Title: Bejeweling it online
Organization: Vitrine Designs
Name of contact: Candice D’Mello, owner and designer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Web references: Blog, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Newsletter
In 2008, Vitrine Designs was born. Candice D’Mello, its owner and designer, had a passion for making things, and her hunt for a creative outlet to quench her thirst led her to make jewelry. After visiting a raw geo exhibit, she felt inspired to create jewelry that used less polished but just-as-stunning stones for a modern contemporary line.
As a first step, Candice ventured online and launched an Etsy store to test the waters and see what was selling well. While initially ‘supplies’ (read: jewellery) were found by visiting Toronto’s various off-the-beaten track shops as well as bead shows, Candice eventually realized that buying online was more convenient as she could connect to global jewel suppliers.
As a jeweler, Vitrine offers modern gemstone jewelry, AAA gemstone jewelry, birthstones, precious gemstones, raw gemstone in sterling silver, gold, rose gold and statement cocktail rings. Wedding and bridal jewelry orders are also accepted.
Candice, on Etsy, says: ‘I only use very good quality gemstones and birthstones (AAA or better) and crystals set in 14K gold-filled, sterling silver and rose gold. My pieces are designed to be contemporary so that you have a timeless piece for your wardrobe. Most of my pieces are OOAK so you’re getting a piece that no one else on the planet has (how awesome is that?!) And a piece that is special, made by me, just for YOU!’
Social media for a jeweller?
On where social media fits into her supply chain, Candice, during an email interview, said:
‘Social media has been great for me in terms of making connections with people outside of my social circle! It’s almost mind boggling to think that nowadays you can connect with someone half way across the globe! I have been lucky in finding bloggers and stylists who have worn my jewelry or have had their clients do so.’
Candice proudly states that so far her work has been seen on celebrities on the red carpet for LA Fashion Week, Hollywood Today Live and a Movie Premiere in Hollywood as well as TV shows like ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Law& Order SVU’ and ‘Young and the Restless’.
On Etsy, Vitrine Designs expands on its celebrity reach by saying its unique works have also been seen on Bella NYC Magazine, at GRAZIA FEST, OK!TV USA, and the swag bags for the GBK Golden Globes, Prime Time Emmy’s, New York Fashion Week and Cannes Film Festival VIP Gift Lounges.
What of suppliers?
When it comes to her direct relationship with suppliers, Candice was careful to not give away any guarded industry secrets, understandably. She was candid about how social media has not necessarily helped her as much as she would’ve liked, as a detail-oriented person.
Her example of using WhatsApp is a case-in-point. She used it a number of times with suppliers, and realized mistakes were made on the part of the respective suppliers meant to fulfill the orders. This was compounded by the fact that she couldn’t then locate the exact trail of the custom requests.
In Candice’s experience, email, what many argue is and was the first and original online social medium, is most fitting for her business needs. She finds that keeping track of everything and balancing the many suppliers she has, is easiest through traditional emails, as ‘it just makes sense to have everything in one place’ instead of, as she feels, spread out on social media.
The business relationships she has built up over these years have been carefully chosen on the quality and shape of what it is they can supply her with, so that her finished pieces can stand out in an industry in which it is difficult to do so.
She finds that successful business relationships with suppliers does take compromise, specifically on pricing, stones, etc. Once she is satisfied with what she receives from suppliers, she generally sticks with them, and as she says, ‘I like to work with people who have a can-do attitude and are open to working with me. I’m a very loyal customer!’
-Vitrine Designs is the perfect example of a business that uses social media for its supply chain management (SCM), but selectively. SCM is not a one-size fits all concept, and for smaller, but still successful, businesses, sticking with what works is important.
-For Vitrine Designs, the most important use of social media is connecting with those within its supply chain with arguably the most important impact: stylists-to-the-stars. As Candice confirmed, social media has been vital in connecting with stylists, and this has been proven in the many stars who have worn her pieces, providing priceless brand-advertising.
-Trust is vital in SCM, and as Candice has so far experienced, social media has not yet worked for her specific business. It is important that trust be maintained at all times between suppliers in SCM, and without an alternative which can overcome this obstacle, a wholesale switch to social media may be impractical and may not make good business sense for all.
-It may be beneficial for Candice to engage more with suppliers to improve Vitrine Designs’ SCM, though this would require a team larger than what she likely currently has. This is a challenge that most small-businesses have, and obviously she, or others, cannot venture into social media for SCM till such time they know they can maintain the vital trust with suppliers.
Submitted By: S. Waqar H. Rizvi
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