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It's Time to Keep My Promise


In my first post of 2023, I’d laid out three goals I was hoping to achieve this year.  And I’d promised that the last post of the year would tell you how I’d done.  At the time I wrote that earlier post, I questioned the wisdom of putting my goals out there for others to see.  And to some extent I question that wisdom still.  But I did it anyway, saying I’d rather be the person who tried and failed, than be the one who was too timid to try. 


It’s time for me to come good on that promise, so this post is about what I’ve done towards each of my goals. And I’d love nothing more than if you’d leave a comment telling me what you think.


Introducing gold vermeil into my collections


I went into this with confidence, because I was convinced that it needed to be done.  As soon as the idea had crossed my mind, I read up as much as I could on various aspects of gold plating, such as thickness, caratage, colour etc.  My biggest concern was being able to communicate to potential customers the value they were getting from my gold vermeil pieces vs ordinary gold-plated pieces which cost that little bit less.  And that was how the De-mystifying Gold blog post was born.  If you want to know what gold vermeil is, that’s the place to go. 


When you go into something with confidence, it normally turns out well, as did this.  The pieces I’d chosen from my range looked good in gold, I’d tested three platers and had chosen my favourite one, I knew the thickness I wanted, and the pieces have sold well.  While many women happily wear both gold and silver jewellery, because I collaborate with a House of Colour Consultant, Kelly Caira, I know that there are women who are particular about wearing only one or the other.  Having a range in gold vermeil opened up a new group of potential customers.


So although sales can always be better, my personal view is that this was a happy tale.


Exploring  retail opportunities


I’ve mentioned many a time that 2022 wasn’t a good year for Halo from a sales perspective.  The idea of exploring retail opportunities came off the back of wanting to address what happened in 2022.  I thought that perhaps the pandemic had given Halo an artificial lift, and now that people were shopping in person, I needed to sell in person too.


So I did some research and found about 20 retail outlets that I thought would be a good fit for my products.  I then picked a handful of these which were all in the Marylebone area, and decided to spend the day visiting them.  What a disappointment that day turned out to be!  The displays were indifferent, the staff seemed to know little about what they were selling, and some of the places were closed without any explanation. 


In every shop, but particularly at small retailers, I believe it’s the people that make or break the place.  While none of us are keen on the pushy “May I help you?” person, if a small retailer doesn’t know about the products they sell, or worse, appear to be indifferent to the people who walk in, something’s not right.  Not one of the places I visited gave me a good feeling, and I came back rather disheartened. 


My business coach, Thierry Bayle, has asked me not to abandon the idea entirely.  He believes that these things are as much about the supplier as they are about the retailer, and if I talk about my products with passion, and train their staff well, things might be different.  This is absolutely true, and because of his wise words, I will simply park the idea for now instead of abandoning it altogether.


Did you notice how sneaky I was with the wording of my goal, though?  The goal was “Exploring retail opportunities”, not “Going into retail”.  Yes, technically I’ve achieved my goal, but in every other sense, I haven’t.  I’d love to know what you think.


Introducing larger designs into my collections


I thought another way of addressing how 2022 had gone would be to broaden the style of the jewellery I offer.  Most of my pieces are small and dainty, and I’d been toying with the idea of introducing some larger pieces into my collections for a while. Perhaps this was the time to do it.  I felt that these might appeal to a different demographic, those looking for pieces for an occasion, or maybe just those with a different style preference. 


So I designed some bigger pieces, and I thought they turned out really well.  But I suffered from the classic one-person-band problem - I do my own marketing.  And while I knew that they were very well made and looked nice, they simply didn’t sing to me the way my other pieces do.  I felt uncomfortable at the idea of saying to anyone who would listen, “Isn’t this piece gorgeous!” when I didn’t feel it in my heart.  So I set the pieces aside and decided to sleep over it.   


That was when the idea of creating a range of necklaces designed specifically for layering was born.  It addressed my goal beautifully, without me having to pretend I loved something I didn't.. 


Each necklace in the ‘Designed for Layering’ range is beautiful and dainty, and can be worn on its own, or along with others to create a more substantial look.  I can add more pieces to the collection as I go along, and all in all, I’m both excited with the idea and happy with the outcome.  The pieces I introduced had a slow start sales-wise, but have now picked up.  I can’t wait to take this range further, and see where my imagination will take me.


I’m looking at the words that came to my head while describing the larger pieces- “well made”,” nice”, “turned out well”.  These are not words of passion and belief.  And then I look at how I’ve described the Designed for Layering range – “excited”, “happy”, “beautiful”, “can’t wait”.  My choice was easy once I paid attention to my own words.


I’ll freely admit that I didn’t meet the goal of introducing larger pieces, but I did solve the underlying problem without compromises.  I’ll leave you to decide whether you deem this a failure or a success.


And Finally…


I haven’t made any plans for 2024 yet, because I’ve yet to sit in a quiet corner and reflect on 2023.  But reflect I most certainly will as I do every year.  Unless I take time out to do that so I can recognise my successes and failures, analyse their causes and learn from them, I'll be doomed to make the same mistakes again.  Even worse, I won't be able to take advantage of the opportunities that the successes have to offer.  And that most certainly is not how I would want to end the year.


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