If you have been reading my blog for any bit of time, you have surely realized a few things about me. First, I am a klutz, but I have learned to go with the flow because (knock on wood) I have not had to go to the hospital for injury since I was a teenager. Second, I resist change of any type. Third, I have wonderful family and friends who give me lots of advice that I try wholeheartedly to listen to unless it causes me to change or be a klutz.
This is why it took me a year to start my Executive Beader store on Etsy. I had a coworker and then an Aunt continually telling me how much I needed to be on there.
This is why moving our entire family a thousand miles away has been slightly traumatic for me.
This is why I do challenge my skills with jewelry, but I do it at my own pace. Being a klutz means I dare not try some of the delicate metal working or glass techniques. I try not to set myself up for personal harm.
So when a good friend started to kindly pressure me about getting my jewelry into salons I resisted. I resisted so heavily I avoided the topic. I got really good at changing the subject.
After all, hadn’t getting on Etsy been enough? Apparently not. I have not sold a darn thing on Etsy.
And then on January 31st, 2013, my husband and I sat down and did the finances for my business. Thankfully, I had already tallied my receipts for purchases before my husband got home so I had an idea of how ugly it was going to be. Ouch! I had no idea I had been spending that much money on beads and supplies. But put it down in black and white on a spreadsheet and it is hard to deny. Please note – I checked my sum total formula three times to make sure it was not multiplying rows 5 through 19. And it was not, I really had spent that much on beads in one month.
Seeing all of the success stories on Facebook of those with their gorgeous jewelry in boutiques and shops has made me yearn to have that same success. Kind of like one yearns for the fame of being a movie star, but then realizing you need to look pretty 24/7.
Immediately after I realized how much money I had invested in materials, I picked up my phone and dialed the number for Magnolia Hair Salon. I asked for a “quick trim” with the owner who also cuts hair. They said I could come in the same day. That threw me for a loop, but I grabbed up some samples of bracelets and put them in a pretty bag, shoved the pretty bag in my purse, put on makeup, put on an outfit that matched my jewelry and drove over to the salon. I was shaking the entire time.
This woman did not know me.
I did not have an appointment to talk business.
I did not have any kind of business presentation prepared.
I had no idea what I was going to say to her.
I did not brush my teeth after breakfast and I wasn’t wearing lipstick (not that I normally do).
So I sat in her chair when it came to my turn. I stuck out my hand to shake hers and said “Hi I’m Rachel. You bought the earrings I made off of Jackie’s ears.”
Yes – a classy opening. But her eyes lit up and she said “Oh, you are the one who makes the jewelry”.
I know I gave a big audible sigh of relief.
My next words SHOULD have been “Yes, that is me. Jackie has said so many wonderful things about you. I was wondering if you would consider allowing me to consign some jewelry in your shop.”
INSTEAD what did come out if I remember accurately was “Yup, that’s me. Um. Uh. Whew. Jackie said maybe I could put some jewelry here.”
Really. That is what I said.
She looked appropriately confused. “Are you here for a haircut?”
I took a deep breath, centered my frayed nerves and responded. “Yes. I need to get a trim, but I was hoping I could show you some of my product.”
And so after washing my hair and combing out the many knots, I sat there with a wet head and showed her my bracelets. And she liked them.
“Bring them in tomorrow, and set them up in the corner.”
I paid for my haircut that was much shorter than I had wanted, but definitely worth the investment. I then walked out to my car and called my husband.
After sputtering around the words in excitement, my husband asked, “What are the terms?”
“Huh? What do you mean?” was my winded response.
My husband sighed and reminded me that I needed a contract before I put product in a store.
That was my duh moment of the day. I had a verbal request to bring jewelry in, but I did not even talk terms.
Even more embarrassing, I had not even left the salon owner my business card. Really, I am sharing that just so you understand how inept I am sometimes.
So that night after finishing the finances for January, my husband and I discussed the necessary terms of a contract. He even drafted it for me. I really do have the most wonderful and patient husband.
So February 1st, I packed my car with product and display. I had two copies of a consignment agreement and two pens in case we wanted to change any of the terms and one pen happened to fail. I drove the two miles to the salon, left the product in the car and walked into the salon with a queasy stomach, but a speech in my head.
And wouldn’t you know, I timed it perfectly. The customer in the owner’s chair was just heading for the dryer. I smiled and put on my Executive Rachel persona which I have not had to use since working as a Director in Maryland. I handed the owner the consignment agreement and answered her questions. She did not want to make any changes to the agreement my husband drafted. Really!
I set up my simple bracelet and earring displays and stood back.
Right then, a client who was standing at the counter next to me said “Ooooooo, jewelry! You must be Rachel!”
Apparently my reputation preceded me. I then had to step out of the way as two of the employees leaned in to start looking at the earrings.
It was really hard to leave. I wanted to sit in a chair and spy all day long to see who picked up the jewelry, who showed interest, and which pieces sold the most.
So I left the salon with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Just not enough of a spring that might cause me to trip.