When I got addicted to making jewelry in that first year (and I did!), I made and sold over 100 of one love letter necklace to the school-yard-moms in Toronto's Moore Park.
"What else do you have?" Moms asked me.
I listened to what they wanted. One necklace grew to a line of over 200 jewelry items - rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets, charms, key chains and more.
I knew the only way to really succeed was to make jewelry full time and focus on it every single day. So, five years ago, I began working full time.
At the core of my beginnings was to give back to the community and be there for my boys as infants. So when I transitioned my business into a full-time venture as a single mom, I made sure to put those values at the heart of what I do. So, Suetables, so far, has continued to support charitable organizations and remains a home-based business (except for an 18-month transition time at a friends office space while I found my footing).
I travelled to Mexico City, Taxco, Thailand, Peru and Czech Republic with my partner, Tony, to find suppliers to find people to make my designs.
Some trips were a huge success and others were a total bust.
For example, Tony and I were once stuck in the middle of Songkran water festival in Bangkok (Thai New Year). Not a single business was open and we only had a few days to source jewelry suppliers. Instead of developing relationships with silver suppliers, we were stuck in traffic in a tuk tuk (motorcycle type car) getting shot by Thai boys with sophisticated water guns. We also got laughed out of a crystal factory a few hours outside of Prague after telling them we wanted to develop an original crystal jewelry line with them a la Swarovski.
I gave myself a two-year window to try to make it, and if not, I'd go back to public relations.
Every month and every year, I held my breath when my book keeper emailed in my numbers. I'd put on my Jo Fresh magnifier glasses, a ruler and grab my calculator. I loved Suetables. I loved the creative outlet and flexibility. I wanted and needed it to work.
Every year, I let out a large sigh of relief when we grew a little bit - 5%, 10%, 8%, 19% and this year a whopping 40% so far!
I never imagined that one necklace would turn into a full-time job with two contract employees and over 30 sales reps - largely mompreneurs and store and spa owners that learn to hand stamp and sell a personalized product in their own market with their own web site. We are launching over 30 personalized rep web sites this month!
"You are an overnight success," one client declared recently. I laughed. I have been toiling in my basement with a computer, a calculator, a hammer and steel nail letters for over 10 years now.
And while we still have a long way to go (next stop: launching Suetables USA), I am a believer in marking occasions.
And today is a big one: Today, Suetables graduated to Suetables Inc.
My hobby is officially a business. And I want to thank you all for your continual support, ideas and encouragement. I did not do this alone.
So, tonight, instead of grabbing a my Jo Fresh magnifying glasses and a calculator, I'm opting for a glass of champagne instead.
PS. A special thanks goes to Tony Carter - my finance, supplier travel partner and "CFO" whose clear and unwavering strategy helps guide me; my sister, Kathy Besse, who travelled with me to Taxco on my first trip and helped build Suetables in its infancy; Leslie Black, who works creatively with me on designs and is our every day "get-it-done" gal and also to Patti Davidson - who only just joined us but has organized Suetables beyond recognition. And that is a good thing!