We're very excited to be close to launching our jewelry range in the USA by opening a dedicated online jewelry store to cater to our lovely American customers, with prices in local currency and fast local delivery. Exciting times!
For those of you not familiar with Simone Walsh Jewelry: we're a much-loved Australian brand creating unique jewelry designs in precious metals and other high quality materials.
We've been designing and making jewelry for 25 years and have catered to many happy customers in the US during that time.
I've decided to share some personal background as to how Simone Walsh Jewelry came to the decision to launch a dedicated shop in the the United States as it's been an interesting and sometimes difficult journey.
This is a bit of a long story, so gather 'round.
In the beginning ...
It was New Year's Eve a bit over 3 years ago when I sat on my front porch with a dear old friend drinking endless glasses of wine and lamenting the state of the business.
Things were going well ... and yet not at the same time. I'd just been through another extremely busy Christmas, my hands were worked almost to the bone and I was truly, madly and deeply exhausted from far too many 100+ hour working weeks in a row.
It had been another successful year, yet finances were still a struggle. My friend suggested all sorts of marketing ideas, before he understood that I was one major marketing success away from certain failure: I physically couldn't manage to make more jewelry than I was already and a big influx of new customers could potentially be fatal to the business.
We discussed the option of having my designs manufactured in a factory, but I felt my customers would be unhappy about our designs being mass-produced - and I didn't feel especially comfortable about it either.
It all felt like a bit of a trap and I couldn't see a way through it. But we spent the whole night talking about it and and vaguely plotted a course of action which might just work.
A change in course
Coming as a great surprise to everyone we knew (not least ourselves) that dear old friend is now my husband. True story!
These days we manage Simone Walsh Jewelry together as a family-run business and with my husband's fresh perspective and business acumen we've made a lot of changes.
The key change has been to partner with an excellent and ethically-run jewelry workshop in Indonesia with skilled artisans who can create our designs beautifully. We personally visited the workshop to make sure we felt happy with this solution before starting work.
As a result we now have artisans helping to hand-make many of our components, while most of our jewelry designs are still finished and assembled in our Australian workshop - and many pieces still are made here from scratch. This is a solution I'm very comfortable with and it's working very well.
I'm now free to spend more time on business planning, customer relations, design and marketing. The extra time and brain space has allowed us to upgrade our packaging, change how we're shipping products, have the business re-branded, build a new website, explore new business ideas and much more besides.
The New Year's Eve just gone saw the two of us again sitting on the front porch drinking too much wine: but my fingers were in fine shape and I felt relaxed and happy. What a difference.
Returning to where it all began
As a result of Simone Walsh Jewelry having a lot more capacity we've decided to dip our toes into the US market, with a dedicated online jewelry shop in local currency with fast local delivery.
The United States is actually where our business first got started with selling online.
It was way back in 2006 that I decided to take a punt on a new website called Etsy. I was fairly convinced that nobody would buy jewelry online, but it looked like an easy way to list a few items and see what happened.
What happened - to my surprise - was that my jewelry almost instantly started selling. Very quickly I realised that running an online shop was going to work for me after all. Soon enough I set up my own independent online shop and moved away from Etsy.
At the time almost all of my customers were in the United States. Australians were still pretty uncomfortable with shopping online, but Americans had well and truly embraced it.
That all changed by 2009 after the global financial crisis had hit: the US economy was in a very bad way, Australia was doing okay and Australians were finally happy to be shopping online. My US-based customers rapidly decreased in number, while my Australian customers rapidly increased, so Australia is where my focus has been ever since.
Now in 2017 we feel the time is right to set up shop in the USA. Much research and planning has gone into this project. We're currently busy building our new online shop, getting a warehouse and delivery services established, sorting out financial arrangements and endlessly reminding ourselves to spell 'jewellery' as 'jewelry' in all the right places (do forgive us if we miss a few of those).
We should be live in the USA in mid-to-late August. Hooray!
Get onboard early
If you're in the US you can get onboard early by joining our new mailing list right here. You'll be first to know when we're open for business.
Also if you like the look of what we do, we'd love you long time if you could spread the word to friends and family.