laying The Foundation? And when did you quit your job.
I started taking Laying The Foundation, and I believe it was July or August of 2021. And then I ended up quitting my job in May of 2022.
That's so exciting, was that the plan going in?
It was kind of a rough plan. During like, before I started taking Laying The Foundation, I actually had a huge uptick in sales. And I was like, if I save X amount of dollars, I can quit my job in a year from now. And I was actually able to do that. And that's a kind of ended up falling into place, I was actually thinking I was going to be working for a little bit longer. But then I just decided to take the leap when I had everything in place.
That's so great. What were some of the challenges you were experiencing that were made it difficult to grow your business on your own?
Honestly, just spreading myself way too thin and doing stuff that I wasn't specialized in some things that I'm definitely not specialized in are like, just like marketing, like, I'm honest to god, I'm terrible at that. And just, you know, trying to do all the photography, and then doing the listing writings and the customer service like doing all of that, you know, it kind of weighs you down a little bit. Not only that, but it's like, it's not what you're the best at. So it's like, it's a half big job. So I would say that was probably the most difficult thing for me was being able or just having to do everything.
And how have you navigated that? Or do you have people helping you? Or do you have like a VA or a marketing assistant? Are you still? Or do you just figure out a way to navigate it?
I'm starting to figure out how to navigate that I have hired someone to do the photography for me now. And I also invested in a new camera. So hopefully, I might be producing better product photos, which I'm really excited about.
That's awesome. That's amazing. So you joined Laying The Foundation, why did you decide to take the leap? And take Laying The Foundation.
I remember when I first found you guys on the internet, I was like, Oh, this could be really beneficial. Because I always knew that, like I was running a business, but I always knew I had shortcomings. So probably the biggest thing that attracted me was that you guys were specializing with, like for jewelers, like your your program was designed for jewelers, because I had taken other business classes before and it was kind of like, you know, encompassing like just everything. It really weren't like niche and specialized. So the main reason why I chose to pursue it was because I knew I had my own shortcomings, and I thought you guys would be the ones to help me.
Okay, awesome. That's cool. So what did what about the program? Or how has the program helped you? And like, what are some of your favorite aspects about that? I guess maybe a better question is like, how is the coaching and the program content, how's that really, really helped you, like, get to your next level,
I really liked how the content was basically a work at your own pace level. For me, like, just like with being kind of spread too thin, I'm on it among everything, like I really liked that I was able to, you know, take the time and like, go over stuff more than once. And then also, you know, just ask people for feedback, like in the DI group, you know, if I wasn't sure about something, or if I just had like a question for something. So I would say the main thing that I really loved was just being able to go at your own pace.
So how are you showing up differently in your business?
I would say the main way that I'm showing up differently, is I'm a lot more open to just communicating with customers before I would almost never reach out. And now I've usually I will always follow up with the customer and you know, to make sure that they enjoyed the product. So I'm just, you know, building those communications more.
And also relationships. Yes, yeah.
Yeah, definitely like building relationships. There's a few customers that I had, like repeat customers that I had last year that I remember one specifically, like, she'll just like randomly message me and it's kind of like I got this cool, like, friendship out of this transaction.
Isn't that great? When that happens? You become friends with your clients that happens to me all the time with my toy company. I love it. It's amazing. So mine Next question to you is, what kind of growth? Have you experienced? I mean, you alluded to some growth at the beginning. But let's talk about that, like, what has changed what's grown like? What kind of results have you seen?
Since joining Laying The Foundation, I've been able to increase my website sales over 500%, I've been able to figure out what a brand is and dial it in. And I've also understood how to merchandise and dial in by signature style. So that's over up over 500%. And then Amazon handmade, I was actually quite surprised my sales were up over 100% in 2022, compared to 2021. And then I was also able to actually make more transactions in person.
That's awesome. Now, how has your business and life changed since you've taken Laying The Foundation,
I would say that overall, just from you know, getting the skills from Laying The Foundation to be able to, like quit my, my part time job and pursue this full time. My mental health is so much better than what it used to be, I feel a lot more confident. I had a lot of people like just in the past, like, they didn't really take me seriously. And now that I actually, you know, understand merchandising and just feel more confident with just like setting up the website. And, you know, showing up as a more well defined brand. I feel like it's really helped my personal life and just, it's just really helped me figure out that this is what I want to do as a career. Like, for a long time, I wasn't really sure if this was going to be just the side hustle, or what it was going to turn into. But now I feel really confident like, you know, pursuing this as my career.
That's so exciting. What would you say to it? So it's exciting to me, because that clarity is just like, kind of can like the, like light a fire under you to keep you motivated to move forward. Right? It's just a guiding. So fun. What would you say to a maker in who was in your position? You know, back in the day, or anyone who's considering this program? What would you say to them?
I would say definitely invest in yourself. This program has like opened, like, it's definitely like opened my eyes, it's like opened the doors for me, it's helped me figure out my shortcomings. And you know, can they be able to pivot and understand where I need to go to basically not have those shortcomings anymore? So I would say for like 100%, invest in yourself, and just go for it.
If anything, what has exceeded your expectations and working with us? Laying
The Foundation, the one or there's probably many things are many parts of the answer. But with Laying The Foundation, though, I would say the number one thing that is exceeded my expectation is just the customer service from you guys. Like I have a question and I send an email. Like I actually get a response back that and just like the coaches being willing to like, you know, if you have a question, just being willing to answer it, I think that's absolutely awesome.
What would you tell someone who's considering Laying The Foundation, with Laying The Foundation
if someone was considering it, I would tell them that they get to learn about multiple aspects of business they get to learn like, they get to deep dive into like figuring out, you know how to show up legally, you get to learn merchandising, you know, you get to learn the ins and outs of customer service and introduction into marketing. And not only that, but when you compile it together, it's like the name it is Laying The Foundation for a successful business. That's awesome.
Thank you so much for being with me today. Claire, where can everyone find you?
You can find me on Instagram at school and jewelry. I'm also on Pinterest, Tik Tok and Facebook under that as well. And you can also find me on my website school and jewelry.com
Awesome. Thank you.
Yeah, thanks, Tracy.
Once again, thank you so much for listening to the show today. It's been awesome to be here. I've been interviewing students for the past couple of weeks and we've been repurposing some interviews with students who have taken our Laying The Foundation program so if you want to learn a little bit more about that program, or you just want to learn more about The Desired Brand Effect concepts please join me for my free live masterclass, it's happening next Monday over at flourish & thrive academy.com forward slash timeless brand, picking the time slot that works for you and get ready to transform your business. I'm going to be sharing some of the most foundational marketing principles that you need to know that are going to help you sell more jewelry and sell out really quickly. So head on over to flourish thrive academy.com forward slash timeless brand and register for that masterclass for free. Thanks so much for listening today. This is Tracy signing off. Until next time, ciao for now.