10 THINGS I’VE LEARNT FROM RUNNING AN EQUESTRIAN JEWELLERY BUSINESS
I was asked in a recent interview "three things that I’ve learnt..." and I really struggled to think of just three, because I've learnt so much. From the foundations of building a website (my previous computer experience was on-line shoping and a bit of Word!) to lessons learnt from some real low points, it's certainly been a roller coaster. However, there have been some truely magical moments on this journey, and nothing makes me prouder than the Pegasus brand I have built.
So here are my top ten things, I think, I have learnt from running an Equestrian Jewellery Business.
- Facebook is a nasty place
- Everything is an inspiration
- You can’t do it alone
- You are allowed to cry, hate the world, throw a tantrum as long as you don’t give up.
- All problems have a solution- eventually.
- Sometimes people just want you to listen
- Doesn’t matter how much stock you carry, you will always be out of stock of the one colour/size/style someone wants.
- Horseshoe necklaces dig in when you sleep.
- I can drink a lot of tea ( or wine when things are really bad)
- I have never been as happy.
Facebook is a nasty place
I am not being cynical, I am all for free speech and I absolutely think opinions and feedback are how we all develop and grow. Social Media is a wonderful place for new businesses to launch, its free and its accessible and without it the Pegasus start would have been far more challenging. However, there is a lot of nastiness and bitterness. I saw a great quote yesterday "Not all your followers are your fans" underneath a picture of a Lion chasing an Antelope. So true.
We have been relatively lucky regarding nasty comments, and most of it comes from people who have never bought from us, or ever would. I think they are called the 'facebook warriors' However, it’s still upsetting, especially when you are running a business on your own My advice to anyone is stay strong and put it into perspective. It’s one persons opinion, have faith in you and your product and remember all the positive comments and feedback you’ve had.
Everything around you is inspiration. Some of my best ideas have come from the most bizarre places. The best selling Pearl Necklace Horseshoe Earrings? I was at a wedding, the table was decorated with tiny horseshoes and pearl beads. One of the beads had rested on the horseshoe and I thought “wow, what a fab earring for brides” and next morning the design was drawn.
Pearl Sparkle Necklace
The best ideas come on the school run, walking the dog or rummaging the tack boxes, not from pristine sketch pads and stuffy board rooms.
You can’t do it Alone
You absolutely can’t. I tried, very hard. Especially when I felt I had to prove those who thought launching my own brand of jewellery was a crazy idea. You need a support network, to bounce ideas off, to keep you motivated or simply to give you a pat on the back or a hug when it all goes wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
My lowest moment was last October, I was getting no where with Brand Ambassadors, my press releases appeared to get lost in cyber space and I was spending a fortune on print or Facebook advertising to little success. An advert popped up for Tara Punter Equestrian PR, I gave her a call. I was completely honest about how I was struggling, and from then I have never looked back. More recently after throwing all the ‘SEO for Dummies’ books in the bin because I couldn’t fathom them, I contacted the team at Black Nova Designs. They have transformed my SEO. Another amazing contact I made was Nick at Events through the Lens, who completely takes care of my lifestyle photography.
Photo by Events through a Lense
Don’t be afraid to ask advice from the experts, set a budget in mind and explain this is all you have to spend. This allows you time to do what you are good at, rather than constantly struggle. You really can't do everything.
You are allowed to cry, hate the world, throw a tantrum as long as you don’t give up
Best piece of advice I was ever given.
I remember one really bad evening, I had spent all day putting together a great package for Bloggers and Influencers hoping to get a little bit of help on social media in return for a piece of jewellery. I had emailed about 50 small/medium Equestrian and Country Bloggers and sent it with great enthusiasm. I didn't get one positve reply, and any I did get were rude. I was even emailed by one Blogger, who said there was one strong competitor in my market, that everyone wanted to be associated with, so why was I wasting my time! There were a few exasperated tears shed that night.
Not one of those Blogger/ Influencers helped me when I needed it, until I approached Vic Brant (Diary of a Wimpy Eventer) who welcomed me with open arms and I will always be grateful for the little bit of kindness she showed me.
All problems have a solution- eventually.
Staying up all night trying to find a solution never works. Sometimes you just have to give things time. Clear your mind, have a break and then try and look at the problem a different way. You will get there.
Sometime people just want someone to listen.
I have so much respect for people who work in Customer Relations. Dealing with negativity on a daily basis is hard work, and lets face it no one calls CR to tell them how happy they are! I’ve found that usually people’s anger stems from something else and the complaint about a missing parcel or wrong size is used to vent that argument. Sometime people just need to vent that anger, so listen and then try and find a solution.
Doesn’t matter how much stock you carry, you will always be out of stock of the one colour/size/style someone wants.
Always the way. Sod’s Law.
Horseshoe necklaces dig in when you sleep.
They should come with a health and safety warning!
I can drink a lot of tea ( or wine when things are really bad)
Cup of tea or glass of wine solves most problems temporarily!
And lastly.... it’s true, for all the highs and lows, the frustrating-tear my hair out- moments, I have never been happier. Follow your dream, you never know where it might take you ❤️
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