If you run a business, you know the joy it brings, each time you receive a new order. Actually, forget that. You don’t need to own a business – I know when I was an employee, I would almost always check my account at midnight on pay day. Being rewarded for my effort was always something to look forward to. It didn’t matter that most of my wage would soon be gone on bills, bills, bills…

Fast forward a few years and the same excitement abounds… except when it doesn’t. Take two weeks ago for example. In one evening, I got two orders and three messages about custom requests at about 11pm.

It was exciting for about half a second and then I felt dismay. It had been a long day and I was just beginning to wind down. Now, I had to get back into work mode, thinking up new ways to solve my customers’ problems, and manage to sound helpful and excited about it.

Truth is, I was excited. Only, I was exhausted too, and that got me thinking about the ways in which consumers now shop. We are all so busy in long day jobs that many of us – myself included, can only manage our personal responsibilities in the dead of night. With this change in dynamics and the proliferation of online market platforms, it really is no wonder that midnight sales have seen year on year increases.

I could have waited until morning to respond to the messages but I was awake, aware of them, and would drive myself crazy, knowing that I had left customers waiting.

So there I was, crafting responses, doing some math and cursing my rude vibro-alert on my phone. Thankfully, two of the messages resulted in further sales within 24 hours. A 66.6% conversion rate at 11pm? More of that, please!

Anyway, the point of this post really, is to simultaneously have a moan about some of the slight negatives of being in business, and on the other hand, profess my gratefulness for all of my customers; the good and the bad. Because of you, I feel grateful and happy that my creations have enriched lives in a small (or big) way. Because of you, I am able to make a living. And because of you, I am growing into just the kind of artist that I want to be.

Finally, I would love to thank the Etsy developers. My fellow etsy sellers know what I mean when I talk about the ecstasy that flows when we get a notification of a sale – that joyous sound of a till ringing up a sale: KERCHING!!!

So, be it morning, afternoon, evening, or dead of night, long may the Kerching’s reign.

Until next time…

๐Ÿ˜‰ xx


Almost there…

Omni medallion - from the AW13 Collection, THAM THEU

Omni medallion – from the AW13 Collection, THAM THEU

Getting the AW13 collection has been my biggest challenge yet – but not for the reasons you would think.
Designing and producing the components, while not a completely problem free exercise, was much easier than I had anticipated.
The only thing (well, person) standing in my way was me, really.

First, I decided that I wanted a new website and logo before the launch. Then I decided that there was no point in having a new site, logo and collection without a hundred more products on offer. Finally, after the hoopla of businesses using my name a couple of weeks ago, I decided to go all out and really grow this baby.
The result, a shift in focus from jewellery to more administrative tasks – bad’ish’ move. Once you’re out of the creative ‘zone’, getting it back is a bitch!
I have been busy, busy, busy as heck but failed to achieve on time, the one thing I really wanted – the early release of the AW13 collection.

But the mark of a winner? Dynamism. The willingness and ability to adapt to changes and still create the best work possible, is something that successful people have in common. Ergo, stop, reassess, strategize and move forward.

And that’s just what I have done.
Not only is the design for the new website ready, the SS14 collection too is on lockdown. Crazy, right? No. It’s always best to plan and hope for the best while expecting the worst. Accounting school taught me that… I think.

Anyway, here we are! It’s the end of summer and the AW13 collection is finally ready. The press release is written, the newsletter all done and the photographs edited. All that remains, is to press ‘SEND’. I feel like a demi-god and it thrills me to bits to let you know that the new collection, THAM THEU, will be launched on the 8th of September, 2013.

Get in!!!

Designer Rant, then Even Bigger Things Popping!

When I said, I’d be back last week, I had every intention of doing just that. But as we all know, life has a way of throwing spanners in the works when we least expect. Well, if we expected it, it wouldn’t really be a spanner in the works, would it?
Anyway, I’m doing a random search of facebook when I decide to try out my hashtag #vijoux.
Imagine my surprise when I found it led to jewellery posts on another page set up by a small jewellery maker like me. Angry, seems inadequate to describe what I felt.

Before the business was registered, I researched the name extensively and all that came up was a French illustrator and the Continental Hotel in Osaka, Japan. A few years later, 3 creatures with no imagination are trying to trade off my hard work by using business names which differ little from mine. Does it really matter that they are not based in the UK? Would you be crazy enough to start a business named some variant of Swarovski, Bulgari or Chanel? Where is the pride in standing out? Where are their business ethics? And then, to add insult to injury, one of them comes on to the instagram account and starts interacting. What chutzpah!! The little imp was immediately blocked.
In the creative business, it is expected that there will be similarities, copying even – supposedly the best form of flattery – but this is a little too close for comfort; and after I found an Etsy seller had made an exact replica of my tag pendant and passed it off as her work – the nerve!!

Anyhoo, after a lot of huffing and puffing, there was really only one thing for it. Go bigger and better. So much bigger that they get drowned out completely. They become so insignificant that even they realise their ridiculous stupidity. To that end, there is a new facebook page which you can access here

Rather than stick to the handmade jewellery, there will be an exclusive handmade collection, a commercial collection, accessories and the release of paintings currently taking up space in my dining room. The new website go-live date has had to be pushed back to allow reformatting to include the changes. It sure is a lot to put on my plate and it will take some time for all of this to come to realisation but if there is one thing a Leo (it was my birthday on 8/8) never does, it’s back down from a fight.

So get your ringside tickets; it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Manyi ๐Ÿ˜€

PS: Now I’ve got this off my chest, I WILL be back later this week with all the details about the new collection and the go-live date for the new site.

Unique Selling Point

If there is a phrase I love to hate, it’s ‘unique selling point’ (USP).
Any basic research on marketing will tell you in no uncertain terms that if you cannot tell your potential customers what sets you apart from your competitors, you might as well forget it.
It is a fact of life that ‘perception is everything’, and learning to market yourself or your business is no mean feat; worse still for introverts like me (Yes, I know I harp on about it but it really does play a big part in how we approach life and business, and thus deserves plenty of respect and consideration).

I know, in my mind, what makes me special. I even managed to express some of that in my business plan – at least enough that complete strangers were happy with it.
Come time to implement those ideas and it’s not as easy as it seems.

Truth be told, no business out there does everything the best in their industry. The trick is to try to find out the trade off point for most consumers and position yourself as close to that position as possible.

Task understood. But how to go about it?

In a world of millions of designers and crafters, how does one little person like me stand out? What is my unique selling point?

I am not a big international company with lots of money behind me, buoyed by exotic sounding names of designers who have completed study programs and apprenticeships at the prestigious art and design schools with respected masters. Oh no! Apart from the occasional duet and use of backing singers, I am in effect a one woman band.

So, I wrote a list of attributes that made me, me – who I am and my passions – and as I got further down the list, what set me aside from the others began to emerge. After months of agonising over what my jewellery offered that others didn’t, I realised that I had been looking at things all wrong.

My jewellery will never be mass-produced like in the big shops. I put my heart and energy into my work and each hand finished piece reflects an experience. No two will ever be the same so my customers get a true exclusive. I am passionate about design, quality, value and service. My drive is positive and I am conscious of my footprint.
Finally, I am me; an individual with a unique style, set of circumstances, talent, dreams and beliefs – irreplaceable and indomitable. And THAT is my USP.

As a ViJouX customer, what you get is much more than a good-looking accessory. With every purchase you make, you become part of a dream and invest in a legacy.
The beauty, quality, individuality, value, exclusivity and passion, are simply the exquisite icing on the cake.

ViJouX: Beauty, Passion and Excellence that captures your heart.