My name is Valentina Juncaj and I am the owner, designer and creative director of Vajzë, a luxury handcrafted jewelry brand, based in Detroit and sold worldwide.
Update #2: growing my jewelry line.
Italy, Spain and Australia. Did these mean anything to me two months ago? Not really. What do they mean to me today? I have people wearing my jewelry in each of these countries!
When we first met, I shared my goal of growing awareness for my brand. This is key for all of you out there growing a brand, as this is the first step to anything (purchase funnel, purchase journey, whatever we want to call it nowadays). Building this awareness has been broken up into two components for me: 1. digital: social media and other online content, and 2. more face-to-face and in-person showcasing of my pieces.
Here is the progress I have made to date:
1. Growing our online presence.
As I mentioned, I was going to focus on generating awareness and creating content through influencers. This came about in a couple different ways: some I knew from previously working with them, some I discovered through acquaintances or just discovering their social media and others reached out to me wanting to collaborate. I also worked with several different types of influencers including fashion bloggers, editors, models and even music artists. I have been able to gain more followers, customers and also styling tips and content to share on my social media and website.
The benefit from working with these influencers is still continuing, which has been great. There have been multiple online shares and new content with the same jewelry. With the help of these influencers, I have also been able to have my brand span across the globe.
To be clear, I did not pay for any of these influencers for this content and did not dictate any requirements, in terms of times they had to post or share content, etc. I know there are many ways and services out there where you can do this at a cost, but I chose not to do that at this point. I chose to work with those who had a similar aesthetic and whose content and work I genuinely liked… not just due to the size of their following or reach. I would recommend doing what you feel is best for your brand, but I can say that there are most likely several influencers in your industry that would be willing to work with you and your brand for a shared benefit. Especially when you are trying to grow organically and without a large marketing budget in the early stages of your business!
2. Growing our in-person brand.
I had taken on the goal of attending more local events, for either purely networking or showcasing my brand and product. I have attended each type of these events in the past couple of months, and they were very successful for me. The networking event I attended was really rewarding. I met a lot of other business owners that I ended up collaborating with and will be working with in the future. The other event I attended was also really great, as the topic was on fashion and beauty with an audience of young, entrepreneurial women. In addition to being able to show my jewelry and having a designated booth to sell, I also made a lot of connections with some of the business owners and speakers at the event.
I highly recommend doing what you can locally, especially if you have a product made locally. Your community naturally will want to support you as a local business. Building a network and meeting people that fit your target audience somewhere that is more comfortable and familiar to you is a great first step before sending your message throughout the country and world.
Hope you have enjoyed this journey with me so far!