The last two weeks have been wild, and we had an AWESOME February. What made us cry and tear our hair out and drink wine to forget? What was amazing and kept us going? Read on...
We went to Florida, and it was sunny! Take away? Trunk Shows are amazing for the brand, I love talking with every single customer; my respect for sales associates and store owners has grown exponentially, and, WOW, it is all exhausting. Literally ALL those points are equally important. The experiment of ‘trying’ some trunk shows to see how they could fit into our overall sales showed me that trunk shows absolutely earned their spot into monthly effort and plans. It’s an incredible way for us to try out a market and to get to know a store to see if our brands and consumers align. I am REALLY looking forward to planning more trunk shows, so if you know any awesome stores out there that would like to throw a cocktail party with Jane Winchester...please let me know! Spoiler alert, our next stop will be Austin, TX.
[With all our friends at Letarte on Worth Ave in Palm Beach]
[A truly special show with The Grove in Winter Park]
I achieved my sales goal for the month which was a huge triumph! Especially considering January was TERRIBLE and lonely and sad. Like, I thought I should close my doors and become a florist. Rewind. December, our launch month, despite product development and delivery issues - was awesome for sales! The local launch event and launch of our website married really well with the holiday shopping rush and we had an awesome first month. But then...January. I knew that there would be a dip in sales in January but honestly had NO IDEA that business just stopped. When chatting with store owners during the trunk shows they helped me understand that my business was not alone - it happens everywhere - the consumer takes a break from shopping. So next January I’m going to plan a month long trip :). More importantly, this learning will help me plan sales for next years ride of holiday to sad and lonely January.
I have made HUGE progress on product development. The pendants are now being plated in Rhode Island, and the quality is excellent. We launched the silver pendant. I found someone I really like to make some custom chains. We created our first earrings! WOW. And, I have started working with an overseas manufacturer to create more labor intensive pieces. I am currently finalizing a contract with a showroom to represent the brand in the wholesale market. These are all giant. Future planning for product development, making sure the quality of the product is excellent and establishing avenues to get the product into stores. This all has to ramp up quickly and is! So what keeps me up at night? I’m in baby. I’m producing higher quantities, I’m partnering with friends that are well respected in the industry - I am getting in deep. And you have to - but it’s worth saying...THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
Our strong month forced me to look at our yearly sales forecast and I realized...I might need some help SHIPPING all this product. Which led me to lunch with the former CEO of Lilly Pulitzer who gave me great advice on establishing an office space and building a warehouse/shipping facility as opposed to outsourcing the distribution. THIS led me to prioritizing what I want to keep ‘in-house’ and what I can ‘outsource’. Design, marketing/consumer communications (social media and customer service) are so clearly tasks that stay in-house. Production = easy outsource. I know that I will keep direct to consumer sales inhouse, on our site. Wholesale I see as 30% of the business and I want a strong showroom to manage this. I do not want to bring ‘wholesale sales’ in house. NOW...what about warehousing, receiving and shipping.
Currently I pack every box. I lovingly wrap each piece. It is one of my favorite things to hand write a note to each recipient. I adore the process, sounds silly, but I just send each piece off with love and good energy. Is this sustainable? Ummmm. No. But I want to be close to it! I don’t think I can handle outsourcing this to someone ... I don’t know. And that means - shit - I just blew it with the 3rd party warehouse appointments I have later this week hopefully they won’t read this and know I’ve pretty much made up my mind to keep in house!
The bottom line - the point of this blog...I love my business plan. I love the idea that we are building a personal business that cares, that develops real relationships with consumers...we chat with her in stores, we create a highly functional website, we chat directly with our friends via social media and we literally wrap each piece with care for her. Despite January being January, we see the strength of authenticity.
SOOOOOO here’s to March. Help us get there! Share this blog with a friend, shop our latest collection or tag someone who will love our story on Instagram! xxxxxx