Thursday, June 1, 2017

Success Along the Way Feature: Buffy's Bracelets


One thing I know as I have attempted to be my own boss over the last 10 years is it is incredibly hard work.  You do infinitely more work at all hours of the day with very little financial return in the beginning...heck even years into it depending on how much time you have to devote to it.  But there are passionate women out there who are trying to turn their business dreams into reality.  To give back to these lovely ladies (and the men who are in it with them, if that's the case) each month, I would like to put the spotlight on them to get their names out there.  

This month's feature is Buffy of Buffy's Bracelets.

Tell us a little about yourself.   

My name is Buffy and I live in Des Moines, Iowa with my kitty cat Drake, my boyfriend and his cat Sugar. I work at a funeral home doing aftercare for our families as well as community outreach for grieving people. My passion is working with grieving people and I'm so lucky to be working in a field I love!

What made you decide to start your own business?   

I started making jewelry when I was planning my wedding back in 2006. A friend had given me a Swarovski Crystal beaded bracelet and I thought 'I could totally make this' and make my bridesmaids all their jewelry. While the marriage didn't last, my love for making jewelry sure did! I would make jewelry for friends and as gifts but it wasn't anything too serious. I just really loved being creative and making designs I wanted to wear. Soon I had a good stock pile of jewelry and thought I should try to sell some of this and at least make back some of the money I've spent on supplies. I learned about a holiday craft fair and that was my first time selling to people I didn't know. That is when Buffy's Bracelets was born! It was wonderful hearing from people that they loved what I made. That kept me going and making more. A few years later the town I was living in was starting their own farmers market and I decided to take the plunge to sign up as a vendor. It was some work getting insurance for my booth, getting a canopy, table, etc for my set up but I'm glad I did it. I was there once a month, sometimes more, and it was a great experience.



Tell us about your business   

I make all kinds of jewelry: bracelets, earrings, necklaces, lanyards, anklets, whatever else a client might want. I just started selling arm knitted scarves as well. I make a lot of customized pieces where a client contacts me with an idea and I come up with something based off of it. I really enjoy doing that. I love being creative and I love seeing an idea in my head come to fruition. I do most of my business on my Facebook page and then some in person. I've tried Etsy but have not had success with that so I primarily use Facebook. I had pretty good success with doing a local farmers market and craft fairs as well.



How did it feel when you got your first client?    

I had been selling to friends and family for a few years before doing my first craft fair. I think I was so stressed out for the first one it was so surreal! You can't help but question if you are ready, if you should be doing it, if anyone will want your stuff, etc. I remember at my second craft fair I had a repeat customer who was so glad I was there to make her another custom piece. That moment felt amazing and made me feel so much more legitimate. It was the moment where I realized other people really enjoyed the pieces I was making and it was really gratifying for me. Another moment was when I was a part of an online health and fitness community and I posted a picture of one of my bracelets. A girl commented that she bought one of my bracelets at my first craft fairs! It was so awesome to hear how she loved it and felt like such a small world that she happened on my page!



What is the hardest part about owning your own business and what is the most rewarding?  Any surprises?

The hardest thing is staying consistent on posting to Facebook. With a regular full time job with crazy hours it's hard to consistently post to keep people engaged. For me it is a hobby to make extra money so I try to keep at it but it is a priority that sometimes falls by the way side. I think the surprises for me is when I've had loyal return customers that wasn't a family member or friend! I think that just goes back to the whole idea of 'who's gonna want my stuff?' Insecurity.

What materials helped you prepare for being a small business owner? 

Facebook and Paypal are pretty much all I use right now. Doing farmers markets and craft fairs my square reader was a god send. I'm pretty small potatoes so that's been all my necessities so far.


What do you want for the future of your business?  

To continue to grow and expand. To be more regular with doing craft fairs. I moved to a new area almost 3 years ago and I think I'm finally getting bearings in that world. But when all else fails I have online strategies. I just think what you see in person is so much better than any picture that I prefer selling that way.




What would you say to other women who have business plans in their head that want to turn a "what if" into an "I am?"

Do it! You will never know what you are capable of unless you try. I think everyone doubts if they are ready or if they can do it. But until you put yourself out there you never will know!

Contact info:

Contact via email buffysbracelets@gmail.com and find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/buffysbracelets

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4 comments:

  1. What gorgeous jewelry! Thank you for spotlighting Buffy's Bracelets - I'm definitely going to start following her on Facebook!

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  2. She's very talented and it's great seeing you feature these here.

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  3. So cool! She does some amazing work and I absolutely love her attitude!

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  4. Crazy week & I just saw this! Thank you so much for the feature, friend! You are the best!

    Thank you for the compliments on my jewelry! It's nice to hear & means a lot to me!

    ReplyDelete

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