In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Rachel Wood Joyner, owner of The Golden Type. The Golden Type sells lifestyle accessories such as travel mugs, water bottles, wine glasses, keychains, and office supplies, is based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and has been in business for six years.
Abound: Why did you decide to start this business? Why this business and not a different one?
Rachel: I don’t know that I ever just decided, it kind of found me naturally. I was selling crafty things, lots of gift wrap items. Then I started making cards and notebooks with fun sarcastic quotes, and it kind of grew from there.
I’d say my brand really started to grow when I decided that I wanted to add my designs to mugs. I searched for months to find someone to print these mugs for me and I just was not getting anywhere. After lots of research I found out about vinyl and I realized what a durable versatile material it was.
A: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
R: The first time I made one of my mugs was from a Pinterest tutorial with paint pins, drawing it on, then baking it in place. Those were kind of crap and I knew it wasn’t quality enough to sell.
Then I found vinyl and made it with no special tools. I used my scissor handles to apply / rub it onto the mugs. I now use all the tools possible and have the process down to a rhythm. It makes me laugh to think about how long the wine glasses used to take me to make.
A: How do you make your product? What’s your process like?
R: I design my products digitally and create the files appropriately to cut into vinyl. Once the vinyl is cut and the file is attractive and durable I create it in a multitude of sizes and colors for different product offerings.
I then weed away the excess vinyl, apply that to a transfer tape, and apply it to the products with different techniques depending on the items it’s going onto.
A: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
R: My day to day can be crazy. I typically have an assistant to help with production and order filling. Every day for me consists of working out and personal development before my true business routine starts. I believe both of those things are very important to my personal and business success.
My work day is largely consumed with order filling, client relations, administrative work, and social media management after that. I tend to spend my kid-free hours on production because computer work can be done while they are around. I try to keep work during family hours to a minimum though.
A: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
R: To be honest my initial investment wasn’t much. My business started very small and organically. My first big investments were in large equipment to make my processes go more smoothly.
Some of the investments I made in the first couple years were my Macbook, a small and large plotter, a large paper cutter, notebook binder, and large supply purchases. All of the above mentioned investments were $1,500 or less individual purchases.
A: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
R: DNA Galleries, a popular shop in the trendy Plaza District of OKC.
A: Where do you sell your product now?
R: So many places, I have been really blessed to be received well in the retail community across the US. Out On A Limb in OKC is what I would consider my home store. I have known the owner for several years, and they carry a large selection of my products.
A: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
R: I am really into my witchy vibe products right now and would love to expand into more mystical shops. I love small businesses and love to be a part of others’. I don’t anticipate moving into big box stores.
A: Do you have a favorite product? If so, which one?
R: My notebooks for sure. They are handmade from top to bottom. The covers take 24 hours to make. I hand cut and punch every single page.
Something about bringing together all of the separate parts into this luxurious little book makes me so happy. I like to think they are great for manifesting goals & dreams because they are made with so much love.
A: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of The Golden Type?
R: Social media is a big part of it for me. I think the best marketing I do are the pop up shows where I get to make real face to face connections. Those are the people who go on to be my most engaged followers, and loyal customers. I love them and have gotten to know so many of them well over the years.
A: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with The Golden Type?
R: The most frustrating challenge is trying to remain competitive to larger brands. Like I mentioned above, there was never some large investment to push me forward. I don’t have crazy capital to compete and offer really fast turnarounds, or huge sales.
I have to continually come up with new sayings and original designs because the one advantage I do have is I can put out a new product in a matter of hours. They are usually a season or year behind on trends because of the time it takes to birth a product.
That is also why I think it is so important to focus on the quality of products, and building relationships with your clients. I can offer my buyers a much more nurturing and professional experience than larger companies.
A: What are some of the greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with The Golden Type?
R: My biggest accomplishment by far has been in the times I have employed other women and mothers. Being able to give them a job that fits their schedules, allows them to make money, and also be supported in their home lives. That has filled my cup more than any monetary goals, or clients I have landed.
One of my other biggest achievements was kind of handed to me. Someone included my, ‘I can do all things through sarcasm and profanity,’ mug on a Buzzfeed list several years ago, it went viral and took me along for the ride.
Several of my products trended on Etsy for months after that, it was really crazy, and I’m mostly proud I didn’t lose my mind. It was very challenging, my business was still very green as far as handling large volume like that.
I was also super pregnant and working full time from home for a big corporation. It was both amazing and awful, but I wouldn’t trade what I learned in those months for anything.
I am also getting close to 10K sales on Etsy, and that is a big deal in that community.
A: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
R: My advice is to learn simple product photography and study study study how search engine optimization works and work at that relentlessly. Most of all embrace failure and get up every single time you are knocked down.
A: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
R: “Being an entrepreneur is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.” I don’t know who that quote is by, but it’s pretty descriptive of my life.
A: What’s your favorite things about being a business owner?
R: I love being in charge, honestly. That sounds bad I know, I’m a type 8 on the Enneagram test, it’s just how I am. I cannot stand answering to other people. I am so grateful that I was able to leave the corporate world and do something that brings me joy. Also endless stress, but the freedom is worth it every time.