As a believer in the local economy and a former Ventures board member, I seek to support local businesses wherever I can.
Recently, I decided to re-purpose some dormant jewelry I had. I was looking at local jewelers when a friend totally recommended a jeweler he knows. Turns out he knows her because she’s the one commercial tenant in the small building he owns and manages (more local economy!) I couldn’t resist the double-score of localism. I ended up hitting it off with Adrienne Kreiger of Everling Jewelry. She gave me very thoughtful advice about my existing jewelry, proposed some beautiful designs, and smoothly let me reject some suggestions to get something that suits my goals. While we chatted over the finalized design, I mentioned that I do consulting with local businesses. She asked if I’d ever heard of Ventures? Turns out Adrienne is a graduate!
Adrienne had been working towards starting a business for some time. She took the opportunity to acquire tools and equipment from jewelers that were closing down during the 2008 downturn. She worked with SCORE to produce a business plan but still didn’t have what she needed. Then someone suggested Ventures. She started at Ventures with the Business Basics Course and then moved on to the 16–week Financial Management Course.
“After that, that’s when I knew I could quit my job and start my business!” said Adrienne.
And a businesswoman she is. We talked about the “E-Myth” and the distinction between working ON your business and working IN your business. “Oh yes,” she said, “I tell fellow jewelers all the time that if I wanted to spend all my time making jewelry, I’d work for someone else.” Adrienne estimated, “I get to spend maybe 10% of my time at the bench,” doing the actual physical crafting of jewelry. The rest of the time it’s business – marketing, interacting with customers, and doing the books. Thanks to her classes, and to having seen what happened to other jewelers during the recession, she’s very conscious about the cost of holding inventory. “That’s one advantage of doing custom work,” she noted.
Like many small businesses, marketing and advertising is an effort, but 3.5 years into her business she’s finally built enough of a following that Seattle Bride magazine is calling her for their next issue. When I congratulated her on developing her earned media she was pleased to learn there’s even a technical term for that. “Here’s to more earned media!” she exclaimed. Yes, indeed. And here’s to more successes like Adrienne!