The Story of a Small Business – Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers Part 4

January 2010

Christmas was the largest ever and I sold out of many of my most popular items before Christmas, it would have been double if my manufacturing partners would have delivered product on time.  One great thing is my return rate was really low.

I began ordering general stock.

February 2010

For Valentine’s Day sales were better than expected since my stock was quite low because of past due deliveries.  But things are on order and I was hoping to get my welders and metal workers back on schedule.  February 10th received some stock but, too late for Valentine’s Day.  Bummer!   Almost sold out of all of my Jewelry Tree C now called the Carol Jewelry Tree.   I hope the stock I ordered last year arrives soon.

 March 2010

The Accessory Angel stock is getting low …. time to re-order.   The overall design and layout will be the same.   I needed to revise the design for several reasons, I made in 2” smaller in width so it would fit on most customer’s wall space.  It was 16 ½” wide and the revised one will be 14 ½” wide.   The necklace hooks will be thicker to accommodate heavy necklaces.  The capacity will be a little bit less instead of 55 pairs or earrings with 29 necklace hooks; it will hold 48 pairs of earrings with 25 necklace hooks.  I ordered general stock 2 revised products JTA now revised and named Sharisa and the Accessory Angel and introducing one new product EATM now revised and named Laela Earring Angel a Contemporary Earring Holder.

 April 2010

I ordered more Accessory Angels, JTA/Sharisa Jewelry Trees and introduced a new product ATH/now named Schelon Wall Mount Necklace Rack for trial.  I have had some requests for something like this over the past few years, we will have to wait and see if IT shines!

Powder coat changes:   Instead of the Tuscan Bronze this run we will be using Chateau Brown.

The new revised Jewelry Tree A/Sharisa I just made the hooks thicker, the crossbar thicker and the knobs larger plus I added weight to the base.  This was because so many necklaces now can be quite chunky and heavy and these revisions just make Jewelry Tree A/Sharisa that much better!

May 2010

For Mother’s Day sales were pretty good with Sharisa Jewelry Tree being back in stock!  I was very concerned about lead times, quality control etc. on my partners end.  I started seriously looking for another one.

I finally received Jewelry Tree C/Carol in Black but the powder coat was actually flaking off.  So I had to send this much needed stock back to my Chicago Mfg. Partner.

Big Change in May, Hello FBA:  Amazon has contacted me several times asking for me to enroll in Fulfillment by Amazon, because of my feedback, return rate being so low, product reviews and customer service.  I was very hesitant in doing this, what if they lost stock?  What if it gets damaged?  What if, what if what if!  I was not sure how much it would cost me additionally and cut into my profits.  I would have to pay warehouse storage fees etc., and make less per item, plus they would have control over my stock (my seed).  When you build something especially from nothing it is hard to let go and trust someone to do what you have done so well and for so long to your high standards.

After careful consideration I decided to look into it because the packing and shipping is a very physically laborious job added to everything else I do:  keeping inventory, designing new products, quality control,  marketing and promoting, selling, answering emails, bookkeeping, customer service etc.  Plus I also run my husband’s business and all that entails marketing, customer service, scheduling, bookkeeping etc.   No wonder I get tired….

May 26, 2010I began FBA – Fulfillment by Amazon.  I had product freighted to me to unpack, inspect, make ready, re-pack, label and re-freight to Amazon Warehouses for them to do the customer fulfillment.  At this time the quality control issues I was having forced me to have to inspect every single product.

My Chicago Manufacturering Partner orders were taking over 6 to 9 months to complete. So I went to Chicago to have a face to face meeting about new products and current products on order, lead time and quality control.  I saw many of my orders cut but not formed yet.  They promised me 2 to 4 more weeks.  I did not receive these until November 2011.  It this time I was really starting to feel the constraints of people hired not doing their job as promised, just one reason why it is hard to let go and trust someone with you business and livelihood.

June 2010

While I was waiting for stock and it became apparent I needed to start ordering for Christmas since things are running so far behind.  They again made me promises that if I placed a new order I would get them in 6-8 weeks and with no other manufacturer in the wings or willing I had to place more orders with them.

At this time I was actively seeking to find a new manufacturer.  My hope and expectation was that it would arrive on time but not all at once because I of the net 30 payment schedule.

Amazon Fulfillment is working quite well so far, no problems.

I had to re-order Jewelry Tree C/Carol to make sure to have it in stock for Christmas; I did not receive this order until August 2011 and I lost placement visibility in search engines again.

July 2010

Amazon Fulfillment was underway.  Up until this time I had only shipped FBA the Polycarbonate Acrylic Earring Angels to test the program.

Jewelry Tree B/Betty and Ava and some of Jewelry Tree C/Carol finally arrived.  These were ordered the first week in January, taking over 7 months.

FBA, this is when the even harder work began to get the shipment ready for Amazon.  I needed to test the FBA program and so I jumped in and got started.

Working in my garage in the heat of summer and making my home a production assembly line was tough.  It was about 104 degrees with about 90% humidity.  I was working hard sweating in my garage for weeks on end, but with the hope that I was building some sweat equity.  Summers are brutal in Texas, and doing all of the unpacking, inspecting, make ready, re-packing, labeling and freighting is a major job.

Since I had no other option I had to re-order Jewelry Tree A/Sharisa and the Multi-Purpose Earring Angel with the same delayed manufacturing partner to make sure I would have it for Black Friday and Cyber Monday the busiest shopping days of the year.   This was while I continued to actively search a new manufacturer with no luck.  They would promise quotes and I would never get them, I guess I was too small potatoes.

 August 2010

Sales for August were pretty good all things considered for some reason this was my best month so far in 2010, I think it is FBA and finally getting some minor visability back.

Amazon from time to time offers free shipping, something I cannot afford to do, and super saver shipping which helps customers afford my products a little easier.  I am noticed a portion of the physical load started to lift for the first time since 2005 when I first started selling online.

 September 2010

I was forced to continue to order Christmas Stock with my current manufacturing partner every 6-8 weeks…..scheduled out several weeks apart from one another so I would not get  a massive invoice net 30.

I kept trying to get quotes with new manufacturers but they would never contact me back and the one that said they would quote me would not contact me back.  I would follow up and they would tell me they were working on it time and time again.  I even had one mention the fact that I was a woman being an issue, so I wrote them off.

October 2010

FBA is going well, although it was a lot of physical labor to get it there.  I went to visit my manfacturing partner face to face to deal with the same issues and also for the 1st time met with a possible new manufacturer in Frankfort, IL that I ended up hiring.  I could not find a local Texas one.  I was putting pressure on them for my Christmas Stock to have it by Black Friday for orders I placed in June, July and September, orders I saw partially pieced in May.

They promised by Black Friday I would have them all.  I did not have most of my Christmas Stock for Christmas 2010.   One week after my visit I finally received a few products.   I was still waiting for the rest of Jewelry Tree A/Sharisa, all of my MP Earring Angels and my new wall mount necklace rack ATH/Schelon.

October Sales did start to slump because I was sold out of my 2 of my best sellers.  I kept pushing on through and working hard to stay positive!

What I am finding at this point is that I basically I work all year long for free and the Christmas Season is when or IF I make my profit.

 November 2010

The JTA/Sharisa had just started moving again.  Since, I was sold out for so long it was going to take some time for them to become visible again on the search engines.

My Christmas stock never arrived.  Major setback….promises broken by my manufacturing partners….stock was not here by Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

 December 2010

I did not have the stock I ordered in Spring or Summer 2010.  What limited stock I had completely sold out in early November.  So another year of Christmas selling out and being out of stock…..therefore losing placement in search engines….therefore when things are back in stock waiting 3 to 6 months to have visibility again.

December 5, I finally received my new ATH/Schelon wall mounted necklace rack from my partner but it was too late for the full Christmas Rush.

December 10, 2010 I ordered the new EASQ/Sariea Earring Angel with Frankfort which I received February 24thin good time just too late for Valentine’s Day.  They have done a great job ever since.

My early ordering for Christmas was to no avail.  I sold what I had and still was able to pull out an okay Christmas Season but not what I needed.  I knew I would be set-back for another full year until next Christmas 2011

Now looking forward to 2011.

January 2011

Christmas was a disaster in many ways.  I have been set back an entire year because of manufacturing delays.  It was more than I could tolerate.  Another year of being sold out of many of my most popular items before Christmas was so frustrating….products in demand…products that are selling even in this recession.  One good thing is one product is finally back in stock with using both my original manufacturer and a new one in Frankfort, IL so now I have double stock.

 February 2011

For Valentine’s Day I was still sold out of most items but 2 were here.  As it turns out the ATH/Schelon is a winner!  I made a few improvements to the design and and re-ordered with Frankfort.

My new Frankfort Manufacturer delivered an order as promised but they are limited to what they can manufacture, but they were able to sub out the decorative scrolling so it is working out well.

February 24, 2011 I received my new product EASQ/Sariea a wall mounted steel earring holder that has a large capacity from Frankfort, but we had a few issues, but they were more than accomodating to fix it.

 March 2011

I was still waiting for stock I ordered last summer from my original manufacturer in Chicago, they kept promising a few more weeks.

 April 2011

I decided to cut ties with my original manufacturer and cancel existing orders from last summer so I would be free to fully pursue a new one.   They would not allow cancellation and mentioned legal action if I did not receive these extremely late orders whenever they were ready.

I formally requested to cancel the 4 remaining orders but they would not cancel them.  I told them pick any date, any date, I don’t even care…… but whatever date you pick you must deliver.  They promised that they would have all my open orders delivered to me by August 1, 2011.  It did not happen it was October, but at least now I have some Christmas Stock for 2011.

May 2011

Mother’s Day sales were really great the best month of May ever!  Even though I do not have everything in stock which is amazing.  Amazon is a God Send!  I would have gone out of business by now if it had not been for them.

One Year with FBA:  Fulfillment by Amazon was flowing very well.  But this is the  time of year I basically work for free and wait to make my profit at Christmas.

I was working so hard and for the hours I was putting in it did not feel like I was making a profit and at times I would get quite discouraged.  Things were looking dim and I needed some encouragement.

Then I got it!  It was the very best month of sales ever for May!  I reason to continue to hope!

I  am paying double freight a money killer for heavy items like I sell.  I freight once to me to inspect and repackage, and then freight again to the FBA warehouse.  There is now so much to re-consider about making a profit.  It seems like just when I get a handle on costs the costs go up, if I make more it costs more to make it.

June 2011

Stock is coming in from both manufacturers.  Chicago’s quality was great just way to long lead time.   The new manufacturer had quality control problems that we are still working on.

The work is still very laborious but in spurts when bulk stock arrives to make ready and ship to Amazon.   I was hoping to find a manufacturer that will do great quality control and direct ship to Amazon, and it looks like Frankfort will be it in time.

July 2011

Hotter than you know!!!!  Hydrate and take breaks!  The sweat burning my eyes and my arms and back are so sore….but I have to get it done.  Unpack inspect, make ready, package, pack pallets and ship to FBA.

August 2011

Stock from new manufacturer came in.  I have to inspect and re-pack.   Over 72 days of over 100 degrees most of which are over 103 to 105 degrees.  Working in this heat was horrible.  

September 2011

Seriously!!!!  It was still in the 100’s!  I finally completed re-packing to ship to FBA Warehouses.  Sales had dipped some and I was hoping this would not be a sign of the coming Holiday Season.

October 2011

Finally I received all some of my orders from June, July and September 2010.  I was hoping that I had not lost too much visability, but I did. I needed some more Christmas Stock in certain items I was hoping for this to be the year I would have almost everything in good inventory.  Now that some time has passed and I can see that even with the costs to sell, FBA, warehouse fees and freight etc. I am able to make a profit.

November 2011

Trying to gear up for Christmas but without 1/2 of my product inventory due to my old Chicago Mfg. Partner that I had to let go.  Product missed Cyber-Monday and Black Friday, but I was still able to break sales records of previous years, quite amazing.  But it makes me wonder what would I have sold if I had all the stock I had ordered over 6-9 months ago?

December 2011

Christmas with FBA:  For this holiday season I did not have to physically work so hard.  FBA did the work for me.  I did not have to daily pack up product to ship to customers and cart it all down to the post office.  I was able to ship every other day from the other minor sites I sell on, so I had a bit of a break compared to Christmas’ past.  I think I may actually get some of my life back 🙂 while making a profit.

Christmas broke all records even though I did not have everything in stock.

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The Story of a Small Business – Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers Part 3

 January 2008

I started pressing my manufacturers to use eco-friendly manufacturing using recycled carbon steel and reclaimed polycarbonate and that is how I currently manufacture.

More of my research found that the imported metal earring holder, jewelry organizers and necklace racks use mystery metal…a combination of copper, lead, zinc and iron and their finishes are cheap dips and/or paints some with cadmium.  My metal products are US Carbon Steel with a baked on powder coat a finish that will last a lifetime.

As I have sold out I improved every design, unfortunately the revisions made the manufacturing costs go up quite a bit, but I refuse to skimp on quality.

Even though most of my product line is upscale I did have the Polycarbonate Acrylic Earring Angel, something most anyone can afford.

June 2008

I started to sell on Amazon my entire product line but I was still doing all the quality control, receiving, shipping and fulfillment I did all of this until May 2010 when Amazon offered me their fulfillment.

 Christmas 2008

I was for the first time ever more than overwhelmed with sales.  I was happy don’t get me wrong, I was just so crazy busy that it took all I had to keep up and somehow I did it.

I almost completely sold out of all my Steel Products at Christmas, and all I had left were my Lexan Earring Angels and several dozen of mixed products.  This was my biggest sales month ever.

I sold and shipped over $20,000 worth of product in 30 days all by myself. Like I said I was crazy busy! Oh how I wished I could have kept that money… but I had to reinvest it in order to keep growing my inventory so I would not sell out and lose my placement in the search engines since this is how people find me.

I have been building search engine visibility placement only to lose it and start over again every time I sell out.  Then it takes 3-6 months to have great visibility for any given sold out product again.

January 2009

I took another risk by raising my minimum orders of the steel products and improving the designs again in this recession. This was my largest order ever for the necklace trees, steel earring holders and Accessory Angels.

April 2009

My stock is finally starting to coming in. Hallelujah! I have been out since Christmas.

May 2009

More stock is trickling in!  Items are selling too fast so I raised my prices to hold onto the stock I had just a little bit longer.

I began to realize that there was a need in the commercial/retail market for these items as well. Originally I was only thinking of jewelry organizers for personal home use, but now my business is growing and developing into another category the Boutique Jewelry Display Stands, which is great!

I decided that for future orders I would add a Satin Nickel Finish, Chateau Brown and perhaps a Mineral Bronze.

Milojo Productions launched a country-wide search for female inventors for a show to premier called “Homemade Millionaire” with Kelly Ripa on TLC in November 2010, hosted by Ripa.  I gave it a shot and tried out bringing my friend Rose for support.  I had 30 seconds to “wow them” but I was not selected, lack of a category for my type of product may have been a factor who knows because they also put me in miscellaneous.

 June 2009

Items coming in stock and running like a well-oiled machine.  I began ordering early Christmas Stock from Chicago.

 July 2009

Introduced EATS a Table Top Earring Angel, Jewelry A, Jewelry Tree B and Jewelry Tree C.  For this run I decided to improve it and revised them to have a weighted steel base that also works as an accessory tray.  This was a great design for home, retail or commercial use.

I continued to order more Christmas Stock.  I was spacing orders every 6 to 8 weeks so the net 30 invoice would not be due all at one time.

  September 2009

I do not want to sell out this Christmas so I ordered even more Christmas Stock from Chicago.  They promised it would be here by Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but it did not come as promised.

I designed a new website, created a layout, color palette, searched on istock.com for the right photos, took product photos and did all the text work then hired a web builder to put it all together.  Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers www.angelynns.com opened for business changing from http://www.earringangel.com.

I kept on working on new ideas and designs and I uploaded my first Youtube videos.

 October 2009

 

I received my 2nd run of the Multi-Purpose Earring Angels just in time for Christmas.  I revised them to have more necklace hooks and another design option, a contemporary/modern style as well as the vintage/traditional style.

Jewelry Tree A now called the Sharisa Jewelry Tree were moving fast, so I re-ordered and changed the design a little. I am hoping to not run out before Christmas.

There are many other designs in my head and on paper and I am looking forward to the day when I can get them rolling too.

Christmas 2009

Best Christmas ever!

However, I did sell out of quite a few products.  The new Multi-Purpose Earring Angels were a HIT!

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The Story of a Small Business – Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers Part 2

 August 1994 until November 2004

Nothing appeared to be accomplished in an outward show.  I spent years looking for investors and came up empty time after time.  My invention literally sat on a shelf for a decade in my garage.

Earring Angel in Clear

Earring Angel – Pierced Earring and Body Jewelry Organizer in Clear

 June 1996

My husband & I made a decision to start our own electrical contracting business and opened Accurate Electric fulltime and my husband left Ericsson Telecommunications. Now with 3 small children and a new business needless to say the Earring Angel got pushed way back, again, we had to take care of the matters at hand.  My daughters began to believe in the possibilities as they got older when they understood what it was and how it worked, maybe because they used them too and gave them to their friends as gifts. I always thought SOMEDAY, SOMEHOW.

2000 thru 2003

I went to work full time nights and weekends as well as week days at Nordstrom in Frisco and became their best sales and customer service person for my department within the region in the first 6 months I was employed.  I received the Pacer Award.  Over the next 3 years I was a Pacesetter and trained staff.  I was the go-to person for customers that needed help especially if they were upset.  My numerous customer service letters were passed along and admonished by Pete Nordstrom nationwide.  In 2003, I was recruited to become a department manager and went through the training program; however I was also running my husband’s struggling Electrical Contracting Business being hit by the beginning of the recession.  I had to resign from Nordstrom to have the time to help save Accurate Electric and my children needed me.  I was working 7 days a week for 3 years out of the home and in the home.

Accurate Electric was doing well but began struggling after 9/11/2001.  In June 2003 we downsized to a nice home in Frisco, Texas.

November 2004

Over the years I attempted to get my invention moving again, but what could I do without any capital to invest?  Then one day a friend of mine caught me and questioned but really kindly scolded me and said “When are you going to do something with your Earring Board?”  I gave her my reasons, mainly money and the fact that no one was supporting the idea; I was always told it was a pie in the sky.  She shook her head and said “If it is God’s will, you should just do it” Then she asked to buy one of the last dozen I had left.  Thank you Jackie!  She gave me the push I needed.

 December 2004

I called California, and asked Chris at C& B Mold if he remembered me.  We had never met and had only 3 phone conversations 10 years prior.  He said he remembered me, “THE EARRING BOARD LADY”.  I asked if they still had the mold.  He said “Probably not, we moved to Monrovia a few years ago, and scraped a lot of old molds”.

I could not believe that my mold was scrapped and I asked him to check for me.  It took him 3 days of checking and then he called and apologized and said it was not there, that they must have scrapped it.  Disappointed, I thanked him for checking and wished him well.

As I was going to sleep that night I prayed and asked “Did they scrap my so mold?” I heard “No” in my heart, so I asked The Lord “Well then…. You know where it is, have your angels wake him up and not let him sleep and tell him where it is, Amen” and I went to sleep.

This is a fact the very next morning Chris called me and said “You are not going to believe this.  I could not sleep last night and then I remembered this storage building that was pad locked out back of our old shop in Azusa.  So this morning I went there and used bolt cutters to open it and guess what I found? Your mold!”  I was so excited!  I told him I would get back with him in a few days.

I thought now what?  A day or so later I was driving home when suddenly I noticed a sign that said Sunbelt Plastics right here in Frisco and it was walking distance to my home.  I went inside and told them about the Earring Board.  They said that they could make them for me using the mold from California.

January 2005

I called Chris and sent him all the documentation he needed.   He wanted to be the manufacturer but agreed to send the mold to Texas for me.  He said the cost to send it was about $225.00 for freight.   I did not have the money or any way of getting it.  We were barely getting by.  Again through divine inspiration I asked Sunbelt if they had a Yellow Freight account and if they got discounts?  They said yes and agreed to pay the freight and attach to my first order.  Yellow Freight picked up and delivered to Sunbelt for half the cost and they allowed me to pay net 30 with no money upfront for the first order of 1000 pieces and the freight.

 February 2005

I received my first stock and shipped my first EBay sale on 02/08/05.  Needless to say, I sold enough that first month to pay them in full with no problem and I have been making and selling them ever since.

I had originally named this item The Earring Board back in 1991, but when I went to purchase earringboard.com but it is was taken, so I had to find a new name.  I kept thinking “safe haven” for your earrings which lead me to Earring Angel because it works as a guardian over your collection of earrings keeping them up and out of harm’s way seen at a glance and tangle free.  I purchased the domain name http://www.earringangel.com which became http://www.angelynns.com.

Earring Angel “A Safe Haven for your Pierced Earrings & Other Body Jewelry”

Frosted Polycarbonate Earring Angel

 March 2005

I wanted to increase sales so I ventured into other products that I could buy at discount stores and resell them.  I didn’t buy an item to re-sell thinking of MONEY first.  I bought an item asking the questions, Would I buy it? What would I pay?

I researched on EBay items of interest to me to see what they sold for and kept notes so that when I went shopping I would have a guide. I bought only items that I myself would like to have, so selling something I loved would come naturally.  I purchased everything on a credit card and only bought items that could be returned if for some reason I could not sell them within 30 days.  Then my only loss would be my time and the listing fees that EBay charged, unless it was an auction item that I took the chance of listing low to bring in interest and found and there was little to no interest, this only happened once or twice no big deal.

I did my homework and it paid off.  Plus, another great benefit to selling other items is it brings traffic into your EBay Store and they end up buying something else too.

I sold handbags, storage boxes, cosmetic organizers and other jewelry racks.  I took risks but did my research first.  I listed items for auction on EBay at .99 cents to bring traffic and it worked and I had great success.

March 2006

I happened to be visiting someone in the hospital I was told by 3 different people “You are such an Angel, Lynn” I did not think much about it.  Then when I got home, days later, I was thinking of a business name…Earring Angel … Angel…Lynn… Organizers… Jewelry… Enterprises.

Angelynn’s was born as Angelynn Enterprises aka Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers a better self-explanatory name updated in 2009.  Also, while I was visiting I saw these unique small antique Earring Trees in the hospital lobby gift shop/jewelry store in Beverly Hills.  I spoke with a very nice man who sold vintage earrings, jewelry and watches etc. but he also sold vintage earring trees.  They were so beautiful and unique, but very expensive.  I asked him how often he sold them or were they primarily for displaying earrings?   He said he sold them for over $100.00 no problem, so I told him I had a store in another state would like to sell them too.

When I got back to Texas he said he would let me know.  He gave me the importers name La Vie Parisienne so I got a catalog and started buying and selling them, which tested the demand for upscale high end jewelry organizing products.

March 2007

March 1, 2007 I applied and was accepted to interview for the Oprah Winfrey Show called The Next Big Thing, winners would be given the opportunity to sell on QVC.

It was focus time.  I asked myself “What is my best seller?”  Answer: The Earring Angel.   Of all that I am selling what do the customers love the most based on feedback?  Answer: The Earring Angel.   Are those sales growing?  Answer: Yes!  Then it occurred to me offer other colors of the Earring Angel!

At first I could not afford to have them made in other colors so I faux finished them by hand to test customer interest.  The faux finishes with the sponging techniques etc. was just way too much.  I enamel painted in Black, Bronze, Dark Bronze and Copper.  This allowed me to test metallic finishes before I went to the expense of prototyping a steel earring holder.

I spent so much time sweating in my garage sanding, priming, painting and top coating Earring Angels it was unreasonable but worth it.  They were beautiful and the customers loved them so I started considering steel earring holders.

During this time I scaled back selling all the other items i.e. handbags and alike, not because they were not selling, but because there is only 24 hours in a day.

April 2007

I went to Chicago for my interview with Oprah Winfrey’s The Next Big.  Winners would be given the opportunity to sell on QVC.

During my brief pre-screening they did not know what category to put me in.  I suggested home organizational product category but they said they did not have one so they put me in miscellaneous which I believe hurt my chances.

As I watched all of us in miscellaneous category isles not get the attention that other categories were getting I thought that they may have been looking for something really specific like kitchen gadgets.

I was not selected, however I learned a lot.  When the show aired several months later I saw the winners had invented kitchen gadgets, kid’s toys and home decorations and food.

 November 2007

November 20,2007, I filed for a Trademark “Earring Angel” that was published May 20, 2008.

I decided to staying within my category, jewelry organization and do more product research.  I purchased some ugly cheap looking necklace trees, bracelet racks and jewelry organizers to see what they would sell for.  I purchased these for $4.50 to $16.99 and to my surprise they sold for $45.00 to $60 my EBay Auctions.

I thought what would happen if I stripped them down and refinished them?  So I did just that, and they sold for even more!  These necklace holders were light weight, flimsy, too short for most necklaces and not designed very well.

I then was inspired to design my own.  I would make them more durable, prettier, more elegant, timeless and not so trendy”.  This is what I did!  After I designed one I hired a manufacturer to make me 75 of them.  They did an okay job, but I had to fix most of them they were not plumb.  After I fixed them and put them up for sale they did very well.

Angelynn’s First Runs of Jewelry Trees

I started drawing and redrawing 2 more necklace trees which lead to even more.  Then due to customer emails and my own ideas I designed my first table top steel Earring Angel and started selling them.  What is that saying?  Necessity is the Mother of Invention?  Well then… Function is the Father.

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The Story of a Small Business – Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers Part 1

January 1990

My husband Robert and I and were living in a mobile home with our first child Asia and we were expecting our second child Sariea in March.  He was working hard for Ericsson Telecommunications and I was working for a real estate appraiser part time.

 June 1990

We sold our mobile home of 6 years and 3 locations in Rural Collin County and moved to a tiny condo in Plano, Texas.

January 1991

Robert and I were living in Plano and had 2 children.  Our income levels were low and money was extremely tight and our outgoing was more than our incoming.

I needed an answer.  In prayer I asked Lord Jesus give me the solution.  Immediately, I received divine inspiration….I saw a keyhole shape in my mind, I asked out loud, “What is it?” truly not knowing.  The next thought I heard in my heart was “It is an Earring Organizer”.

I ran downstairs to my kitchen and got a lid to a Parkay container and cut out the keyhole with a razor knife, and ran back upstairs and hung one of my earrings on it and thought WOW!!!

The work began….lots of it.  I came up with a business name “Golden Star Products” and filed for an assumed name.  I then designed my own logo.  From the very beginning and for many years I was told by almost everyone this was a pipe dream, a pie in the sky and that it would never sell or make a profit. I was totally on my own and started inventing.  What would I make it out of?  How big should I make it?  What will it cost to make and can I sell it and make a profit?  Who would buy it?  How will they find out about it?

February 1991

I consulted with the Collin County Business Development Center who advised getting a prototype and other helpful information and started looking for a patent attorney.

 March 1991

1st Prototype – I went to a sheet metal shop to have them quote me a prototype made on a C& C machine. We did not have the money so I cut back on grocery shopping and in a couple of weeks I had enough to have them made.  They were industrial looking, but they worked.  I decided that acrylic or plastic was the way to go to be the most cost efficient.  I researched injection molding. I made some drawings, one after another until I got it right.  For months I was up until 2 a.m. or later working and fine tuning with pencil and pad.  I knew that the free USPS Flat Rate Envelopes would save me money on shipping supplies so I stayed within those dimensions.  Mind you this was before there was an internet or EBay, Amazon buying or selling online, I was thinking mail order.

Earring Angel

Original Earring Angel

 April 1991

2nd run of Prototypes – I ran my idea past a friend of mine who owned a sign shop in McKinney, David & Stephanie mentioned laser cutting sheet acrylic and referred me to someone. He made me about a dozen from some free scrap acrylic that he had and I paid him for his time out of grocery money and sold 6 of them immediately to friends for $20.00 each.  Patent attorney costs were way more than I could afford.  So it was either try to get a patent in the next 10 years or put it out there to see its possibilities.  I decided to put it out there and worry about the patent later.

 June 1991

I went to Precision Mold to get a quote.  At that time mold prices were $12,000 to $14,200, now molds are doubled and even tripled in price.  I had to pay in advance before they would machine the mold.  Since January I tried to get financial backing from banks but they wanted collateral something I did not have.  I asked friends & family but either did not have it or thought it was a pie in the sky.

 May 1991

I got the phone book out and did a cold call survey of 200 women with pierced earrings and the results were great.  Of the 200 women 99.5% would definitely consider purchasing an acrylic earring organizer that was easy to use and wall mounted.  50% of them would spend $16.00 to $22.00, 20% would spend $23.00 to $30.00 and 30% $10.00 to $15.00.  This was in 1991.

I also did product comparisons, comparing the Earring Angel (Earring Board) to other earring organizers and researched mail order catalogs and ladies magazines to see about advertising costs etc.  I designed mail order graphics and promotional pieces. This was before internet shopping, which became a true God Send for my business.

Over this year I did a lot of research and searched for investors.  I worked on research and presentation for a year.  I was also shopping for a company that already had distribution and made injection mold items.  I decided that once my research and presentation was refined I would contact several companies to see if they would be interested in buying my idea or manufacturing it and pay me royalties. Never having done anything like this before, I got out my electric typewriter and got to work.  Don’t forget this was before the PC and the internet, a lot of literal copying with carbon paper and pasting.  Only a few friends believed in the idea one of which was Alan he had a computer and knew how to use it.  He and others helped with graphics, I would draw on paper and they would convert to the computer so I could have a more professional presentation.

 September 1991

3rd run of Prototypes – After searching, I finally found Questek Laser Machining in Richardson, Texas and spoke with Ed Case.  I showed him my drawings and a sample.  I need to get an idea of cost to get this thing rolling and they gave me a quote September 4th, I don’t remember the exact amount but it was over a thousand dollars for design, setup, tooling plus material. I thanked him for his time, knowing there was no way I could afford it but at least I had an idea of the cost to test market.  However, as I was leaving I found the courage to ask him “Do you have any scrap acrylic sheet that you could use?”  He said probably not, but that he would check.  The next day he checked and they did have some scrap they could use.

Then he proceeded to say that he thought the idea was so great and he wanted to give one his wife, and since the shop was so slow that week he decided to make me 75 of them for FREE!   What a great guy!

The following week I received the 75 Earring Angels.  I had intended to sell them and use the money to make more, but it did not happen that way.  This was very hard, but I knew in my heart that the right thing to do was to GIVE them away.  That following Sunday at Church I gave most of them away, but I did keep a few as prototype samples. I received the best feedback from the ladies I gave them to, it was very encouraging.

September 25, 1991 – I took an Earring Board (Earring Angel) to the Collin County Small Business Development Center with my drawings and market research.  I had an appointment with the Manager Gil Blackman who was skeptical at first but then when he saw how it worked he took a deep breath and said “I will be right back”.  He went and got the Director Chris Jones.  When she came into the room I showed her how it worked.  She also took a deep breath and asked me “Do you know what you have here?” I asked “What?”  She said “VELCRO”.  I thought I knew what she meant, but had to ask “What do you mean?”  She went on to say “This is the next Velcro, everyone will want one once they see how it works”.  I was blown away!  They helped me create an “Offering Profile for The Earring Board” and notarized my drawings and notes and gave me some good advice and sent me on my way.

November 1991

I hired Texas A&M do a patent search for me.

December 1991

Patent search came up clear, there was nothing out there like it.

 March 1992

I went to consult with the Collin County Small Business Development Center regarding estimating, accounting, international trade and getting a small business loan.  I was told business loans without collateral would not happen.

 June 1992

I found several possible candidates and decided to contact these companies to see if they would be interested in buying my idea or manufacturing it and pay me royalties.  I made copies of photographs and assembled the final version of my presentations.

July 1992

July 7, 1992, I sent out 12 packets and 8 responded, three of which with great encouragement, however one seriously considered it.

July 14, 1992, Louise & John Sylvester with Alliance Enterprises in Connecticut were the one.  They signed my non-disclosure agreement and wanted a sample, so I sent them one.

 July 30, 1992, 4th run of Prototypes and First Stock – Louise sent me a letter stating that they wished me success with my product and that they had enough earring organizers in their product line, and that the cost to jumpstart a new product was extremely high and declined the opportunity.

So I called her and we talked.  She said that she loved the design but that the success of a wall mounted organizer was questionable, and the cost to get to production was very expensive.  After talking for a while, even though I did not know her, I asked a rather forward question …. Louise would you consider praying about this, and ask God if you should do this for me?  There was dead silence and I just held my breath, and then she said Yes, I will (ask God).  She called me several days later and said “Yes, I will do this for you”.

 October 1992

October 21, 1992, Louise and John signed the contractual agreement and they got to work making the mold, designing the packaging and adding my product to their catalog.  They invested over $25,000 for the mold, graphics, packaging in 2 languages English and French and updating their catalog.

March 8, 1993

I received my first samples of the Earring Angel (Earring Board) that was injection molded.  They made 5000 and sold them to stores like, Claire’s Boutique, Afterthoughts and small private boutiques.

April 1993

Louise hired me to represent the entire line in Texas, and I did.  I tried McKinney Trade Days with my good friend Isabel, but were rained out for the entire weekend.

 June 1993

June 15, 1993, we moved out of our tiny condo and into our first house we rented and later purchased.

 August 1993

Louise & John came to Dallas for a trade show in and we met for the first time face to face they asked me to work the trade show with them so I did.  What wonderful people!  She also had scheduled showings at JC Penney and the new Container Store that she asked me to accompany her and I did.    Louise told me that my product was their #1 seller after only 30 days being in the market they sold out and were running a new batch of 5000 and how impressed she was.  At this time we were expecting our 3rd child, Luke.

 November 1993

I was receiving royalty checks regularly and only did limited sales rep work as they needed it.

I was contacting several magazines about doing an editorial on the “Earring Board” for several months but with no takers.

 December 1993

John and Louise encouraged me to change my assumed name from Golden Star Products to Alliance Enterprises, so I do so on December 10, 1993.

During this winter Louise fell and broke her hip and she told me that she and her husband were considering retiring.

March 1994

Louise and John gave me a heads up that they were going to sell their business and retire in Florida.

My son Luke was born.

July 1994

The company was in the process of being sold.  The new buyer had no intention on manufacturing any of their jewelry organizers so Louise offered me their last recent run of 5,000 that they had just manufactured, but I would have to pay the freight.

Not only did I not have the space to keep 5,000 Earring Angels (Earring Boards) I could not afford the freight.  I paid to ship 2 cases/100 Earring Angels and they recycled the rest.

July 18, 1994, Louise and John signed the rights to the mold over to me and encouraged me to make and sell them myself.   She said it was a great product and in the short time they were making and selling them they outsold all their other earring holders combined.

The mold was held in California at CB Molding.  I called and spoke with Chris Barnes and we were good to go whenever I had the money.  I tried over and over again to get an investor or loan but our income was too low to qualify and we had no collateral.

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Why do Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers cost more than most other jewelry organizers?

Why do Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers cost more?

I get feedback, product reviews and emails from time to time about my price point so I am letting everyone know the reasons why.

Question:  Why do Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers cost more than most other jewelry organizers and earring holders?

Answer: Well, I guess the question could be: Why do imported jewelry organizers cost so much less? And some of you may know the answer to that question.  Many importers do not have the labor or safety laws (OSHA) that we have in the US or the strict oversight and there is an added cost to oversight. What little EPA type regulations they may have they are not as strictly enforced as they are in the US, and some countries have none….nadda…zero environmental protections.  There is a cost to US Regulations.  Plus they use cheap materials and finishes.  There is a higher cost to using high end materials and finishes.  Countries that have cheaper labor…cheaper material…cheaper finishes, no unions, no OSHA or EPA just cost a whole lot less to manufacture.

We NEVER uses metal mixtures with lead, tin, iron, copper and other cheap metals, we only use carbon steel.  Our steel products are handmade one at a time by a skilled team of welders and fabricators and I only use 100% USA grade Carbon Steel and the finishes are all high end durable baked on powder-coat finishes that are lead-free and toxin free.

For our Polycarbonate Acrylic Earring Angels we use durable impact resistant polycarbonate, not cheap plastic or cheap acrylic.  Polycarbonate is the same material used for football helmets and on the space shuttle, almost indestructible.

So, why do Angelynn’s Organizers cost more?  They are 100%  manufactured in the United States with the highest standards in materials and finishes and are made according to EPA and OSHA regulations by a skilled labor force of welders, machinists and powder-coaters and polycarbonate molders. All of the Skilled American Tradesmen that make my products take great pride in bringing my designs to life. It makes me very happy to provide jobs for all these great people. High quality Angelynn’s Products just cost a lot more to produce plain and simple, but I would not have them made anywhere else.  The good news is they are Made in the USA, they are beautiful, durable, well designed and will last a lifetime with proper use and the quality is absolutely fabulous!

My only manufacturing partners are Sharn Enterprises in Frankfort, Illinois and Sunbelt Plastics right here in Frisco, Texas.  I see them as family.

I hope this explains it for you.
Truly, Lynn

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Is your jewelry busting out of your jewelry box or scattered about the house? Need a jewelry storage idea or solution?

Today’s jewelry fashion has changed quite a bit over the past 20 years, and grandma’s jewelry box was not created to handle it.  Everything is larger, longer and chunkier.  Statement necklaces, shoulder duster earrings, extra large hoop earrings, chunky bracelets and the list goes on.  Even the newer jewelry chests and armoires can get loaded up pretty quick for the gal who loves jewelry.  The problem with old style jewelry containers is they are limited to how much they can hold without items getting tangled, damaged or misplaced.

This was my mission, to solve this contemporary problem and make storing your jewelry fast, easy and tangle free.  When you can what you have at a glance it makes a huge difference in finding what you are looking for.  I have meticulously designed and tested several jewelry storage solutions made for today’s jewelry fashionistas.    I hope you find exactly what you have been looking for.

 

 

 

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