Sarah Holmes, founder of Hazel Wilfred Jewelry, speaks about taking the initiative to build a small business and succeed.
ABI: How has your business evolved from making sculpture to making wearable art?
SH: I first turned my sculptures into pieces small enough to wear; I never thought it would turn into a business. I was being creative, using my art to express myself. I continued to make pieces for jewelry. While I was working at a clothing boutique, my boss saw that people loved my pieces so much they started to buy them off me while I was wearing them. Eventually I sold them in the store and did well.
I felt that I needed to step up my game if I was going to make money and a name for myself as an artist. I explored goldsmithing techniques, took business and marketing courses, learned how to build a simple website and photography, and taught myself about social media. I needed to learn all the areas of my business in order to properly run one.
My art took more of a business direction, and I spent many hours researching trends in the jewelry market and talking to clients and other industry professionals to find out what people wanted. It was still about expressing myself through my art while creating a solid business that made people happy.
ABI: What is the vision you have for your business, and how do you intend to achieve it?
SH: My vision is to expand my business into several countries. My business has just launched a collection focused primarily on selling to wholesale accounts. By selling wholesale I can increase the size of my market. I can also quickly build a reputation for quality and originality.
ABI: What technologies and strategies are you using to make your business more efficient and profitable?
SH: My business relies on computer programs such as Rhino 3D, which produces my designs. It cuts down time so I do not have to make all the wax carvings by hand. I have hired people to help my business progress; this helps me to focus on the areas where my strengths are. I feel that in business it is the relationships I have cultivated that help my company to move forward. No one person can do it alone.