Interview: CopperReflections.com

Posted by 16 October, 2008

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1. Could you please tell us about yourselves?

We have been making handmade copper jewelry and gifts for almost 25 years. We have built our company from the ground up. We started with just a small table on the street, we had a retail store, we have participated in arts and crafts shows in Canada and the United States, exhibited at wholesale jewelry and gift shows and now we are online for the entire world! There is no overnight success in business; you need to build your business step by step on a solid foundation to ensure continued success.

2. You mentioned you are semi-retired, what all does that entail?

Ten years ago nothing was more important than building our wholesale handmade jewelry business, a legacy for our children. We spent night and day working, blinders on, seemingly unaware of the world around us. We focused on our goal so completely that there was no time for friends or family. We were on our own just trying to get everything done on schedule. All in all we were quite successful but something was missing.

One day we woke up and the enthusiasm was gone, we were tired of the stress of our dream. So we decided that the dream needed revising. After much conversation, not to mention a little too much wine, we came up with a new plan. We were going to change everything; we were going to begin living the life we always wanted.

We packed up the house and the kids and we moved to Turkey. At times it seems like a fairy tale! We live by the sea; we go for long walks and spend entire days at the beach. We take drives along the coast and the views take our breath away, it is a truly enchanted life; a dream come true!

We still work on the handmade jewelry business but we are a lot more relaxed about it. Now we are focused on our website and new designs for our handmade jewelry and unique gifts instead of the day to day running of the business. The wholesale jewelry business is now working for us instead of us being the slave of the business.

3. How long have you had your business, http://www.copperreflections.com/? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in maintaining your business?

We started our business almost 25 years ago, but have only been focusing on the website for the last eight months. When we made our first website a few years ago, we sat down with a website designer and he made the website just how we wanted it. We were busy with our wholesale handmade jewelry business and didn’t focus on the website, it was just there. We had invested money but not time to understand how to make the website work for us. It was like printing business cards before you know what you are going to sell, pointless.

In the last eight months we have devoted a great deal of time to learn about internet marketing and to develop our website. It takes a lot of time, but research is the key to success. Knowing your target market and creating a marketing strategy are very important. This is not an overnight process; it takes time to find out what works and doesn’t work. It is a work in progress; every day we learn something new and try to apply it to our situation.

Six months ago you couldn’t find our website unless you typed in our URL. Now we are in the top ten for several of our keyword phrases and seeing improvement every day for the more competitive phrases. Every day we get inquiries about our handmade jewelry and unique gift ideas.

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4. How did you get started in your business? How do you plan to grow into the future?

My husband starting making jewelry and selling on the street, he had a 2’x4′ table in Gastown, a historical part of Vancouver, Canada. We’ve come a long way since then. We are very much looking toward the future. Being online is like having a store for the whole world! We have recently found a distributor for our handmade copper jewelry and gifts in Australia. We receive inquiries every day and hope to find distributors throughout Europe and the UK. The future is looking very bright.

5. Are most of your clients within Turkey or do you do a lot of your business overseas?

We just moved to Turkey about a year ago, we don’t sell our products in Turkey. We have been in business in Canada for about 25 years. Our customers are mostly in the United States and Canada, and our designs are fitted to that market. We sell to the top tourist attractions in Canada, like the CN Tower in Toronto, Butchart Gardens in Victoria and Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver. We have distributors in Canada and the US who sell wholesale to retail stores, 90% of our sales come from there.

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6. You guys seem to have done very well considering you are under the age of 50. Do you have any tips for other up and coming entrepreneurs?

If you want to be happy, sell retail; a store, online or craft shows. If you want to make money, sell wholesale to the retail stores; it’s a lot more work but it has its own rewards.

Sometimes a successful wholesale jewelry business just sneaks up on you overwhelming your life. It took years to realize that one person cannot be responsible for everything. In any type of business you must delegate the work so that the business is working for you. Choose what you like to do and outsource what don’t enjoy. Life is a balance; work should not overshadow all other areas.

Take time to enjoy life: family, friends and especially your kids. Before you know it they grow up, make sure you are the most important influence in their lives, not someone on tv. They are depending on you to show them the way to be happy and successful in life. Don’t let them down, be there for them.

To find out more about Tony and Jen, please feel free to visit their blog:

http://copperreflections.com/handmade-jewelry-blog/

or chat with them on twitter

https://twitter.com/unique_jewelry


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