Small Business: Mint & Birch (formally Woodland Owl Trinkets)

It has been such a delight to be able to connect and learn from so many small businesses these past few months.  I have made some new friends and contacts that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to.  Jessica from Woodland Owl Trinkets has continually been very encouraging and friendly to me and I am so pleased to have this opportunity to learn more about herself and her small business.  It is my pleasure to share with you about how Woodland Owl Trinkets started, the process and emotion behind creating each item, and five tips to successfully sell at local markets.

wlot

Two years ago Jessica decided to make her mother and mother-in-law necklaces for mother’s day gifts.  It was a desire of Jessica’s to make them an item of jewelry that was not only special, but would hold special meaning to them each as a mother.  Jessica said, “When I gave my mother-in-law her nest, with four little eggs, representing each of her children, she cried, I was so happy that I had touched her heart.”  After this, Jessica began creating similar necklaces for friends with kids, she adored making them and her friends loved the value and meaning behind each unique piece.

“I posted a bronze nest necklace with mint eggs on a local clothing and accessory swapping page for $15 and sold it within 15 minutes,” Jessica exclaimed. “When the buyer picked it up, I was so ecstatic that I made my very first sale!” At this moment Jessica realized that her hobby was becoming a business.  When making the transition from hobbyist to small business owner Jessica had a lot of decisions to make, her first step was to create a consistent look for her brand.  Once she decided on a color scheme and graphics, Woodland Owl Trinkets had it’s own unique, whimsical, fresh, and colorful look that perfectly portrays her jewelry.

wlot2

Jessica has fine-tuned her technique when creating her delicate nests.  “My hands get into such a nice little rhythm when I make these nests, I find it quite relaxing,” said Jessica.  Each nest is composed of high quality wire manufactured in the USA that Jessica moulds, bends, and twists around beads to create the perfect nest full of eggs.  Each necklace is finished by attaching the clasps and a decorative bead to the end of the chain.  From start to finish Jessica can complete an order in about forty-five minutes.  Jessica added, “My nails are always broken and split, and I have really big callouses on my finger tips, but it is totally worth it when I hold the finished product in my hands.”

Jessica is also very encouraged and motivated by the stories her customers share with her when ordering their products.  “I love that each piece can hold so much meaning to the person wearing it,” stated Jessica.  “I make each and every piece with love, care, and attention to detail.  The stories that are behind these nests really touch my heart.  Some people have asked for birdie charms to fly over their nest, representing lost loved ones.  Some mamas have asked their little children pick a color from the color chart for the egg that will represent them in the nest.  I have also had someone order a custom nest for her friend to memoralize her miscarriages,” shares Jessica.  “Some of the stories behind the pieces I create bring me to tears when I make the nest, there is so much love there, and I feel so honored to be able to make such meaningful keepsakes.”

wlot3

Once her nests are complete and ready to send, Jessica continues to devote her time to each piece by ensuring its packaging is as remarkable as the product.  Her love for baker’s twine, washi tape, rubber stamps, tissue paper, and little bags doesn’t go unnoticed.  Jessica mentioned that she loves opening happy mail and she wants her customers to be filled with that same anticipation and joy when they open their own pretty little packages.  It is in these small details that Woodland Owl Trinkets stands out as a business.  Jessica’s attention to detail, consistency, quality products, exceptional service and ability to network has allowed Woodland Owl Trinkets to grow and be successful.

Jessica has found much success selling her products at local handmade/vintage markets.  These markets are a great place to be able to interact with your customers, discover customer needs, and ability to build relationships.  While building relationships, you are also given the opportunity to hear their stories, who they are shopping for and how they would create their own custom piece.  “A favorite story of mine,” Jessica shares, “was when a gentleman came by with his girlfriend, seemed really interested, but walked away without a purchase. Later on, the gentleman came back without his girlfriend and bought one of my nest rings as a stand-in for an engagement ring for his fiance-to-be because the actual ring was still being made!”  It is so rewarding for Jessica to be able to create such a meaningful piece in each individuals life.

wlot4

With a lot of experience at local handmade markets, Jessica has discovered five important tips for your business to follow to be successful at your next local handmade market.

1 – Genuine Smile and Positive Attitude:  This allows you to be approachable, the easier you are to talk to  the more potential customers you will have looking at your products and starting a conversation with you. “I am truly happy and proud to display my work at markets, when people see that they become interested in what makes me so happy,” said Jessica.  People also love meeting and getting to know the person behind the business, be real and open to share about yourself.

2 – Unique and Beautiful Display: Creating an eye catching display is one of the easiest ways to bring customers over to your products.  “People love to admire beautifully assembled displays,” Jessica said, “sometimes they will stop to look at the display, we start a conversation and in the end, I make a sale.”

3 – Back Up Supplies: It is always unpredictable to know how busy each market will be, always assume it will be busier than you expect.  You can keep your display filled and eye catching by replacing sold items with items brought from your back up supply.  Jessica said that she brings extra charms or longer chains, this way if a customer has a request Jessica can fill their need on the spot.  It is a joy for the customer to see their item being modified to their desires and created one-of-a-kind for them specifically.

4 – Variety of Product and Price Ranges:  Markets attract so many different people and you just never know what everyone is looking for.  Some people could be looking for something small for their child to take home, a gift for their spouse, or something to spoil themselves with.  It is important that your selection can cater to a variety of needs at different price points, you will find it easier to please more customers, in turn making more sales.

5 – Marketing Materials: Even if you complete every step above and find that you have not made as many sales as you would have liked, you are not at a loss.  It is important to know that you have made a good impression, and by handing out business cards or custom order forms you give your potential customers the opportunity to order from their convenience.  The exposure that your business gets is very valuable and you can not base the effectiveness of one market solely on the dollar amount in sales.

wlot5

While Jessica does very well selling and expanding her brand through local markets she also receives a large amount of business by word of mouth and Instagram.  Jessica finds it so easy to interact with people on Instagram and feels it is a great social platform to build relationships with people.  Currently Jessica goal is to grow her Instagram followers, this will allow her business to expand outside her neighborhood and lead to bigger opportunity.  As Jessica expands her business and jewelry line she plans to continually partner with other small businesses to help promote each other.  She is a true believe in supporting other small and start-up businesses and loves seeing them have their own success stories.

Take the opportunity now to check out Woodland Owl Trinket’s website and look at Jessica’s full collection, she has a wide selection of stylish jewelry.  Jessica also loves receiving custom orders, do not hesitate to contact her through her website with any custom inquiries.  Find something that you like? Use the COUPON CODE: LOCKET15 for 15% off a locket or OWLCWJW15 for 15% off a ready to ship nest – Limited Quantities so don’t wait long, offer expires September 8th.

Follow Woodland Owl Trinkets DownloadedFile-1 icon_sm_facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s