Success Story

Interview: CopperReflections.com

Posted by 16 October, 2008 (0) Comment

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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

Categories : Entrepreneur,Success Story Tags : ,

Can You Say Success?

Posted by 29 September, 2008 (0) Comment

Photo by Tsechuen26

Carey Wickum was nice enough to spend time telling us about her business and what it means to her. Let’s see what she has to say!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What are you interested in? What you do for a living?

My name is Carey Wickum. I enjoy staying busy and doing many things such as traveling, photography, flower gardening, scrapbooking, playing frisbee with my puppies, watching movies, working out, and hanging out with Jason (my fiance). I’m a registered nurse and work at Oklahoma Heart Hospital and recently started my Mary Kay business in March of ’08.

2. What interested you about joining the Mary Kay family?

I initially started my business to get the 50% discount on products and to sell to friends. After attending seminar in Dallas, I was energized and had found a new goal: to become a director in Mary Kay. The Mary Kay leaders all believe in God first, family second, and career third. This is inline with my own values. After listening to their inspirational stories of how they started they business and how they became successful while balancing their lives I too was inspired to go for it all. In fact my first few months as a consultant I mostly sold through catalog sales and samples. I wondered what could happen if I truly tried to be successful. So, that’s where I’m at now. I’ve been booking facials and skin care classes in addition to the catalog sales.

3. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your business thus far?

I think with any business there are going to be challenges and one is that people are so busy these days and things come up and they have to cancel and reschedule. About half of the facials and classes have canceled. My director did tell me this and suggested double booking and then if both do hold to have one of your Mary Kay consultant friends to do the facial for you, but I don’t feel comfortable doing this. Also, another suggestion was to utilize the time anyway for Mary Kay business if you need to make phone calls, etc. This can lead to discouragement, but attending weekly meetings helps so I don’t get discouraged.

4. What goals do you have for your business? What strategies have you implemented to achieve these goals?

My goals this year are to be in the National Court of Sales by selling $36,000 in retail product and to be in the National Court of Sharing which is recruiting 24 new consultants. I’ve divided this up and need to sell approx. $750/ wk and get 2 new recruits each month. So, far I have 1 recruit and have interviewed about 6 people who all are interested in the opportunity but not at this time. Most say they are too busy right now. I’m trying to hold 3 classes or facials a week and trying to interview 2 people a week. One director I listened to said she prays about the kind of person she wants as her recruits, so I have listened to her advice and been praying about that. My recruit I have is exactly the kind of person I prayed for. She is young, energetic, motivated, and beautiful. What a great asset for me as I begin to build my team!

5. Tell us something that not many people know about you.

Some people might not now that I was born in Chester, MT and moved to Oklahoma when I was only 18.

6. Last thoughts?

Mary Kay is fun! I really enjoy helping people that’s why I became a nurse and in Mary Kay you show women how to care for their skin and apply make-up. When you leave a skin care class or facial you have made a women’s day. You’ve made her feel good about herself and therefore you feel good. That’s probably why a lot of nurses and teachers are in Mary Kay. My website is www.marykay.com/cwickum

Thank you so much to Carey for her interview!

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Getting Closer to Being Debt Free
13 Questions For Your Next Realtor
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Categories : Success Story Tags : ,

How One Man Turned It All Around

Posted by 10 August, 2008 (3) Comment
I had the priviledge of exchanging messages with a gentleman who was kind enough to share his story about how he turned his financial situation around. I think it’s one that people should hear especially since he has come so far in such a small amount of time. It’s amazing what the human mind can accomplish! Here is a short excerpt about his past financial situation and how it’s changed in the past 5 months:

I am neither debt free, nor am I independently wealthy… but here is what has changed in the past 5 months:

I was borrowing upwards of $500 per paycheck from the bank (paycheck advance, costing $50 per incident), had my automobile repossessed and had to fight to get it back last October, and had cell phones, electricity and gas shut off on me several times over the past few years. Then I screwed up one month, and lost almost $2000 in banking errors. Not to mention nearly $30k in debt.

Since then… I’ve listened to and read Dave Ramsey’s materials, and used his advice. I have a $1000 emergency fund, have paid off close to $7000 in debt (in 5 months!), and just spent about $2000 on a Florida vacation, with CASH.

I’ll have the car paid off (I hope) by the end of the year (an additional $6k or so), and plan to be completely debt-free by the end of 2010. Not bad, considering where I’ve come from.

Dave Ramsey doesn’t have anything magical… no quick schemes, and even self-acknowledges that he won’t give you any advice that your grandmother wouldn’t have given. But he offers simple steps, designed to be easy concepts, and explains them so that you can do them and feel good about them… not feel like you are wrapped in a straightjacket. And, he advises on both debt-management, investments, and wealth-building.

Lee was like so many others out there, barely scraping by day to day – and sometimes not at all. But he managed to turn his financial woes into successes by implementing a well thought out plan. I think everyone can learn something from his story and strategies, and I hope to hear about and share how he progresses in the future. Thanks for sharing, Lee!
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Categories : Personal Finance,Success Story Tags :