Chelsea Farmer isn’t new to operating a business during troubled times. She might not have braved a pandemic, but starting a business during the height of a recession took great courage and commitment.
After leaving her office job in 2009, Chelsea originally started her journey of inspiration, purpose and creativity with barn sales and consulting. Her company HorseFeathers Gifts, soon became a national online brand offering affordable beautiful jewelry that held up to everyday wear.
I reached out to Chelsea to see if she could share some strategies with us on how to think outside of the box with alternative ways to sell jewelry during a global pandemic. Just as I had hoped, I was able to discover just what I desired to learn.
Becky: Thank you Chelsea for taking the time to educate us on some of the many alternative ways that you sell your jewelry. My understanding is that you have experienced an increase in sales during this global pandemic. Is that correct?
Chelsea: Yes! In fact our sales are up over 400% compared to this exact time frame last year. Which seems CRAZY, but i’m very grateful for it.
Becky: Where would you credit the increase coming from?
Chelsea: I believe the increase in sales has a lot to do with the community we’ve built around our brand. We have a private Facebook group where we hangout with our customers, chat about what’s going on in the world, and share our daily style. I think having a more personal aspect to our brand has really helped build trust and increased brand awareness overall.
Becky: You offer a monthly “Meaningful Bits Subscription Boxes?” Can you tell us a little bit about how you have set this up?
Chelsea: Our subscription just turned 1 year old this month! It’s called Meaningful Bits and is a surprise piece of jewelry that our customers receive each month with a special meaning + quote card. Each piece is always a complete surprise. We open up spots to sign up for about 24-48 hours each month, so there’s a real urgency to get yourself a spot. We don’t show any details of the piece or meaning until our customers have received their packages. Then we do a whole post or video explaining the meaning of that month’s piece. The next day we then open up spots for new members to join in.
Becky: I love how you have created a sense of urgency with “spots open up about 24 hours each month and are limited.” Can you tell us how that sort of marketing approach has served HorseFeather Gifts?
Chelsea: The first month we started the subscription box we had a goal of getting 50 people on the list. We talked about this new subscription offering on social media and in our newsletters for about a month prior to it launching. When we launched, the spots filled up in under 5 minutes. We knew that we were on to something with limiting the amount of signups. This method works for us in two ways: it allows us to slowly grow the subscription, and allows us to keep it more exclusive and fun for our subscribers. Everyone loves feeling like they’re in a little “club” by being members of it!
Becky: I just joined your HorseFeathers Gifts VIP Facebook Group! You have built way more than just a place to buy jewelry. You have gathered a tribe! Tell us a little about this and how you created it.
Chelsea: Honestly, I selfishly started the VIP Group. We had a retail shop for 6 years prior to me having my son, so I was used to seeing customers every day purchase our jewels, and then wearing them around town and in our shop. Once we moved to online only I realized that I was really missing that part of the business. Customers were showing up every week and shopping with us, but I wasn’t really seeing them enjoying our pieces afterwards. The group was designed to be a relaxed environment for our customers to show off how they are enjoying our products in their daily lives. It quickly became a community for making friends, sharing encouragement and having fun! It’s definitely one of the most fun parts of our business.
Becky: During a pandemic, you have been a voice of joy for so many. I love your April Meaningful Bits quote of: Be someone who makes everyone feel seen in your presence. Can you tell us more about how your connection with your community has created a loyal following of customers?
Chelsea: This business is my life. I LOVE what I do. I think our customers can see how much my team and I really care about this brand. It’s about encouraging and inspiring women of all backgrounds, all ages, in all walks of life. We treat every customer like they’re a life long friend, from the way we answer emails to the way we talk on social media, and it makes them want to stick around:)
Becky: As a business owner, do you find events like alt summit to be helpful for continuing education? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience there?
Chelsea: I’ve attended a lot of conferences over the past 10 years. Alt Summit is by far my favorite conference. It is set up so that you choose what speakers and workshops you want to attend each day, unlike the “one class fits all” structure most conferences use. They offer classes in photography, social media, SEO,etc. You name, it’s at Alt! I’ve been two years in a row and already have my ticket for 2021.
Becky: Can you share with us other alternative ways in which you sell your jewelry?
Chelsea: Since the Stay at Home orders went into place we’ve started hosting live DIY workshops to keep our customers entertained. We sold kits and set a date for them to join us and learn how to make their own bracelets. We then held a design contest for those who participated in the workshop. It was a huge success and our customers asked for more. We’re currently working to launch a quarterly DIY subscription box!
Becky: Tell us a little bit about your GROW-Business Mentorship.
Chelsea: I’ve been running HorseFeathers Gifts since 2009. Over the years I’ve tried and failed A LOT. After years of other business owners reaching out for help and insight, I launched my business mentorship. It’s an “ask me anything” style program where I help other entrepreneurs work on growing their business. I’ve coached over 100 students to date. I absolutely love sharing what I’ve learned over the years and helping others get over hurdles more quickly so that they can focus on the parts of their business that they are passionate about.
Becky: Thank you Chelsea for trusting your jewelry and brand with Nunn Design Findings. I appreciate you taking the time to help guide our community of makers with your business model.
Chelsea: Thank you for creating such unique findings!
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