An Entrepreneurial Family Bonded by a Love of Charms
Established in 2015, 7 Charming Sisters is an online jewelry boutique headquartered in Dumfries, Virginia. After working a series of different jobs together, with Paula as their boss, they became a work family, with distinct personas and interests. A common thread tied them all together and cemented their bonds as sisters: a love of everything fun and girly.
The company offers seven distinctive collections of jewelry consisting of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. Founded on the principle of fun, diversity and a feminine vibe, the company is dedicated to employing people with disabilities, as well as providing customers with insights into daily life and behind the scenes action of their business. Home Business Magazine spoke with Paula Welsh, President and CEO of 7 Charming Sisters about their charming journey into the jewelry industry and advice for entrepreneurs about to take the plunge into a new career.
HBM: How did 7 Charming Sisters begin?
Paula: “As we explain on our About Us page in A Charming Tale, we’re sisters bonded in work. We’ve all been working together for 10-15 years. While we are all very different, we’ve formed a tight knit group. Our ability to work together could be described as synergistic. We had talked for a while about doing something different. I tend to be a risk taker and finally pushed (shoved) us into “just doing it”.”
HBM: What inspired you all to focus your online store on jewelry?
Paula: “We had talked for a while about doing something different. I believe we were stuck on a Tiki bar for a good six months!!! But all of us love fashion, and we would always circle back to it. Because we love jewelry, it seemed an easy choice. I believe it was Jenn who said, you can gain weight, but jewelry, shoes and hand bags always fit. I think that was the statement that did it for us.”
HBM: How do you market your business?
Paula: “Almost all of our marketing is digital. As with most online retailers, we market our business with a combination of owned, earned and paid marketing. We rely on paid ads, social media, email marketing, promotional marketing with influencers and print and online media.”
HBM: We’re there any obstacles to overcome initially, being a close group of passionate women?
Paula: “For us as a group, no! We’re stronger than ever. Are there times we’d like to choke each other? Well, absolutely! But that’s the way it’s always been. You know the drill, no one can hit your sisters, but you!”
HBM: What are your strategies for maintaining a productive and happy work environment?
Paula: “Honesty, a lot of communication, every one having an area that they are accountable for, respect for each other, common goals, supporting each other professionally and personally, experimenting with make up in the glam room when we should be working, wine at planning meetings, happy hours, painting the town red. Our last get together was labeled “Turning Up before Jessica gets Knocked Up”. Jessica has decided to start trying for a second child. In order to be as supportive as possible to her, we took her and her husband, Shane, out to a dueling piano bar for her last night of drinking.”
HBM: What are some of your greatest business achievements thus far?
Paula: “While we’ve only been open for a little over 3 months, sometimes it feels surreal that we’ve gotten this far. After all, this is an industry that we didn’t know anything about. Luckily, I’m really big on research and teaching yourself. I believe you can do anything as long as you have the internet and a phone. I helped train the group. We’ve all strengthened our knowledge on website development, marketing, analytics, purchasing and shipping processes, dealing with jewelry vendors, operational issues, photography, styling, etc. These are all areas we have had no prior experience in. We’ve learned so much, but we are continuing to learn every day, literally. We have a long, exciting journey ahead.”
HBM: Share some of your main goals for your business. How do you wish to expand?
Paula: “Our goals are to eventually expand our jewelry selections to fashion accessories, clothing, handbags, etc. We all have a soft spot for pet jewelry as well. We are also looking to form retail partnerships with established retailers down the road.”
HBM: What advice can you share for self-starters/entrepreneurs when branching out to form their own company?
Paula: “If someone tells you, you can’t do it. Ignore them. Most of your friends and family will think you’re nuts! That’s okay! Be prepared to make mistakes. Do NOT be afraid to make mistakes or even to fail. It’s all part of the learning process. Pick yourself up and find a way to start again. No matter how much you’ve researched and planned, it’s not enough. Do some more! (Although you will eventually just need to do it!) Have goals and objectives and write them down. If your goal is reach $10 million in revenue, then run your company like a $10 million company right from the beginning. Don’t start as a “mom and pop” establishment and think you’ll make a transition. Running your company like a $10 million company will get you there.” HBM
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