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What's Cooking at Halo in 2023

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

This is my first post of 2023, and it’s a tricky one. I’m going to lay out for anyone who cares to see, what I plan on doing for Halo this year. I won’t be talking about my sales targets; nobody in their right mind does that. But I will be talking about the things I’m hoping to achieve in terms of business development. And then I'll write a blog post at the end of 2023, talking about what I actually did vs. what I said I would do. Scary, huh? It’s like sitting an exam and promising to share your results with the entire neighbourhood.

I use a method that I bumped into just before I started Halo. It’s called the Top Three Priorities Planning Method, and it’s used for project-like activities rather than the day to day running of the business. Here’s how it works:

  1. You identify three high-priority projects that you want to complete in the year. Describe them in a phrase or sentence.

  2. Then break each of the projects into four or five smaller tasks.

  3. Divide the year into quarters, and pick one or more tasks from each of the projects to complete in each quarter. That way you’ll be making progress on each of your projects every quarter.

  4. Divide your quarter into months, and create smaller tasks based on the ones you’ve got for the quarter. You can keep going down to weeks, even days. I stop at months because that’s what works for me. I plan each week on the previous Friday anyway.

All this is of course, in addition to the day to day running of the business. Now you know how I plan, let me tell you about the three things I want to tackle this year.

Introducing Gold into my Collections

This has been on my mind for a while, and I'm hoping it will open up a whole new world for me and my customers. So far, the only gold pieces I’ve done have been bespoke gold plated ones. Solid gold pieces requires a significant amount of investment, and being self-funded, I'm not ready for that just yet. So I’ll be starting off what is known as gold vermeil, which is a certain minimum thickness of gold plating on sterling silver. This, of course, leads to a whole host of new questions, from the most basic ones such as the colour, purity and thickness of gold I want to use, to more tricky business related ones.

How many pieces should I stock? How many pieces do I get plated in a batch for it to be cost-effective without compromising quality? What about pricing? Should they just be existing designs, or should I do specific gold designs? It’s going to be exciting, but it’s also going to need a lot of research, which for a geek like me means just one thing – fun!

Introducing Larger Designs into the Selection

This is not something that’s been in my head for too long, but it stems from thinking about my target customer. I realised at some point last year, as I was looking at my social media stats that my jewellery appears to appeal to relatively young women. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

However, when you combine this with one of the main reasons for setting up Halo, which is to donate a significant chunk of profits to the education of disadvantaged girls, I wondered how many in the younger age group would have a strong pull towards this particular cause.

That isn’t to say that young women don’t value their education. It’s simply that I know from my own experience, that I properly thought about the many ways in which the lack of a basic education holds people back, long after I’d finished university and started working. Until then, I'd very much taken for granted the opportunities that were afforded to me because of my education.

So I think the visual appeal of the jewellery I produce and Halo’s purpose may not resonate with the same group of people, and I need to address that. I thought introducing slightly larger pieces that may appeal to a more mature audience might be the answer. I know there are plenty in all age groups who find my jewellery appealing, so I’m certainly not moving away from any of my signature pieces or my core, minimalistic style. But perhaps some new pieces won’t be quite as dainty as some of my earlier designs.

Exploring Retail Opportunities

I’ve probably already mentioned that 2022 wasn’t a great year for Halo, and being me, I’ve spent many an hour thinking about why this might have been. The easy answer would be to blame it all on the cost of living crisis, but I think there’s more to it than that.

Other than the Ukraine war, the big thing that happened in 2022 was that the restrictions of the pandemic were largely lifted, and people started shopping in person again. Halo started during the pandemic, and undoubtedly would have got an artificial lift because everyone was shopping online, and being an online only business didn’t put it at a disadvantage.

Jewellery is one of those things that benefits from being seen, touched and tried on. In fact the tactile nature of jewellery and it's traditional making processes is what attracted me to jewellery making in the first place. So I’m thinking that a retail presence, however small may give Halo a bit of a boost.

That means that the third thing I’d like to do this year is to explore the possibility of stocking at some small boutiques. Did you notice how sneaky I am with my wording? I’ve simply said ‘explore the possibility’ without committing to going any further. I already know that finding the right retailer, who’s willing to showcase Halo’s jewellery on the right terms, is going to be no mean task. Halo may have to kiss many frogs before a prince is found. I’m as curious as ever to see how this turns out.

And Finally…

I admit that this is all a lot to take on in addition to everything else that needs to be done just to keep the business ticking over. I know there will be those who question the wisdom of any or all of these projects, as well as the wisdom of putting them out in the public domain for everyone to see. It exposes me to the possibility of a rather embarrassing failure. But then, whatever we try to do, there will always be naysayers and doubters. And I would rather be the person who tried and failed than the one who was too timid to try in the first place.

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