In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Shelby Fanning, the owner of The Jewelry Junkie. The Jewelry Junkie sells jewelry, handbags and accessories, is based in Kennedale, Texas, and has been in business for fifteen years. Shop jewelry here.
Abound: Why did you decide to start this business? Why this business and not a different one?
Shelby: I’ve been making jewelry and various hand crafts since I was 6 years old. I never really intended to start a business. It began as a hobby and just continued to grow as I sold pieces here and there. I had many requests for wholesale as my line grew, so that was the next step. The whole process has been an evolution, one step at a time.
Abound: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
Shelby: My first piece of jewelry was made from a home made clay recipe of flour, water and salt. I don’t make jewelry from kitchen ingredients anymore, but I’ve never moved away from the “hand-crafted” nature of my products.
Abound: How do you make your product? Yourself? A manufacturer? What’s your process like?
Shelby: Up until 6 years ago I made every piece myself inside my house. The company began to grow beyond the confines of my home office to the point that I needed employees to fill orders. I now have a warehouse in Kennedale, TX where the jewelry is manufactured by an awesome group of women. I still do the designing, but there’s no way I could make all the pieces we turn out in a month without their help.
Abound: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
Shelby: No two days are alike. Everyday contains some paperwork and email, but that’s probably the only part that is static. Some days I design, some days I order supplies, some days I organize receipts for my accountant. My least favorite is the accounting-type work that I have to do. Most of it is out-sourced, but keeping up with receipts is tedious, but a must!
Abound: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
Shelby: I loaned my company the money out of my personal checking account and re-paid it after my first show. I don’t believe God wants us to be in debt so I started out small, doing local craft shows in a tiny booth so it didn’t really take much money to start. I think the booth cost $25 and the jewelry to fill it was $100. I didn’t have to sell much to turn a profit.
Abound: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
Shelby: A local flea market/craft fair.
Abound: Where do you sell your product now?
Shelby: We are in over 500 boutique locations through-out the USA and Canada.
Abound: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
Shelby: I love small businesses and what they represent to America. I could envision selling to small regional chains in the future.
Abound: Do you have a favorite product? If so, which one?
Shelby: I love anything made from the Natural Turquoise stones. There’s so much variation in the coloring. I want to keep them all for myself everytime I receive a new shipment!
Abound: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
Shelby: I think social media is important to any business in this day and age. We maintain Instagram and Facebook on a daily basis. We also had a large following with our promotional email campaigns.
Abound: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with The Jewelry Junkie?
Shelby: Feeling like I had the right answer only to learn it was completely wrong. It’s been very frustrating at times, but I’ve found if I view all the “wrong turns” as learning experiences I can put them in perspective a little bit better.
Abound: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with The Jewelry Junkie?
Shelby: Last year we were finally able to move into a location that is completely owned by the company. We have rented out small spaces all along and finally have some room to grow. God blessed us not only with a warehouse, but a couple of acres of land as well right in the middle of town.
Abound: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
Shelby: Test, test, test! Never invest in something you haven’t taken the time to test on your target customer. I’ve watched countless new businesses fail because they use all their money to invest in a product that never moves. They were certain people would love what they had to offer and then customers didn’t respond. Start out small and test new products on different audiences before making a larger investment.
Abound: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
Shelby: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Abound: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
Shelby: The job suits my personality. I never get bored and there’s always another challenge to tackle!