The Accidental Jewelry Business

Cordelia silver rose pendant by Corazon Latino

© by Catherine D’Arcy; all rights reserved

Corazon Latino is now a successful online jewellery business.

However, it started by accident and had its share of ups and downs along the way.

I never planned to start my own business.

To be honest, I didn’t have the nerve – but fate, destiny or perhaps just circumstance intervened and I ended up with an opportunity which snowballed into a business, and after a few hiccups, become a success.

Here’s how it all happened.

I got divorced in 2003, and rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I decided to completely change my life. So I took an International Sales and Marketing job and started using my holidays to study at immersion language schools in various countries around the world.

Pandora bracelet by Corazon Latino

After a few months in Madrid, I ended up in Mexico finishing off my Spanish. While I was there I met a young jewellery designer. I was incredibly impressed by the quality of his work and the originality of his pieces.

He took me down to Taxco, where some of the best silver jewellery in the world is made for some of the biggest names in jewellery. Taxco is a beautiful little colonial town, with little whitewashed houses climbing up the hill and a lovely shady central square with this incredible sparkling church in the centre. Full of flowers, sunshine, and amazing people, I can’t think of anywhere better to make our jewellery.

Pisces earrings by Corazon Latino

The artisans of Taxco are some of the most skilled silversmiths in the world, producing stunning hand-made pieces in a vast range of designs. Realizing that they could make pieces to order, and with no thought at that stage of getting involved as anything other than a customer, I asked the designer if his artisans could copy a lovely antique gold bracelet I had (a christening present from my grandmother), with a matching necklace.

I didn’t speak great Spanish then and when I asked, I thought I was asking if it was possible. Unfortunately, he thought I was asking him to do it. A week later, he reappeared with 10 matching bracelets and necklaces. They were beautiful. Exactly what I had in mind – but what was I going to do with 10 of them?

Obviously it was my fault, with my terrible Spanish, so I bought them and started thinking about what to do next.

The longer I thought about it, the more I realised that this jewellery was special. It was handmade. Every piece was slight different. It was exclusive and the artisans were some of the best in the world. Why not bring this fantastic jewellery to the women of the UK, at a price they could afford to spoil themselves?

So I came back to the UK, worked with some of my food industry contacts to create a brand logo and website design, and decided to give it a try.

Mercury necklace by Corazon Latino

I started as small as possible, with a limited range of 25 designs, the smallest amount of stock possible, and a tight budget for advertising and promotion. Inevitably, things did not go smoothly.

I ended up being taken for a ride by my first web designer, who took my advertising budget and got the site blacklisted by Google. Fortunately during this time a few people found the site, loved our designs, quality and customer service, and their loyalty kept us going until I could find a new web team and start again.

So, 3 years on, we now have a fabulous site, over 50 designs, and I am busy planning the photoshoot for my 2008 range; due to launch in July.

Corazon Latino logo

My advice to anyone thinking about starting their own jewellery business:

If you are going to go beyond markets, fairs and eBay, find a good web designer and create a site that looks professional and is secure and easy to shop.

Find someone who can work with you to get you noticed on Google. Don’t accept promises of instant results or quick fixes; these things take time. Don’t buy links or get involved in any “black hat” optimisation techniques as they will come back to haunt you in the end.

Give your customers something different and the best possible customer service – and above all, don’t give up.

 


Author Catherine D’Arcy is the founder of Corazon Latino (“Latin Heart”), an online retailer selling handmade silver jewellery. The range is designed and developed by Catherine, working with skilled silversmiths in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

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Comments

  1. Good tips. Thanks

  2. I came here in the United States twenty three years ago. I met my husband in the Philippines where I am from and migrated here in the US. Back before I met my husband I did humanitarian work among the needy and children well below the poverty level. I was really sad to leave my work after years and years and wondered how will I continue my work with the poor. It seemed a difficult challenge as I have my own family with four children and could not even travel back home even just for a visit because of being strapped for cash.

    Then, one day, I was cleaning and looking at my old broken jewelry I decided to fix them but no idea how I would start. So, I went to some stores offering some findings and stones and everything started from there. I was totally immersed into beading and it become a big hobby, but I can not wear everything I made, so I decided to give them as gifts for some women that I know. They noticed that I make beautiful pieces and some of them approached asking me if I sell them. I started to sell them and everything started from there.

    I also started to buy and sell with most of the profits going to the humanitarian work. My dream to continue my humanitarian work is now happening. Currently, I have almost two hundred children that I am supporting from feeding programs to buying school supplies and anything necessary to help among the poor.

    I don’t have a store, but I just approach women asking if they can host jewelry shows for me and started from there. I sell from fashion jewelry to genuine pearls, gemstones, and some precious metals.

    I think the key I would like to share is presentation is very important! I buy wholesale jewelry boxes with beautiful bows to put the jewelry in during the shows and I invested to some display paraphernalia. I am always prepared to answer their questions about an item. I still have a long way to go, but something I want to share is that dreams can come true. We just have to patiently wait and continue to inspire others as we follow our dreams. Luz Jackson

  3. Am Divya from India, jewelry designer and experimenting in polymer clay material these days. Its difficult to source polymer clay at cheap price in India as it need to be imported from USA to India its very expensive here but still i choose this material to design and make my own jewelry brand, because of its flexibility and the enormous possibilities in fashion and style.

    During the first months i found it difficult to source every tools and machineries but now i have all the needed material with me, There are a lot of people who helped me to get a grip with polymer clay jewelry design.

    In india its in budding state and i started a website named madeforher and its growing now i need a good marketing strategy to bring the non popular polymer clay jewelry to fashion savvy Indian ladies.

    Am trying to bring a change in the contemporary jewelry design and styles. There are lots of articles in this website that helped me to find my way ahead thanks a lot.

    Divya
    Made For Her Jewelry India

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