42 - Tracy Matthews Tells Us About Her Entrepreneur Journey and Juggling Two Businesses

starting a business | Nov 30, 2017

Tracy Matthews is the owner of Tracy Matthews Custom Jewelry, and the co-founder of Flourish & Thrive Academy.   Tracy started designing jewelry when she was about 21.  After taking a class, she realized that it was her purpose and passion to create jewelry in the world. 

She worked retail in college and learned the sales side and expertise.  Then she was selling some her own jewelry to her friends

She launched her first business is 1998.  At that point the only business people did with jewelry was through wholesale.  After about 8 years in business, she became really unhappy, and then a year after, the economy crashed, and then she closed down her business.  She decided it was time to reinvent herself.

Right at the end of her business, she was able to custom design an engagement ring.  She really loved the opportunity and that lead to another referral, and to another referral.    She then started working 1:1 with customers who she really wanted to work with, creating custom jewelry.

Within a short period of time, she had much higher profits.  Her next chapter came when she was sitting at a conference with a friend.  It came up that they should start an online business teaching others how to create a business around jewelry design like she had.  That was when the idea for Flourish & Thrive Academy was born.

What made you make the decision to make that big change in your business?  Her best year was followed by her almost worst year.  She got to a point in her business, where the thought of going to work was so making her sick.  She was so attached to the thought of what she thought the business should be.  She found her happiness by doing the 1:1 custom jewelry versus the giant wholesale. 

Her body was truly telling her that she needed to make a change.  She was losing weight and literally, her hair.  She was working with some consultants who were giving her advice on what she needed to change for her business.  Instead of making those changes, she just decided to close her business, and take customers one on one until she figured out what she was going to do.

She was then approached by a huge company who wanted to hire her.  She had this amazing opportunity, but the thought about working for someone just made her cringe.  She knew she was going to lose her flexibility, and she knew what she really wanted to do was work one on one.  She ended up working out a contract with them, where she could create more flexibility, while working on her own business.

When you went the custom jewelry, were you able to convert your current clients?  She was able to convert about 20% of them.  It was really about starting over, but it was easy for her.  (Loved this quote from Tracy) ‘When you do what you love, and you can talk about it effortless and easily, clients just flock to you.’

It made it really easy for her to bring it up in conversations, and it’s just really easy to convert when you love what you do.

What has been a huge marketing win for you?  It’s just been a holistic approach.  She sends consistent fun emails, and is consistent on her blogging.  Instagram has been a great tool for her.  And then she always feeds it to Facebook, so those friends get to see it.   It’s all about consistency and keeping momentum building, consistent social media and non-salesy media. 

Has the second business (Flourish & Thrive Academy) help to build your initial jewelry business?  It has positioned her as an expert.  She’s been able to marry the two, where some of her students refer their friends to her.  There is a weird cross promoting thing that ends up happening.  She runs them as separate business, but they end up supporting each other.   It probably builds a little more trust too with her jewelry customer in working with her.

What do you wish you would have known before going into business?  Cash is king, and as much as you can, run a business on cash flow.  It was a huge lesson for her.  In the beginning, she had a lot of credit handed to her.  When she had leveraged too much, and the economy tanked, it put her in a bad position.  She advises, that if you need to get credit, then make sure you have a plan, and don’t take on too much.

What was a moment for you when you knew you were exactly you were supposed to be?   There was a moment when she was offered this great job.  She knew that taking it would limit her business.  Even though the entrepreneur thing had been hard, she knew that feeling the way she felt made her realize she was supposed to be and meant to be an entrepreneur.

What’s a piece of advice for entrepreneurs?  If you believe in yourself and show up and are consistent, you can do anything.  You also need to know which avenue is the best for you.  If you’re not being consistent in your efforts, and you can’t get up daily and create a schedule for yourself.  Then it’s probably not for you, then keep it as a hobby.  If you show up, then you’ll see great things happen.

What’s a tool you absolutely can’t live without?  Screen capture app called Jing.  It allows you to send a link to explain something versus.

You can find Tracy at www.tracymatthews.com and Flourish & Thrive Academy.

More About Tracy:   Tracy Matthews loves to connect with her clients. As an eco-luxury, bespoke jewelry designer, she has a knack for intuitive design and making the process of designing custom work personal and fun. She specializes in bespoke engagement rings, wedding bands, heirloom redesign and special occasion jewelry.

She is also the founder of Flourish & Thrive Academy, an online school dedicated to helping jewelry designers get their designs on more of their DREAM clients. Along with her business partner, Robin Kramer, Tracy believes that community is the basis for success in any business model.

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