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Mini Story 5 - Alice Stewart Jewellery

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Alice designs and creates handcrafted nature-inspired jewellery and offers personal, one of a kind jewellery services from her leafy-garden studio in Stratford-Upon-Avon. With a strong reputation for beautiful craftsmanship and careful attention to detail, timeless nature-inspired pieces form the cornerstone of her signature style.

I came across Alice's jewellery on Instagram last autumn and I think her nature-inspired pieces are beautiful and very unique. She really cares about the environment and every piece is handcrafted with care using only ethically sourced materials and by buying her pieces you help restore the Caledonian Forest through Trees For Life.

In this series I ask small business owners or professionals in the industry 5 questions, it is my hope that you will find some tips and advice in their answers and that it will build your confidence knowing that everyone started somewhere.

How long have you offered your range to retailers? and how did you get your first stockist?

I have been selling my jewellery in independent shops and galleries in the U.K for around 6 years now. My first stockist came about by them finding me – they were looking to help a customer find a nature-inspired floral engagement ring and found my work online, which was a perfect fit. I started out by taking on a commission for them, and after getting to know each other they asked if I would like to stock their jewellery gallery - they’re still one of my favourite stockists today!

What do you find the most challenging with wholesale?

Being prepared for making larger qualities is probably one of the biggest challenges when you’re handcrafting everything yourself, I find setting out realistic deadlines for when they will receive the products and informing stockist of this early on is helpful, so you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed and rushed.

Trade shows are always challenging too as they’re a big investment in terms of time, energy, and money, so deciding which ones to go for initially can be a bit of a daunting task.

Do you do any active prospecting? If so, how do you research new stockists?

I’ve spent the last few years concentrating on retail mainly, but in the past, I have approached stockists myself after looking them up and finding out what other products they are selling that would sit well next to my jewellery. It’s important the stockists I work with are targeting my ideal customers, so by making sure they hold similar values to my business I feel more confident approaching them as I know my ideal customer will be shopping with them.

How do you handle rejection?

I think having the realisation that not all retailers are going to be the right fit for you is the best way to see it from the start. You don’t want your products sitting in a shop gathering dust not being sold because it’s not the right place for them. If you really believe the retailer is the perfect fit and it doesn’t work out the first time you approach them, I guess keeping them in mind as potential stockists for the future is the best way to see it. At the end of the day, you don’t know what the buyer will be looking for in their next buying season, and it may be that it’s just not the right fit at the moment.

What advice would you give to someone starting to think about wholesale?

Personally, I think being clear on your retail and wholesale prices before you begin approaching any stockists is very important, so you are confident you’re making the profit you need to keep growing your business. Having a good structure in place to figure out your wholesale and retail pricing will help you know from the start that you won’t be short changing yourself.

If you’re thinking of doing trade shows to get yourself in front of buyers, having a display that stands out and really shows the essence of your brand is also very important. Buyers will see so many companies, so they want to see from first glance that you’re a brand they feel will be a perfect fit for their shop or gallery. Having enough business cards and catalogues ready with your pricing clearly displayed to make things easy and memorable is key too.

I love how friendly and approachable most people in this industry are and I love finding out more about the people behind the brands and their stories. I believe that we can all learn from each other and help one another, there's enough business for everyone, and helping each other and sharing our experiences is the only way we can continue to do what we love alongside the big brands and big chain stores.

Please go and have a look at Alice's beautiful range. You can find her website here. There are both smaller purchases and big ones such as engagement rings and they are all unique and soulful.

If you're interested in working with me, send me an email to discover how I can help you. If you have any feedback or any topic you would like me to cover please also get in touch. I also share tips every week on my Instagram account.

Sign up to my newsletter to get 15% off your copy of my ebook to get you started with wholesale and monthly downloads to help you grow your business. Lastly, if you know of anyone who would like to start to wholesale or are struggling to grow their business please share my details with them. As a small start-up business, this really does makes all the difference and I really appreciate it.


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