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Blog posts tagged Mama jewels

What’s your BHAG?

January 19, 2011 by

Recently, I discovered the meaning of a ‘BHAG’, it’s big, hairy, audacious goal. Immediately, I loved the idea of setting some out-of-reach challenges that would push my comfort zone. I came up with the following:

1 Win an award

Winning an award last year really gave me a huge confidence boost, led to the start of some interesting PR and gave my product the credibility it needed to move forward. Already I have pinpointed three awards to apply for this month alone. It is time-consuming and competitive, but the process of completing the applications enables you to refresh in your mind what your business is all about, while being shortlisted is great recognition. However, my BHAG is to win!

2 Get a celebrity quote for my business – Mama Jewels

Having been in contact with the PR people for both Sara Cox and Denise van Outen, I sent them photos of the products I’d like to send and then sent both of them a gift from Mama Jewels hoping for a little recognition. At the time they both had very young children and seemed to be the ideal people. I appreciate that this is a tricky one, particularly with jewellery, because everybody has such personal and different taste and perhaps what I thought they might like, may be completely wrong.

I had a very lovely thank you note on Twitter (two in fact) from Denise Van Outen, but nothing from Sara Cox (I guess she didn’t like my choice). I’d be interested to hear how your business was able to get a celebrity quote…

3 Become a supplier to a large recognised store

Possibly Mothercare, NCT online or JoJo Maman Bebe. I’ve been taking small steps and building up credibility, now I have people approaching me to become stockists, but so far I haven’t approached the larger stores. This year is the year I want to start working with at least one of them.

Last year was all about taking small, manageable steps, establishing good relationships with suppliers, finding out which designs sell and which don’t, working with small retailers, building my website, trying out fairs and shows and generally trying to create an income stream and gain recognition.

This year I’m determined to see Mama Jewels in larger shops, with more recognised retailers and move a step closer to becoming a recognised brand.

What BHAGs have you set for this year? 

Amanda Waring, Mama Jewels

You can find out more about Amanda on the interactive business website


Search engine optimisation – should I outsource?

December 20, 2010 by

Last Friday I was approached by a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, guaranteeing me page one positioning for my chosen key phrase within six months. They carried out a free SEO audit, the result of which has set my mind in some level of turmoil and has actually made me realise how much work I have to do.

Although the audit did not provide intricate details of what should be done – well, it wouldn't, it was free! – it highlighted the areas where improvements were necessary. The auditors, with their long list of blue chip clients, were asking me to commit to a 12-month contract for several hundreds of pounds each month, to guarantee me page one positioning.

At this time, that level of commitment and financial outlay is not realistic for my business, Mama Jewels, but I definitely need to do something and I’m wondering how much of this I can do myself?

Do I need to be highly technical and fully understand the complexities of Google or can I manage for now doing this in-house with the basic knowledge I already have.

I know I need to obtain good quality back links, but how? The content needs to be keyword rich, how do I do this without going too far? I am aware, but am not sure how often I need to change the content on my site? What else am I not aware of?

Every book I pick up seems to have a different answer, probably because the rules keep changing to keep us on our toes. From the audit, it seems to me that this is something I could do myself, but looking at the monthly charges from the specialist, I’m sure there must be more to it.

So, should I pay for some level of on-going SEO support or is this something I could effectively be doing myself, after all, I have the deepest knowledge of my business and should know what potential customers will be searching for. On the other hand – should I call in an SEO expert?

Amanda Waring, Mama Jewels

You can find out more about Amanda on the interactive business website


The pros and cons of self-employment

December 06, 2010 by

This week has been very ‘up and down’ for me and my jewellery business, Mama Jewels, but it ended positively, which has made me better appreciate the flexibility self-employment offers.

At its low point this week, my young son was admitted to hospital with an infection in his foot after treading on a metal pin. Fortunately, my husband is on holiday so that made life a whole lot easier. Being self-employed also meant I was able drop everything and look after our baby and be at the hospital.

The upside of being self-employed is that you can just take that time off whenever you need to without anyone questioning what or how much time off you take. This is a huge plus for any parent with two small children.

The down side is nobody is paying you while you do this; nobody is standing in for the appointments missed and orders still need to be processed. I had quite a busy schedule set up for the past two days and I had to cancel or postpone most appointments, which only adds to my workload in the weeks to come.

This is something you need to be prepared for when you start your own business. It can be a world away from receiving a regular monthly income, paid holidays and sick pay, as well as having other people to step in and pick up your work in times of crisis.

Before I became self-employed I attended a six-week course run by Business Link. During the first session I realised the course was not going to tell me how to become self-employed or what I needed to do, instead it explored whether I was in the right situation or state of mind – was I really ready for such unpredictability. It was incredibly helpful and confirmed my readiness to start my business.

I was semi-prepared for the rollercoaster world of self-employment, because my parents ran their own business. As a child, I remember the early days when money was very tight, but later I also remember the fabulous foreign holidays and nice family cars.

I remember our financial advisor warning my husband and I, when I told him of my plans to start a business that we needed to be prepared to live on one salary, which is what we’re now doing. Don’t let this put you off, necessarily: I’m just sharing my thoughts, but it’s just worth thinking and planning for this when considering starting your own business.

Our online sales are up slightly on last week and I’ve secured another online stockist, who also has a retail shop, so it isn’t all bad news this week.

Amanda Waring, Mama Jewels

You can find out more about Amanda on the interactive business website


A challenging first six months in business

November 29, 2010 by

My jewellery-making business, Mama Jewels, is nearing the end of its first sixth month of trading, so I thought I’d share an update on our progress so far.

This week my youngest son had his first birthday and I had my first day off Twitter, Facebook and my laptop for as long as I can remember. It felt good to leave my iPhone in the drawer and go out for the day. He was three-months-old when I decided to start Mama Jewels and both my sons are very much part of the journey. I’m hoping to have them trained in jewellery-making very soon!

Very good things are happening all the time, but I am finding myself in a constant juggling act, having to work some very late nights and early mornings to keep up. Sales are increasing, but they’re still not at the levels I wanted at this stage. I keep hoping this will eventually improve.

Visits and online sales are rising steadily after the launch of our new website, which took three (very long) months to develop and even then it didn’t launch on the date planned or the revised date. If you’re planning to launch a new website, build in plenty of spare time, especially for setting up payment accounts, which took longer than I’d expected.

Mama Jewels is currently stocking in 11 online boutiques, which is steadily increasing as we follow up new leads each day. We also have three independent baby shops stocking our products offline. This number is still low, because my ability to make visits is very limited because of my childcare commitments. Over the next couple of weeks I’ve temporarily arranged some extra childcare so I can make more sales visits.

We’ve plenty of events planned coming up to Christmas, including home parties, markets and fairs in targeted areas. We’re starting to get approached by mum and toddler groups to exhibit directly, so word is getting out there, which is great.

I am currently working on improving my Ebay shop, too, which has proved very successful so far and I have approached a friend who is an expert on selling via Amazon.

Progress is good, with daily glimpses of new opportunities. Generally, consumers are feeling the pinch and they’re more cautious than ever. Hopefully, the upcoming season will give us that extra little boost and encourage shop owners to trial my products in a few more retail outlets before Christmas. We’ll see.

Amanda Waring, Mama Jewels

You can find out more about Amanda on the interactive business website


Mama knows best

November 22, 2010 by Mark Williams

Many regular Start Up Donut blog visitors enjoyed following the story of Marcela Flores-Newburn of Rico Mexican Kitchen, Nottingham-based maker of salsas, beans and cooking sauces, as told on the inafishbowl business reality website.

For the next six months, on this blog, you’ll be able to follow the trials and tribulations of another start up, Mama Jewels, another Nottingham-based business.

The business was the brainchild of Amanda Waring. Following a successful career in quantity surveying and construction project management, recent mother of two, Amanda is taking on a whole new challenge.

For the past 10 years she’s been designing jewellery as a hobby. But following the birth of her first child she realised there was no fashionable baby and childproof jewellery for mums.

Keen to change this, she has created an impressive range which is available to buy online and in a select number of independent retailers. Mama Jewels was a Bronze Winner for Most Unique Product at the 2010 Mumpreneur Awards.

Amanda’s ambition is to see her products in large retailers throughout the UK. To achieve this she’ll have to juggle the role of being a young mum with the demands of growing a new business on a budget. How will she get on? You’ll be able to read updates each month, but for now, you cab find out more about Amanda’s business by watching this short video.

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