Jannea Varni – Jewelry Business Success Story
by Jannea Varni
Almost two years ago I decided to begin creating and selling jewelry after teaching for many years. My first year yielded almost no results – in fact I sold only two pieces of jewelry at a local artists display place in over three months!!!
I then participated in a holiday craft fair and sold absolutely, positively NOTHING. It was both a discouraging and humbling experience and I was on the verge of reconsidering going back to my former career when I came upon your website.
Your website is AMAZING and it has truly been the reason that I believe that my business has had such an incredible turnaround.
In the last year, I have completely changed the materials and style of my work along with my selling and marketing technique.
I begun to have small successes selling to friends, family and people that would encounter my work. This had happened the year previous so I wasn’t very confident that I could be successful selling my new style of jewelry.
I was absolutely terrified of making the leap to selling to a much larger audience of impartial individuals who had no emotional investment in my work.
I started by developing a simple website and taking pictures using many of the ideas that you and other jewelry artists suggested on the website. In fact, I used your inexpensive jewelry studio example and it has made a world of difference for my photos!
Although I was proud of my website, I knew that to really get the word out about my jewelry I would have to take another leap of faith and apply at local crafts fairs and boutiques.
I decided to start small by entering a fair supporting a local community school and a holiday boutique opened for four weekends with part of the proceeds going to my daughter’s school and the local food bank.
Although my start up budget was already strained, I downloaded your Ultimate Guide to Your Profitable Jewelry Booth book and I can say with no hesitation that it was the best thing I ever did for my business.
Before both shows I read the book cover to cover and then printed out the checklist. Having that checklist helped me to be so much more prepared for going forward.
I set up my booth at the boutique on a Wednesday but would not know how I did until the following Sunday and I had my first fair since the incredible flop that Saturday so I had no idea how things would go.
I am proud to say that I sold over 50% of my inventory at the show and I received many comments about my booth and my organization. In fact a fellow designer actually asked if I had been doing shows for quite awhile because I seemed so professional and organized!
Thinking Saturday only a fluke, I went to the boutique the next day to discover that almost half of my inventory was sold, and while I was there a fellow jewelry artist actually bought one of my pieces!
I can’t thank you enough for your book and your website. All the wonderful stories, photos, ideas and tips gave me a tangible idea of how to proceed with my business to make it successful and I so appreciate it. Keep up the great work!
Woo Hoo! Congratulations!
Jannea, it’s so wonderful to hear about your success. Your jewelry is gorgeous; it’s no wonder you’re doing so well with it.
It’s a fantastic feeling when your jewelry designs and your customers suddenly click into place, isn’t it? And to have your work just selling like crazy, everywhere you have it displayed – awesome!
Thank you so much for letting me know that my website and book helped you get over the hump. It really makes my day to hear that!
Wishing you much continued success and joy in your jewelry business. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us.
by: Beaded Betty
Great jewelry, great story. Just what I needed to hear right now, thanks for the motivation!
I loved your story. It’s encouraging to hear that by learning some new approaches you can turn around your business. Thanks for sharing! BTW I really like your jewelry
WOW HOW BEAUTIFUL
by: Robin Vaughan
I love your jewelry, very creative and original, wearing a piece of sea glass is sort of spiritual I love the sea and the ever changing things that come from it.
Jannea, not only is your jewelry beautiful, your story is inspiring. Thank you for sharing about your success. It’s very inspiring for what I hope to achieve this year with my jewelry.
by: April Francene Designs
Jannea, your creations are beautiful. Congratulations to you for pursuing your passion after experiencing disappointment. We all have “failures” but learning from them, picking ourselves up and carrying on with determination is what it’s all about.
Congratulations on believing in yourself, and taking active steps towards your success! I appreciate you sharing your story, it acts as a motivator for me.
by: Karen Z.
I congratulate you on your recent success! 2010 was my first year in business, and the results were mixed. At least a third of the shows I did didn’t even cover the booth fee and travel costs. I have decided that for 2011 I’m going to make some changes – focusing more on the internet. GOOD craft shows are hard to find, and there’s so many imports that are NOT hand made. Even juried shows (where you submit pictures of your jewelry) are not well juried any more. It’s very discouraging. But I’m not giving up – just switching gears!
Karen’s Jewelry Creations
Way to go!!
by: Dee Gordon
Congratulations!! Rena’s site and her newsletters are a wealth of information. The information from her site helped me so much when starting out as well. Way to go, your story is such an inspiration to those new to the business and old.
Question for you
Hi, I also love your jewelry…Just wanted to ask if when you began your jewelry journey did you give yourself a time frame? Such as turn over a profit by a certain date or exit the journey? How long a time frame would you consider enough time to prove yourself and show profits?
Keep creating, your work is beautiful.
by: Jannea Varni
I wanted to quickly thank everyone for their wonderful and supportive comments! It truly has been an amazing journey for me and I continue to learn and refine both my jewelry and business skills along the way. As I mentioned, I constantly refer to this website for support and ideas and it really keeps me motivated.
Anonymous, in answer to your question I didn’t really have a time frame in mind – or even a good idea about what I was spending to create my jewelry. My decision to begin selling my jewelry was initially based on comments from friends and people that had seen my jewelry. I just thought it would be a nice way to bring in some extra income. However, what I hadn’t contemplated was how much money it would cost to make my jewelry from components, to tools, to the basic fees of running a business, let alone paying myself a salary. Needless to say my first year I LOST money because I hadn’t done a crucial step which was to write a business plan. If I had done that first, I would have seen how much it actually was costing me in time and materials to create my jewelry. It also would have helped me nail down the specifics of how I was going to grow my business and get my name out into the community and create a Internet presence.
So in answer to your question, no I did not give myself a time frame at the beginning but now I have a very concrete idea of my projected sales for the year thanks to my business plan. Having this allows me to see exactly what I need to break even let alone make a profit and if I don’t achieve those results by the end of the year, I can refine the plan and look at what needs to be changed whether it is my designs or my marketing. What I did realize through my initially challenging experience is how very much I did want a jewelry business and how much I enjoyed creating. As a result, I needed to go back to square one and “frame” my business like a house and really look at what it would take to build a business that would be profitable.
I think that a business’ time frame is truly personal and specific to those that are building it. If your business will be your primary source of income versus a supplementary income. What plans you have for your business whether it is doing craft fairs or creating and selling a line that would be carried in a catalog. I do think that it VERY important to really look at the financials of your business and then sit down and review how many pieces you need to sell to make a profit and what can be done to make that happen through selling, marketing, etc. By the way, Rena has a fabulous guide to writing a business plan for jewelry business that you should take a look at: Jewelry Business Plan.
Hope this helps