Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Lauren Alleyne. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Lauren, appreciate you joining us today. Alright, so you had your idea and then what happened? Can you walk us through the story of how you went from just an idea to executing on the idea
I started making jewelry in 2012. As soon as I realized how much I loved it, I knew I wanted to turn it into an actual business. I remember getting my very first sale when a coworker bought my handmade bead bracelet right off my wrist! That’s when I hit the ground running.
Knowing what to do to get started was actually kind of intuitive for me. I knew I needed materials, a website, photography, accounting, branding, packaging, and social media to start. I thought getting a website was this big, difficult, expensive thing, but then a friend recommended Etsy which is a free platform for handmade artists. They only took a small percentage of sales, so I was fine with that. Every time I got a sale it increased my faith that this business could really work. I took my own photos with my phone and taught myself how to edit the photos. For my accounting, I set up an Excel sheet and tracked every single thing I purchased for my business. I literally knew the price of a single bead. I wanted to get everything right in the beginning, so I’d have less to clean up down the line. At the time my goal was to get everything I needed to start while spending the least amount of money possible. I figured “Look, I’m smart and I have great taste, so I’ll just do everything myself. Anything I need to know I’ll just look it up”.
Branding was the fun part, because I could really get creative with my image. I thought to myself “okay, when I order things online, what impresses me the most? Quick shipping, branded packaging, hangtags, packing slip, great customer service….okay bet.” I remember spending hours in Paint designing my logo then getting everything printed by Vistaprint.com. It ended up being this beautiful peacock aesthetic with my initials and company name, Lauren Alleyne Collection (My original business name). As my style became more refined, I changed to a simpler brand color scheme-black, white, and a hint of teal. I also knew I had to have a social media presence, so I set up a Facebook page, Instagram account, Pinterest, and any other online selling platform I could find. I was determined to be everywhere! I had everything up and running within two weeks. One thing I learned later on was how important branding is on social media as well as in person. I was just posting anything and everything and nothing was cohesive or visually appealing. I wasn’t conveying any type of message or invoking any type of feeling to anyone who visited my platforms. Navigating social media for your business takes continual learning, evolving, and inspiration.
Not long after I started, I began doing any craft show I could find so I could get my name out there, meet customers in person, and see what they liked and didn’t like. In 2016 I taught myself how to build my own website, www.LaurenAlleyneJewelry.com, and that made me feel more official and professional. I knew I wanted to eventually sell my jewelry in stores, so I researched how to do that. I created a line sheet, which is a branded tool that showcases your products to stores and wholesale buyers, and reached out to retailers all around Georgia. I was sooo happy when I got my first retail account in 2016 at a boutique called Festivity in Buckhead. So far, my jewelry has been sold in eight stores in Atlanta as well as Los Angeles.
When I got started, and even today, I researched everything. Google was my best friend. Any little question I had I Googled it. One thing I’ve never done was wait on anyone to do anything for me. Once I get an idea, I act on it immediately! I was driven to learn everything I could to become a success. Everything I went through to build this business built tremendous character through blood, sweat, and tears. There were times I did want to give up when I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, but I couldn’t; I loved making jewelry so much, and had already come so far! Today I am so thankful for everything I’ve learned, how much my brand has evolved, how many wonderful people I’ve met, and how far I’ve come. I’m grateful for the opportunity to express my creativity in a way that makes others feel happy and fabulous!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
Growing up, I didn’t consider myself creative at all. It wasn’t until a friend suggested making jewelry just for fun that I realized how much I loved creating. It was like a whole new world opened up for me. The possibilities of what I could make were endless!
I handcraft bold, colorful, and eclectic statement pieces for the sophisticated, fashion-forward woman. My jewelry is for the woman who is not afraid to stand out and wants to have fun with fashion; the woman who appreciates artistic pieces that are one-of-a kind and unique. I want women to know that statement jewelry doesn’t have to be intimidating, that’s why I use streamlined design patterns and colors that can work with your everyday look.
My style is considered bohemian glam, because I use natural earthy elements such as crystals, druzys, and geodes combined with flashy diamond or cz accents. I also use a lot of moon, evil eye, and other eccentric charms in my work because I want my jewelry to have that magical, mystical essence!
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
Social media has been a game-changer! I would say 90% of my clientele comes from Instagram or Facebook. I am able to connect with people from all around the world that I would never have access to otherwise. The rest of my customers come from Google searches or word of mouth.
Do you sell on your site, or do you use a platform like Amazon, Etsy, Cratejoy, etc?
I sell on Etsy, Amazon, and my own website. Etsy and Amazon are great because they already have a built-in market. Anyone can stumble upon your shop or your products, so that cuts down on having to advertise via those channels. The downside is that they take a portion of your profit. Another con is that there are a lot of other sellers on those platforms and your products can get lost in a sea of competitors.
I think having my own website builds more credibility, it makes my business feel more legitimate and professional, it provides an online presence for search engine optimization, and it’s a great way to showcase my brand. The only thing with having my own website is that I have to find different ways to drive customers directly to my site.