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The Path

OK....... Running a small business is hard.


Not that I thought that this whole endeavor would be a cake-walk, but its a lot of work.


....Like.......A LOTTTTTTTTT of work.



Let's start with the blog.


I have a lot to say lately, but I have officially decided not to write until the mood strikes or there is something profound weighing on my head and my heart. My life is far too busy with a four month old, filling orders with WJC, and working a full time job to continuously come up with something interesting to write about every single week. That's just too much pressure!


I could never be a reporter or work for the newspaper.


The truth is, I don't want for every single blog to be dripping in constant pithy dialogue and long drawn out life-poetry. Sometimes, having an organic conversation is the way to go.


If I am being honest? I'm surprised anyone reads this stuff at all. The mere fact that my first blog entry received over 250 readers (or people just passing through), my second entry over 133, and my last entry just 53 is incredibly surprising. People actually want to read what I have to say, and I am not sure how to process that. Either way....if you've read any of my entries, thank you. Even if it was a paragraph. Even if you thought it was stupid. Even if you read it on the toilet.....


Thank you.


I think the biggest challenge that I am facing right now is who I want to be in all of this, and what do I want my product to look like?


Let's talk about design.


Kendra Scott, Kinsley Armell (OMGGG their stack bracelets are amazing), Vinca, Haley Labeuf, and Limbo Jewelry are some of the most inspiring Texas designers that I have seen in the past decade. Just a few ladies, making jewelry in their homes who blew up to be MASSIVELY popular designers. Some went to design school, some did not. Either way, they are total bad asses and an inspiration to myself and other women who built their businesses from the ground up.


What I think is most inspiring is how these ladies found their "look".


When we see a Kendra Scott, we KNOW its a Kendra Scott piece. We recognize the stones, the outer metals, the chain design, and the logo. It's truly remarkable how logos and trademarks become these things we live our lives around. Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton, Coach, ....McDonald's.....(ha!).....we recognize these brands without having to see the name.


So, how do I find my Wesley James?




Let's talk about materials and mediums.


Boy, if I don't decide on what medium I want to create I am going to go bankrupt!


The truth is, I want to do it ALL. Mainly because I want to give YOU options. Recycled leather goods, faux leather, polymer clay, wood and epoxy resin, laser-cut wood (I want a GLOWFORGE SO BAD), rattan, wicker, hand-beaded, metal......the sky is the absolute LIMIT with this stuff. It is unbelievable the mediums that you can use to create jewelry. In fact, it is quite overwhelming. For a while, I had intended on putting out a little bit of everything and gathering data on what people like more. I have found that if I don't make a decision and try to stick with ONE medium, I am going to go broke if I continue to try it all. It's okay to try it all at first, but eventually I am going to have to choose what medium suits me as a designer the best. I will never get ahead spending countless profits on medium after medium. I have to find out who I am in all of this...and that's tough.


The other question that plagues me is quality and what my customers are buying.


Let's talk about quality and expectations.


There is so much worry in sending a product off and wondering if the customer will pull it out of the box to be bent, torn, or squished from a careless delivery. What if they don't like my presentation? Even worse, what if the customer puts it on and it breaks, crumbles if it is clay, tears if it is faux leather, or the product doesn't show up at their doorstep at all????


Last Christmas, a customer bought one of my wood earring pieces. As usual I always tell my customers to please notify me immediately if any of the above should happen. One of my particular pieces that I created....specifically the Grinch.....faced a little hiccup a few days after arrival. My sweet customer kindly informed me that she exited the car and ran inside during a torrential downpour. When she took her earrings off, they were a ruined, ink-dripped, paper/wood-wilted mess. I had forgotten to put a solid wood sealant on the earrings before shipping them off.


Crap.



FYI for the newbie jewelry maker.........MODGE PODGE DOES NOT SEAL, NOR PROTECT YOUR PIECES FROM WATER DAMAGE. Do your research and use other materials.


Needless to say, I wasn't embarrassed but more disappointed with my incompetence.


Yes, I said I was NOT embarrassed.... and here's why.


I was once called "emotionally immature" and I was SUPER offended. I mean, ME? EMOTIONALLY IMMATURE!??? WHO DID THEY THINK THEY WERE? I AM TOTALLY BALANCED, I AM THE TRUTH, I AM ---- SOOOOO reacting to what is happening inappropriately.


Yikes.


I would always react to certain situations with a passion that was wild, angry, depressive and frankly.....unnecessary. Over time, as I matured, I learned to carry a set of rules/philosophies into whatever I was going to pursue. One major rule that I always refer to is to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS leave 5% space for disappointment. Whether it be with people, goals, or yourself. I think when we set ourselves up to expect certain outcomes to occur, and they don't happen the way that we expect, or when we don't prepare our minds properly for failure, we develop a weak coping mechanism. This is why some people quit halfway through goals, workouts, or projects. WEAK FAITH MUSCLES. Of course, there are special circumstances in terms of quitting, but if you can help it?


There's no excuse. Fix the problem. Find a way.


Keep going. Get back up.....Keep --- Ok, I sound like a football coach. I just watched Remember The Titans this past weekend and I keep getting these flashes of Denzel in my mind.



“Fake 23 blast...with a backside George reverse!!”

Either way, I learned to respond to situations of failure or disappointment with grace. I learned to look for silver linings. Most importantly, I learned to OWN my mistakes. This particular situation was no different, and I knew that taking OWNERSHIP of my mess-up was incredibly imperative if I wanted to be successful. This was a first time customer, and I wanted to make it right.


I fixed the issue with the earrings immediately and I continue to ask each and every customer to please inform me if anything should happen with their product in the future. Customer service, above all things, is of the upmost importance when running a small business, or ANY business for that matter.


Make the situation right, and they will return....hopefully!




Let's close with the big picture.....


The truth is, I have all of these thoughts, feelings of apprehension and burning business questions.....but since my launch in early December of 2020, I have had individuals in over 25 states across the U.S. browse and purchase from my site. In addition, I have had 500 visitors on wesleyjamesco.com, at least 20 subscribers, over 400 followers on my Facebook page, and $700 in sales in just a month and a half.


Support and interest for whatever this thing is turning into has been astounding. What is even more crazy is that it just keeps growing and I am essentially hanging on for dear life.


Wherever this is headed, I am going to continue to create and have fun. I don't think I need to worry about my "look" right now. Everything will come to me in due time.


For now....let's just ....make stuff. Whether it be with a Cricut machine, or by hand, I'm going to continue to enjoy this journey and bring happiness to people's lives through artistic design.


Here's to staying the path and trusting that wherever it leads, I will be right where I am supposed to be.


Cheers,


Lindsay


P.S. If you haven't subscribed to the website, I hope that you do. I also hope that you will come here and chime in on the posts in the comments below! Let me know your thoughts! Let's chat. xoxo















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