EP383: From Soul-Sucking Day Job to 23 Wholesale Accounts in 1 Year with Rosie Harris
10:18AM Jan 6, 2023
I just kind of kept telling myself like failure is not an option. I'm not given up. You know if it's a mistake, I'll learn more from that mistake.
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. If you've been thinking about quitting your soul sucking day job and you want to launch into your jewelry business full time, I've got something for you. I'm interviewing an amazing designer today who just a year ago decided to quit her job and go all in on her jewelry business. She's going to share with you how she doubled her sales and grew to 23 retail stores in just that time. So before I dive in, let me introduce myself. I'm Tracy Matthews, the chief visionary officer of flourish and thrive and host of this podcast, I also wrote a best selling book called The Desired Brand Effect, standout in a saturated market with a timeless jewelry brand. And I help jewelry business owners launch grow and scale successful five, six and seven figure businesses through my methodology. Today's example is an amazing inspiration of what can happen and what's possible in one year, if you really put your mind to it, and you get some support around growing your business. So let's dive into today's episode with Rosie Harris of July designs. We have a very special guest on the show today. Rosie Harris. She designs Rosie, thanks for being here. Thank you so much for having me today. Tracy. Well, I wanted to interview you just because your business has grown significantly over the past year. And we were I was chatting with some of my coaches in the diamond insiders. I was like, Who do I need to talk to you from our community and they're like, you definitely have to talk to Rosie Herrera. So we are here and I'm so excited to have you on the show today. Thanks for taking the leap and doing this with me.
Thank you so much for having me.
It's my pleasure. So let's get started. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your jewelry business as you are designs and how you kind of got into designing jewelry.
Yeah, so jewelry has been with me forever. Probably started in my teen years doing beadwork slowly kind of exhausted that started playing with the metals, the wire, manipulating it a bit, took a ring making workshop, gosh, probably like 20 years ago and fell absolutely in love. after that. I went did a three year diploma program in jewelry, art and design. And I graduated in 2007. Sadly, I currently just did it as my side hobby, my passion project, whatever you want to call it, I really, really bought into that starving artist thing. And it was about a year and a half that I made the leap of faith and I decided to go after the stream as my full time business.
Wow, what was that like for you?
A little bit scary. Empowering. Yeah, it felt it was right. The time was right. The Universe kind of pointed me in that direction. And I kind of got the sign I was looking for I ended up doing it a little sooner than I had originally planned. But the timing had worked out
for me what an anticipated that kind of leap.
I was working in engineering and I was working in a job with no room for growth wasn't a great working environment. And I had dropped down to four days a week and I had been planning I had been putting savings and I had you know, my goal in mind that I was probably within a year or two going to quit to go after my jewelry business. And one day they call me to the office and told me because my manager quit, I needed to come back to work five days, and I no longer be able to work remotely. And I was like, you know, I think this is a sign it's time to go. So with the support of my family, my husband, I gave my notice and I decide to go for it.
That's so great. You know, I know a lot of people are afraid to let go their jobs. You know what I found so fascinating about on the phone with a lot more designers lately. So many jewelry makers and designers come from an engineering background. Maybe it's because you're like engineering, how to get the pieces together to science
and art really complement each other do and I know like in a lot of those kind of like, almost like gifted schools or anything. They really do have that focus on science and art. I think it's a Yeah, they really complement each other and really, I mean, you look at jewelry, it's a lot. It is a lot of science because you've got in math like you've got the geometry you've got the homology
that's so true. And it Yeah, you're right it There's a lot of science. I didn't even really think of it that way. But I just found it fascinating, like so many engineers, but it totally makes sense. Like you're trying to engineer how to make a piece of jewelry. And yeah,
I never looked at it from that point of view. But when I do step back, I was like, okay, there is a lot of, you know, even when you first learned how to make well for us, when in school, we first learned how to make our own sterling silver alloys or gold alloys. Metallurgy comes down to science and math again, right?
It's playing with pirate. So how are you? How are you currently selling your jewelry?
I am selling online through my own ecommerce website. I do in person pop ups and markets. And I'm also currently sold in 23. stores throughout Canada in the US.
That's incredible. How'd you get into all those stores?
Well, some encouragement from your team for sure. Some, I was really lucky, some that came to me. Um, the other ones I called called Cold emailed, I used a few different avenues. But most of them like contacted myself and reached out to them.
Well, so that's pretty cool. And how like, so you've been doing this full time for a year and a half? Like, did you have a bunch of wholesale accounts before you quit your job? Or did this mostly come up over the I did
have a few I did have. I've grown a lot. But I definitely had some wholesale accounts, before I quit my job, I didn't just go from, you know, zero and jump in. I knew, you know, my website sales had been starting to gain a little bit of momentum, I was picking up a few more stores. And really, I'd kind of maxed out as much as I could do in the evenings after my kids were in bed. So I was, you know, there was had no more room for growth where I was,
that's so cool. I mean, I'm really proud of you. Because just like, you know, when we were like doing our little pre screening survey and stuff like that, just like seeing your results has been really incredible. And so fun to watch. So we're gonna, we'll get into that a little bit more. So what was your strategy to start making sales? Like when you were starting out and getting your business going? How did you really build that momentum and give yourself the inspiration to move forward? You mentioned something earlier about, like, kind of the starving artists thing. And I want to, you know, I know it's hard to overcome that mindset hurdle of like how like putting yourself out there when you're afraid of rejection?
Yeah, I'm not like, I can't nail down the point where I stopped believing the starving artists and was like, wait a minute, I can be a career artists. There's many ones out there and I can, I don't know where that whereas I'd flip that script in my head. So when I first started out, graduated from Juilliard design school, I really have zero strategy. If someone asked to buy something, or I did a market and sold something. I was just flabbergasted and amaze. I kind of slowly went and approach stores, I was really scared to do so. I was really afraid of rejection. And I really took no as a final answer. When I started building up more as a business knowing that I wanted to leave my job to pursue this as my career. That's when I started being like, Okay, I need to get on Instagram, I can't avoid it any longer. I need to have an online presence. I need a website, I need to start approaching more stores, I need to start doing more market. So I'm, you know, being visible, and being visible in many different avenues. I still was probably kind of going at it a little bit blind without a clear direction. I was just kind of like, okay, I need to put myself out there, which I did. And I did grow a bit. But that also brings me to part of the reason how I met you was I needed that direction. So
yeah. How did you find flourish and thrive? You guys
have been popping up in my ads for years? Well, I mean, it makes sense. It's, you know, the things I'm googling as jewelry, suppliers. And then I was talking to a really good friend of mine who is an amazingly talented entrepreneur, completely unrelated field. She had had huge success, building her business to her next level by working with a coach and a mentor. And one day, we sat down together, and we just kind of started googling jewelry, business mentors, and you were pretty much at the top of the list. So I think I joined one of your workshops you've had online, if I remember correctly, and I was like, Okay, I like this one.
Okay, cool. Yay. I like that. I like hearing that. So let's talk about challenges. A lot of times when you're starting a business, it's it's hard to get motivated to move forward. So what were some of the challenges that you were facing as you're growing your business, especially those that made it difficult to kind of grow on your own? And also, like, how did you kind of start getting traction with your online sales, and growing there as well.
So, for me, a big part of my motivation, I think, from what I understand from your story was probably kind of similar. I was like, I'm not going back there. Nothing like having that little fire under you to be like, No, I'm not going back I can only go for giving up is not an option.
So just for reframe, so if anyone hasn't heard this story, there was a moment when I quit my job. And I was married when I was in my 20s. And I was trying to get my jewelry business going. And it wasn't really gaining any traction, I was kind of paralyzed in fear. I came home one day, and my ex husband said, you have to get this working, or you're gonna have to go back to your job. He gave me like three months to figure it out. And I was so motivated at that point, because I couldn't go back like it was too painful.
Yeah. And I totally get that when you consider the alternative. You're like, Nope, no, that come back. So yeah, just that was where my motivation came from. As far as getting myself out there. I was suffering a little bit from like, analysis paralysis. I knew all these things. I wanted to do better. It just wasn't 100% sure on how to do them. But I also figured, you know, there's no learning comes from experience. So yeah, kind of just started trying things. Some are successful. Some are not. But again, yeah, it was, I was floundering a little bit. I mean, I was getting business towards my website had been bigger than what it was before. But it wasn't where I want to be yet.
Yeah. So how did you like when you were kind of flat? You said something about floundering? Like, how did you keep going when it wasn't working?
I mean, it wasn't falling flat on my face failing. It was just kind of like, you know, some days are treading water. Some days, you're swimming laps, some days, you're in the shallow end floundering and, you know, it's focusing on those wins, I think is huge mindset is another thing. And yeah, I just kind of kept telling myself, like, failure is not an option. I'm not given up, you know, if it's a mistake, I'll learn more from that mistake. I am a true believer, it's really only a mistake if you do it twice. If you don't, or if you don't learn from it,
or three times, don't give it three times, you know? How to make people not feel as bad because they do the same thing over and over again. What did you find worked for you selling online?
Well, I guess that was a problem. I wasn't sure exactly what was working, what wasn't, I was kind of, you know, throwing the spaghetti against the wall and hoping that stock, you know, having a website and online presence having it, you know, when I my very very first website was just kind of like, splat gallery, it wasn't in collections, it wasn't really that cohesive, wasn't really organized. So yeah, having to organize it a little bit. So it's more reader friendly. I started kind of looking at other websites that I liked, or that I shopped on and being like, Okay, what's difference between this and mine? And what can I, you know, they may be a large company with a huge budget. But what can I replicate that I don't need a budget for Okay, the organization, how's that done? They have a shop section, they have a dissection, stuff like that. And then like I said, I was I resisted Instagram for a long time. And I mean, I look back to my very first post, I remember trying to figure out how to do a story. And now I think I could probably do it, like, post a story in my sleep. But yeah, I had to learn to you know, embrace it and be like, Okay, if, if I want to be in the game, I got to play the game, right?
Yes. And how's it going for you now,
I still have room for growth. I still, I still have goals that I want to reach. But I really wish you I wish I had taken some screenshots of my website before I started your program. And you could see it now because well, there's still, you know, in my mind, there's still much to be desired. There's still lots of room for improvement, I have to remind myself of how much progress I've made, did you really come a long way. And, you know, some of the things I just never even thought of it was, you know, I would look at other people's sites, I would realize they were visually appealing, but I couldn't put my finger on exactly why they were visually appealing. And sometimes, you know, you need that extra person to guide you. Or, you know, it's like when you proofread your own work, you're gonna miss the same mistake over and over again, but it's that fresh set of eyes that catches up for you, right. So, yeah, my online presence, I would say is way more cohesive. Yeah, there's a brand there's a vibe. Everything kind of flows more together. They'll point to each other which they never used to do. They were kind of these like in dividual silos that all kind of existed separately.
I love all of that. It's so good. You know, what I'm going to try to do is see if we can go to the Wayback Machine and find you can go, have you heard of the Wayback Machine? No, go on there and see if you remember when you started, you first launched your website, see if you can pull it up because they index websites. Okay. We'll post on our blog posts that we post for this the before and after?
Oh, sure. Awesome. I hope I can find that.
It's just a note to anyone listening to this, like, always take screenshots of the before. And after we forget sometimes, too. It's like, you need to see that. And I keep digging for like my old old old Tracy Matthews designs websites, website, and I found it once but then I lost the screenshot. So some days, we can find it in the Wayback Machine from. Hmm, so looking that up when I get off the wayback, machine.org. Anyone can do it.org. Yeah. So you've had a lot of growth in the last year. And absolutely, yeah. Which is exciting. I know that we're talking about different areas of your business, like your wholesale significantly grew in the last year and a half you've grown, your website has grown your have a more cohesive brand and all those things. And when did you join you join our Laying The Foundation program. When did you join?
I think it was actually a year ago, I think. Yeah. It was, yeah, but exactly a year ago.
So the cool part is that a lot can happen in the year.
A lot can happen any year. Yeah.
So why did you decide to join the program,
I decided to join the program. Like I mentioned before, I had a friend who had always been a successful business owner. And she experienced exponential growth. And not just growth. But more like in tune with the lifestyle she was seeking. She was no longer working yourself to exhaustion. Even just little things I noticed like she had an auto reply on her email being like, we check emails three times a day, we will get back to you within X amount of hours. Very different business. But still, I just watched how much her lifestyle improved and how much her business took off after working with a coach. And I was thinking like, I don't need to do this alone. You know, like, when I go to the gym, I use a personal trainer sometimes. Because I don't need to do it alone. So yeah, that was kind of add, I was just, you know, I felt I had gone as far as I could doing stuff on my own. And I needed someone to give me a bit of direction. I needed some feedback. I needed some mentorship.
Yeah, I love hearing that, because I kind of have the chills right now because that's the whole reason why we started flourish and thrive in the first place was because we were tired of doing it alone. And we I say we because my other co founder, she's not necessarily totally involved in the day to day flourish and thrive anymore. But when we were talking about launching this business, the big thing was because I felt so isolated and I used to I felt so isolated as a designer and like asking simple questions to just like friends of mine, they would be giving you like this blank stare like I'm not giving up my resources. I'm not doing this because things like sharing your hashtag resource was gonna like actually give someone a competitive edge and like they're stamped hangtags are not like, like a proprietary design. Come on, guys. And I just got I got really tired of that. Because I feel like as a community we can a rising tide lifts all boats and community is so much better than competing with each other and everyone can have a seat at the table doesn't have to be like, if you have a seat, I lose my seat. And the amount of money circulating in the world also is boundless. It's not like there's a limited amount of money for people to buy someone's jewelry. It's about finding that connection and creating the raving fans and the true fans that are going to buy from you every season. So I love that you said that. Thank you. Now back to you. I want to know what you loved most about being in the community getting the coaching and the program.
I think you've said it right there. It's like community being self employed. I do most of this on my own. I have some subcontractors that I use, but for the most part it it's mean like I wear all the hats. And yeah, it can be lonely, it can be isolating. And so just also knowing you have that support, one time having you know, kind of a difficult customer and I wasn't sure how to approach it. So going to the group and saying hey, this is a communication I have you know, I really want to come back as friendly professional writing is not my forte Can you guys help me edit this? Or just even, you know, having that you make it down to two or three different designs and you just can't quite designer like hey, can I get a poll who likes which logo better? And just honestly having that uplifting and supportive environment means the world to me. You know, don't do it alone if you don't have to do And then the other thing I have to say, I absolutely loved the format of the program. It wasn't the first online kind, of course program I've taken, it was the first one specific to jewelry. And that covered probably as much material. I absolutely love the way it works. I love the videos, they were clear, they were concise, I love the worksheet to give examples. And we got to do our own keep building on it. And just for my kind of scattered brain, it was just it was organized, it was thoughtful in the way everything, each module kind of kept building on it, and you couldn't unlock the next module until you finish the work. To me, I just thought it was so well laid out. And it just made so much sense. I totally made the decision at the beginning. I think it was the very first module, I was like, I'm not sure about this. And afterwards, I'm like, Nope, I'm gonna trust the process. And I'm all in. And once I made that decision, and I was all in I did all the work, I finished them all. Yeah, I got so much value out of it. It was incredible. And I mean, I, I've gone back and reworked some of the modules because, you know, like you've said, and like your coaches have said, you know, I've had those moments where you get kind of get lost in the minutia, and you kind of just start, you know, focusing in too hard on these little minut details. And you're like, wait a minute, is this really going to help me if I make this, you know, really narrow down the shade of purple that I want on my website, maybe it's good enough for now. And then I can go work on some other activities, when I have another wall, then I can come back and work at it. So even just learning to do that has been huge, because I am totally someone that can like, hyper focus on one thing, and maybe kind of go down a bit of a rabbit hole and get lost on it and forget about some of the other things that need to be done. So learning to kind of block my time, and knowing when to step back. And when to go back. That was a huge skill that I learned.
I think that that is something that happens to a lot of people too. They they kind of like over obsess about something that's like, not really that important in the grand scheme of things. And maybe it's something that might need to change at some point. But it's not going to actually be a big differentiator in the short term. So I'm glad that you got that learning out of it. Because one of the things that I really tried to support the students in not only what the format of the program, but it's like, here are the important things to focus on all this other stuff. It's relative relative. And it does it is important in some extent, but these are the most important things. And if you just do those things at a bare minimum, you will get results.
And yeah, it's like you always say the RGA is the revenue generating activities. Because really, you can't have a business without them. So you know, as much as fine tuning those designs are fun, you do have to balance that time that you spend on bringing the business and versus doing the creative fun stuff, right. Yeah.
So how would you say you're different as a business owner because of it?
Well, there's the quantifiable difference, where, you know, my sales have probably doubled since I've started the program. That's fantastic. But I'm also more confident. I'm have more clarity. And yeah, I feel like I have more tools to succeed. Really? Yes. Do I still, you know, did I come a little shy on some of my goals last year, I did. But if you saw the progress I've made, it's phenomenal. And now I have that progress that actually feeds my confidence to go forward into my next set of goals. I feel like I have the tools I need to get over some of those scary hurdles to foster those relationships to go after those stores. And I'm also doing the things I thought I would never do like building an email list. I never was like, oh, yeah, no, that's not important to me. I see why other. Other businesses do that. But I don't need that. And now I do it. I'm like, Oh, wow, that really works. So I guess that's the other thing is It's opened my eyes a lot and made me less afraid to try new things and step outside of that zone. And just kind of take the risk go for it.
Which is so amazing. So you mentioned like doubling your sales and having more confidence and focusing things on building your email list. Was there any like other types of growth that you saw in your business over the last year?
There was tons of growth I saw so I you know, for the quantifiers devil, I didn't have an email list before I started. So that was a huge growth. How many visits I get to my website? Oh, that's actually that is kind of fun. I like watching the Google Analytics and watching those little like graph, go up and be like, Hey, we're every time I show up, go on to Shopify, it shows you how many sessions you've had on your website that day and it used to be like, very, very few and now I know that People looking on my website every single day.
That's so awesome. That must feel great. It does.
It's like I actually enjoy going onto my website in the morning and just be like, Okay, so let's just get like a little snapshot view of what's happening. And it's fun. I like getting the Google reports now that it's not just like three people look at your website. That's it. I actually have the Google reports, right? What I didn't even do those, you know, a year ago from No, I don't think I was even doing.
That's so great. So you're actually looking at numbers and analytics and metrics and the things that actually can show you quantifiable growth?
Yeah, things that give you a little reason to do a little happy dance or that tell you okay, I need to work a little harder, I need to improve a bit all those.
That's so great. Is there anything else that you want to share about that?
So as far as growth goes, there's also all the unquantifiable growth. So I feel like I've grown as a person, not better mom. I am home, I have time for my kids, I can take them to swim classes, there's all these things that I can do now that I wasn't able to do a because I was either working too much, or I just didn't have the funds to do it. So by having a bigger revenue stream coming in, it's allowed me some more freedom. And then also, just by being my own boss, and actually having clarity on the floor, I just used to work all the time, you know, there was never enough time. And you helped me quickly realize that is not sustainable. And the rest periods are just as important as the work periods. So I have found, I mean, I always shy away around from the word balance. Because really, as a small business owner, it's not, you know, sometimes you work your butt off, but then sometimes you get a lot of rest period. So the balance isn't like, you know, this perfectly day to day, everything's balanced. But really, there is more balance in my life. So yeah, and then I think the biggest growth is happiness. You can't put you know, a number on that you can't put a price tag on that. Yeah, I just feel good. Feel confidence. And I'm excited for the next year.
Awesome. I love hearing that. So if you were to be talking to someone about Laying The Foundation, what would you tell them? who's thinking about joining,
I would tell them, it is really a small investment for what you put into what you get out. If you're going to look at it monetarily, it's really a small investment. I would also tell them, if they're thinking about doing it, like any program, you have to put the work in, you know, you can't just buy a gym membership and all sudden get fit, you have to go. Yeah, so you got to do the modules, you got to show up, you got to you know, have a presence and the support groups do The Work participates. And I think that was how I really started. Getting into Laying The Foundation is I joined one of you're pretty generous, and you do a lot of really great workshops online. And I think I did a three day boot camp or something like that with you. And again, I was like, I'm all in I'm doing this, I took so much away from it. And I was like, Wow, if I can learn that in three days. Imagine what I could do with the nine week modules. And then the other thing I'd want people to know is it isn't at your own pace. So you know, there is no competition. I started doing it like one week, every week nailing it, and then it slowly got a little bit slower, a little bit slower for me. But I did finish it and also reach out for help if you need it. Your coaches are amazing. The support network is amazing. So yeah, I guess really would say I would tell them to do it. Bottom line, I'm so happy I did. It's been a huge positive experience for me. And yeah, I would absolutely highly recommend it. But again, like you gotta put the work in you got to do it. You got to complete the modules, you got to participate.
I love that. So one more question for you little wildcard question. You quit your job and launched into your business. What would you say to people who are thinking about quitting their job and going all in on their jewelry business?
Yeah, I would say, you know, if you're just starting, maybe see what you can build. You know, maybe don't do it on day one. I had been doing it, you know, on the side for quite some time. Before I did it, I did have a little bit of savings put aside which also helped. Everyone's financial situation is different. But really, I would say do it. No, follow your dreams. Especially if you're in a situation like me like if you're kind of dreading opening that door every day to walk in into a job that leaves you feeling unfulfilled. And there's, you know, for me, there was no room for growth. And I have to learn and I have to grow, to stay motivated to stay interested. And that's the best part about being my own boss is the sky's the limit. I have learned so much in the past year and a half, and I still have so much more to learn. And yeah, it's it's really great knowing that I'm really the only limitation there is. So yeah, I would say do it. Maybe have a plan, maybe have a little bit of a foundation, but do it.
I'm so proud of you, Rosie, thank you so much for taking the leap and being on the show today. Where can everyone find you?
I'm online on my website at WWW dot schwa designs.ca as J O i e designs.ca. And I'm also the same Instagram handle and Facebook handle.
Awesome. We are excited to support you and celebrate you from afar. I guess. We're not in the same city.
That was thank you so much for having me. Yeah, I can't tell you how grateful I am for everything you've done. And this is just kind of the icing on the cake. So it's just such a pleasure being here. And yeah, thank you so much for everything you've done and for all the help you've done my business. You're welcome.
Thank you so much for watching the show today. This is Tracy Matthews signing off. You want to learn more about our Laying The Foundation program, the program that helped Rosie grow significantly over the last year, head on over to flourish & thrive academy.com forward slash LTF that's flourish. & thrive academy.com forward slash LTF or click the button right below