October 6, 2016

How to Grow Your Jewelry Business with Kiva O% Interest Loans

Have you ever had to wait to purchase more inventory, or delay working on a new order, because you were waiting for a payment to come through? Cash-flow is always a challenge for entrepreneurs, and Kiva is here to help.

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WHO IS KIVA?

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through funding to alleviate poverty. Kiva U.S. provides 0% interest loans to small business owners all over the United States. The loans are crowdfunded on the Kiva website by lenders from all over the world. It was originally launched as a pilot in November 2011 under the name Kiva Zip, and was integrated with the main Kiva platform in June 2016. To date, Kiva has lent over $850 million dollars to over 1.5 million entrepreneurs around the world through a global network of over a million lenders.  Learn more about Kiva here.

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WHO IS ELIGIBLE for a KIVA LOAN?

Kiva is for any entrepreneur who can use a 0% interest loan to help take his or her business to the next level.  “Because we don’t look at extensive financial data about you or your business, it’s our hope that we accept everyone that’s serious about their business and our crowdfunding program.”  Whether you’re in the idea phase, start-up mode, or an established business, Kiva could be a great option for you. Entrepreneurs can raise money for any business purpose — working capital, equipment, inventory, marketing, or project-based investments are all ways you can leverage Kiva to help your business grow.”

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WHY might KIVA be right for YOU?

This is your opportunity to grow your business by accessing this great source of capital at 0% Interest and NO Fees! Get in on the ground floor of this exciting new domestic program.

So what are you waiting for? Apply Today!

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January 19, 2015

Launch Your Jewelry Business: Live Webinar with Nina!

Wondering how you can turn all of your fabulous jewelry designs and ideas into an actual business? Look no further, Nina has all of the tips and steps you need to take your love for jewelry to the next level. Follow along during a live web seminar to hear ten tips on how to take the next step in making your jewelry dreams a reality.

Nina has over 30 years of experience in running her own business, and wants to share her tips for success with you! During this web seminar you will learn:

  • If you could and should launch your own jewelry business.
  • A detailed jewelry business plan, from book keeping to pricing, branding and marketing
  • How to have the confidence you need for successfully starting a jewelry business & more!

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Sign up here to register for this exciting web seminar hosted by Nina. There will also be a live question and answer period at the end of her presentation, so have questions ready to ask to get an expert’s opinion!

March 24, 2014

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Managing Change:: Step 8 of 8

Filed under: How to Start a Jewelry Business — Tags: , @ 9:00 am

“The only constant is change itself” Isaac Asimov, based on Hericlitus

How did an ancient Greek philosopher know so much about social media? Perhaps the internet just distills the basic truths of life. I am not sure but my kids are the only other thing in my life that seem to change as quickly and unpredictably as the world of social media.

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So, before you get any further, I want to suggest that you reserve you name NOW on as many social media sites as possible. By doing so, you keep your options open in case one of them becomes the next Facebook. I learned this lesson the hard way. We were late to Pinterest and Instagram. As a result, the name Nina Designs was already taken on both. We had to become NinaDesignsPins and Nina Designs Jewelry, which is confusing when customers try to find us.

This Social Media Strategies for Jewelry blog series has covered a lot of territory. I hope I have left you feeling empowered and eager to start exploring the world of Social Media. It is a big playing field with many options for Jewelry Designers. My advice is to start one small step at a time and slowly build a portfolio. The scary and nerve racking, quickly becomes routine with a little practice. Before you commit, take some time to play, but don’t forget to reserve your name now!

March 1, 2014

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Managing Content & Your Brand :: Step 7 of 8

More Social Media!

Facebook, Pinterest, Blogging, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Linked In……..

There are so many social media platforms to choose from, how do you decide what where to spend your time and money? First, you have to go where the people are, which is Facebook. Next, think about what is a great match for jewelry, which immediately brings up Pinterest. Other formats that deserve serious consideration are Blogging, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Google+ & Vine.

One strategy is to start with a blog to generate content and then push that content out to as many social media platforms as possible.  There are programs like Hootsuite that let you post to several different platforms at once.

I see the logic in this approach with the caveat that setting up a Facebook Page is more important than having a Blog. If you are only going to do one, choose Facebook because people are ALREADY THERE. Also, Youtube videos should feed into your blog rather than the other way around.

In our company, we do post important content on all platforms. I don’t worry about annoying people with repetition because it is not very likely that the same people will be on Facebook, twitter or pinterest at the exact same time and see the same post over and over again.

In the end, passion is the key to success in social media as with many other endeavors. Once you have Facebook covered, experiment with different platforms to see which social media venues feel like the best fit. If you are engaged and enthusiastic, your chances of attracting a following are much higher than if you are just forcing yourself to go through the motions.

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As you start to expand your social media activities, give careful thought to maintaining your jewelry brand across all platforms. While you may approach each one from a fresh angle, you want to be consistent enough that your jewelry fans and customers feel like they are connecting with a friend they already know. At the same time, people who find your jewelry through social media will have an accurate sense of your Brand Promise or Value Proposition. That is just a fancy way of saying that by interacting with you on social media, people will get an authentic sense of who you are and where you are coming from.

At the most basic level, brand consistency means having one image or logo on all platforms. The descriptions of your jewelry brand that accompany the logo may vary in length , because each venue has different specs, but not in content.

The voice and tone of your writing should also be recognizable. You don’t want to deploy an acerbic wit in one venue and be sweet and nurturing on another. That is an extreme example but it can get complicated if more than one person is writing. I think it is safest to hew closely to your brand identity. If you personally are your brand, which is the case with most jewelry designers, than use the side of yourself that you express through your jewelry designs.

Hiring a young person who is already fluent in social media can work as well. If you take that route, be careful that all the accounts are set up in your own name and that you have all the passwords. I can’t tell you how many people I know who lost access to their accounts with unexpected employee turnover.

You also need to take time up front to work together to establish the tone and look of each platform. As I already explained, you want your social media to accurately reflect your jewelry brand instead of reflecting the tastes of the person providing your content. One technique that can be helpful is to create a list of Vibrant Adjectives that are consistent with your brand and use one or more in every post. For a jewelry brand, I could imagine words like: hip, edgy, trendy, fresh, bold or alternately indulgent, luxurious, dreamy, romantic.

Meet me at Step 8: Managing Change for insight into how to navigate the morphing world of Social Media.

 

February 10, 2014

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Blogging +:: Step 6 of 8

Filed under: How to Start a Jewelry Business — Tags: @ 9:00 am

Blogging

Blogging is a great way to share your knowledge and opinions. It is also a way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. As a Jewelry Designer, you could blog on jewelry fashions, jewelry techniques, gemstones, or design.  Guest blogging is also a good way to drive traffic back to your website.  At Nina Designs, our goal is to inspire jewelry designers. We use our blog to teach new jewelry techniques, share jewelry designs, and offer business tips.

Instagram

I have to confess that we are very new to Instagram but I can see that it has huge potential and I am really enjoying playing around with it. One of our young designers is curating our Instagram photos and we are going to use it to capture behind the scenes images as well. We will then post those images directly to Facebook and twitter. Instagram is fun because you can see people liking and commenting on your images immediately. Instagram just launched a video feature as well so you can make 15 second videos with your mobile device and post them right away. You can film in sections creating a stop motion effect that we are looking forward to experimenting with!

Twitter

I know twitter is hugely popular but I don’t personally think the format is super compelling for jewelry. That said, I want to be where my customers are, and many of them are on twitter. We are careful to stay engaged on twitter. In particular, we send out notices whenever we receive new styles, post new design ideas or have sales.

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Linked In

I think Linked In is more suited for professionals and service businesses but I am sure there are creative ways to use it for jewelry. For instance, if you have a lot of professionals as customers, and you know they spend time on LinkedIn, you can use your profile to keep them up to date on your latest designs.

Now that you are familiar with Social Media Activities, meet me at Step 7: Managing Content

 

January 19, 2014

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Pinterest :: Step 5 of 8

Why Pinterest?

Pinterest was launched in 2010.  Only three years old, it already has over 47 million users. 80% of pinners are women.  According to the websites Pinterest Insider and Wishpond, Pinterest referred website visitors spend 70% more money than visitors referred from other sites and people are almost twice as willing to engage with brands on Pinterest than on Facebook.

I highly recommend setting up a business page on Pinterest. Even if you use your personal page for your business as well, you should convert to a business account so that you can have analytics, which are only available on business accounts.  Once you have a business account you can start setting up boards. Each board will have its own Theme and Title. There is a tradition of playfulness on Pinterest so feel free to be creative with your titles.

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As you can see from our site, we have many different boards, some practical, like “Newest of the New”, some whimsical, like “Afraid of the Dark”.

Here are a few guidelines to follow as you get started:

  • Try to pin something every day.
  • Avoid huge “dumps” where you pin a large number of items at once.
  • Spend 80% of your time creating original content not surfing and re-pinning! This is a very different approach than how most people use Pinterest personally. Remember, your goal is to drive people to your website by clicking through your posts so you don’t want too many distractions.

Pinterest is visual Nirvana, so it is perfect for art. Studies have shown it is very effective for driving business leads to websites.  Pinterest users are mostly women hanging out looking at yummy food, cloths and jewelry. Who could ask for more? It is creative and fun so why wait?

Write about and share trends, tips and more through other social media outlets. Meet me at Step 6: Blogging + for more tips and tools!

January 1, 2014

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Youtube:: Step 4 of 8

Filed under: How to Start a Jewelry Business — Tags: , @ 9:00 am

Believe it or not, Youtube is the second most popular search engine on the internet. It is owned by Google and it is common knowledge that Google likes to feed its children, so posting on Youtube is a good strategy for improving your Jewelry  search rankings. It is also the most under-appreciated form of social media in the jewelry field. If you post great videos, you can Drive Traffic to jewelry your site.

On our Youtube channel we have 42 jewelry videos posted, primarily How-To tutorials.  I am very proud of our videos but I wish we had more engagement.  I tried everything I could think of and then called Janice. Janice from beadshop.com gets a large percentage of her business through Youtube. Some of her videos have over a 100,000 likes! She shared some great advice. I am quoting her for these next six points.

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Youtube is all about CONTENT.

  1. FREE is crucial. Never charge for content. We only make money if people follow up by coming to our site for materials.
  2. I am extremely thorough. I try to replicate the experience of taking a class in my former bead shop.
  3. We create an individual landing page on our website for each video where people can print out a free PDF with step by step instructions.
  4. Videos must add value, they can’t be a sales pitch. Be authentic or don’t bother.
  5. I think of videos as a time to download my brain & share the expertise I have gained over the years.
  6. In all social media, you should be informative and treat the customer with respect.

What advice would she give jewelry designers in particular?

“Share the story behind each individual jewelry design.”

To explore more Social Media Activities meet me at STEP 5: Pinterest

December 20, 2013

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Facebook:: Step 3 of 8

Why Facebook?

It is important to look for new jewelry customers where they are and today that place is Facebook! Facebook has over 1 Billion Users, which is staggering when you consider that the population of the United States is only 313.9million. When forced to choose only one social media activity to promote their business, marketing professionals who answered a Social Media Examiner survey overwhelmingly chose Facebook. This is an obvious choice, how many people do you know who are not on Facebook theses days? When I survey my own jewelry supplies customers, Facebook is by far the form of social media with the highest participation rates. It is also the place where we have the highest “engagement”, which means that our  fans participate by liking posts, sharing or commenting on them.

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Facebook is great for forging a sense of Community, letting people get to know the story of your jewelry brand and also feel like they are creating a relationship with you personally, which is very powerful. Almost all target market groups for jewelry will be on Facebook, so you should be there too! Even if you have a personal Facebook account, I recommend setting up a separate Business Page for your Jewelry Business to gain access to Facebook Insights, which contain very useful metrics for tracking your Facebook activity and engagement.

Consistency and Responsiveness are crucial to creating loyal fans. Don’t set up a jewelry business page for your company unless you are ready to make a Commitment to post and respond to comments. You can actually create ill will and damage your brand if you post erratically or don’t respond to comments in a timely fashion. Facebook fans can get irritated in as little as one hour if they don’t get a response. You might not make it to your page that often but you should check every day.

Meet me at Step 4: Pinterest to learn why Pinterest should be your second Social Media adventure.

November 27, 2013

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: 1st Things 1st :: Step 2 of 8

Filed under: How to Start a Jewelry Business — Tags: , @ 3:26 pm

First things first.

Before you plunge into Social Media Activities, be sure you have a Great Website. There is no point generating traffic to a site that won’t entice people to stay and explore. A stunning jewelry Home Page with great visuals is crucial. If your goal is to generate jewelry sales,  you also need an ecommerce platform.

Try this Website Critique: Ask yourself, “Does my website accurately represent my jewelry brand?”  What are the three key adjectives you would use to describe your jewelry? If a stranger landed on your home page, would they use those words to describe what they see? If not, you’ve got some work to do. An Etsy page is an economical compromise if you don’t want to build your own website.

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Will Social Media Activities increase sales?

Social Media Activities will probably have more of an impact on your Sales Funnel than it will directly on sales. A sales funnel is the group of people who are not your customers yet but are headed in that direction. Every company needs to figure out how to keep their funnel full so that they can grow and replace customers who leave.

People don’t usually purchase directly after visiting your website from Facebook, but they may visit your site for the first time by clicking on one of your posts and then return later to purchase. It often takes 3-4 touches to persuade a new customer to take a chance and purchase from you.  That means the potential customer has to brush up against jewelry your brand several times before they feel comfortable enough with you to take action. They may see a print ad, hear about you from a friend, or encounter you in social media.

You can see this dynamic in play through Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a very powerful free tool from google that lets you track statistics from your website traffic. You can see that in the past year we only had just over $4,000 in direct sales from social media but there were $67,000 of Assisted Sales, which means that the customer engaged with us on social media at some point along the road to the sale.

Lastly,  even professional marketers feel overwhelmed and unsure about social media tactics, engagement, measurement and strategy. So don’t feel bad if you do too! But don’t use the uncertainty as an excuse not to engage at all.

Meet me at Step 3: Facebook to learn why Facebook should be your first Social Media adventure.

November 11, 2013

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Intro :: Step 1 of 8

Filed under: How to Start a Jewelry Business — Tags: , @ 9:00 am

At Nina Designs, we design and sell jewelry making supplies. We launched our first website in 1995 and we have tried to stay on the cutting edge of digital technology ever since. Our Facebook Page has over 25,000 Fans and we have over 2,000 followers on Pinterest. In this blog series,  I am going to share with you what a non-tech, artsy, jewelry person has learned about social media through a lot of trial & error, & why I think it is an important, worthwhile activity.

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Why Social Media?

Social Media is the hottest trend in marketing but why should you care? Jewelry designers are artists & artists often cringe at the thought of marketing or self-promotion. But consider this: In an age when people increasingly live their lives and make their purchases online, how can a jewelry designer reach new customers? If people don’t know you exist, they can’t buy your jewelry. In addition, social media rewards creativity, which designers have in spades, so you already have an advantage!

According to research released by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange , the average online American spends 2 hours a day social networking. It is a major pastime and growing fast!

Social Media Examiner Recently Published a Report after surveying 3,000 marketing professionals. The report concludes that the two major benefits of social media activities for businesses are Increased Exposure and Increased Website Traffic.  In other words, these folks have successfully used social media to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their websites.

The majority of companies with 10 or less employees who spent over 6 hours a week on Social Media Activities also agreed that it Decreased their marketing expenses! This is super counter intuitive because most of us balk at the expense in terms of time & money of spending six hours a week on social media. For a small company that is a big bite but the study shows that compared to how much people spend on other forms of advertising it is actually quite economical.

At Nina Designs, we have also found that Social Media Activity is a great way to Build Community. Most of our customers are women and we think of our SM community as a sisterhood of artists encouraging creativity through online support & inspiration.

Now for a caveat, effective Social Media Activity takes serious commitment. The Social Media Examinar study revealed that the benefits increase sharply with over 6 hours a week of engagement. (That sounds like a lot but if you are average, you already spend 2hrs a day on social media. Perhaps it is a question of re-directing some of that time to your business pages?) Benefits also accrue over time, increasing significantly after 2 years and dramatically after 5 years.

The study also revealed that with 6+ hours per week of engagement and 2+ years, people saw improved Search Engine Rankings. This refers to where you rank in organic search when someone types a keyword like “earrings” into google or another search engine. Companies that show up on the first page of organic search are the lucky few who get most of the click throughs to their websites. As a result, companies devote considerable resources to trying to improve their ranking. This activity is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.  Google tracks “engagement” in their algorithm, so Social Media Activity can boost your ranking!

Consistency & Responsiveness are crucial factors to the success of Social Media Activity. Don’t “Dump” a huge amount of content and then disappear. Try to stick to a schedule and check in regularly so that you can respond promptly to comments or inquiries.

If you feel ready to start exploring the world of social media, meet me at Step 2 : 1st Things 1st

 

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