I'd be lying if I said that as I'm writing this article, my room isn't overflowing with packaging stickers, jewelry clasps, and remnants of experimental scrunchies and jewelry items.
I started my business in January of 2020 and there is so much that I learned throughout the process. From digital marketing to making jewelry, to managing finances and legal requirements, I learned more than I ever could have imagined, but also made more mistakes and learned how to ameliorate each one. First, let me introduce you to my business and passion, Mantra and Co. Mantra and Co. is an eCommerce-based jewelry and accessory company that donates all of its net proceeds to various charities and organizations. Check out Mantra and Co. here!
Photo Credits: Mantra and Co. and Dandy Babes
There are several things I've learned along the way and I'm here to share that with you. From curating product designs to logos, here are some things to consider if you want to start a business.
1. Develop Your Idea
Each of us bring new perspectives to the table, so find what you are passionate about. Is it apparel? Accessories? Maybe even an app? Try it out until you create a product or business that doesn't already exist (do your research to be sure!) People are always looking for something new to engage with, so bring your unparalleled unique perspective to whatever you choose to create. You can also choose to add flair to something that already exists, such as customizing t-shirts or shoes!
2. Know Your Products and Develop an Ideal Consumer
Once you've developed an idea, curate some prototypes. Do you like your product? Is it accessible and usable? Think about who your ideal customer would be. Your ideal customer is the person who would use your product or service to satisfy a need or desire they have. Fleshing this out can help you in future steps while creating a social media presence and marketing. Of course, this comes after researching.
3. Test Them Out
No consumer wants to buy a faulty product! With jewelry, I had to make sure that the jewelry was completely tarnish-resistant, as I knew consumers would want a long-lasting product that was stable. This was the step that I wish I had done more thoroughly, initially.
This took a longer time than you'd think: I had to test out a wide range of products and parts before I was able to find those that guaranteed high-quality jewelry. I would say that this is one of the most important steps because if you don't do this efficiently, this could potentially cause you to lose out on customers in the future!
4. Research Legal Requirements
This is definitely a key part of your beginning! Each state (for the United States at least) has certain legal requirements that one must meet. Make sure you research this before you start your business so that you can ensure you're running your business legally.
5. Create a team
This depends from person to person, but I definitely wanted to make a team with different strengths and viewpoints so that I could make my business appeal to customers with various viewpoints. This helped me ensure that I was bringing diverse perspectives to my jewelry business, but also involving a team of change-makers who were passionate about this business! That being said, it is absolutely okay if you want to do this independently.
6. Launch (using social media or a physical location!)
Once you've completed all the steps we've discussed before, it's time to launch! When I launched Mantra and Co., I used Instagram and Facebook to launch, but have expanded to TikTok/Pinterest since. Remember, launching is not the ending—it's simply the beginning! Here is where the real deal begins.
Since our initial launch, we have continuously improved our products and added more to the collection! Your first launch is in no way permanent: you can always remove or edit your products from that time! We did the same.
7. Be consistent
Grow your customer base by interacting on social media and expanding to new platforms (TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.)! Make sure you connect with others who are in the same field as you. For example, as a small business, we found some mentors and made friends with other small business owners to mutually promote one another's products and also build a strong community of friends. You can do the same!
These are just the bare bones for starting a business! Starting a business or service is by no means easy. There will definitely be ups and downs. Some days, you may get no sales or interactions, but one day, you might blow up on TikTok or Instagram, channeling many consumers to your page. Just keep working hard and seek support! You've got this.