1) Taking that first step. Listing my original bracelets on Etsy was such a huge, scary step for me. I loved making bracelets and as my collection grew, I decided to try and sell them. I loved the idea of opening an online shop and Etsy was a natural outlet for me to get my feet wet. I started out with 25 bracelets and was thrilled to make my first sale within the first couple weeks my shop was open. AND to someone I did not know! That was huge for me and gave me confidence that other people would like my bracelets as much as I did. When I look back at some of those original designs, I can see how much my design style has evolved.
2) Being accepted to The Artisan Group. My Etsy shop had only been open for six months when I applied to The Artisan Group. TAG is an exclusive, invitation only, entertainment marketing organization whose mission is to introduce Hollywood to the best of the handcrafted movement. The group is very selective, so you can imagine my excitement the day I received my acceptance email! That day was probably the most pivotal day for my business. With encouragement and advice from other members in the group, I built my own website, launched my business on several social media sites and was able to get our bracelets in the hands of celebrities, industry leaders, VIPs and members of the press at luxury celebrity gift lounges. As if that wasn't enough, by being a part of this amazing group I was able to get Rock & Hardware in front of many television wardrobe stylists for possible use on their shows. Which leads me to my next highlight moment ...
3) Nina Dobrev wearing Rock & Hardware on The Vampire Diaries. What?!?! Yes, I was in SHOCK when I found out that the TVD wardrobe designer, Leigh Leverett, had selected my leopardskin jasper and onyx bracelet to be worn by the show's lead character, Elena Gilbert, (played by actress Nina Dobrev), on episode 9 of season 5. Such a thrill and all thanks to The Artisan Group. In fact, through these stylist giftings, Rock & Hardware has had the pleasure of having more bracelets worn on television: two additional characters on The Vampire Diaries, as well as Quantico, The Real, Cedar Cove, Chasing Life and The Fosters. Having my bracelets seen by millions of people was never even in the realm of possibilities back in 2012!
4) Reaching sales in 50 countries. I've always said my customers are the BEST and I appreciate each and every one. Reaching customers in 50 countries this past year was a HUGE milestone for Rock & Hardware. It's such an honor to know that people all over the world are wearing our creations. I love the wonderful feedback and photos I receive from my many customers and warms my heart knowing how much they enjoy R&H.
5) Our line of charity bracelets. As Rock & Hardware became more successful, it was very important to give back. There are many valuable and worthy charities out there but I wanted to benefit those that had the most meaning to me. I was excited to finally offer a line of bracelets that donates 25% of each sale to the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs, the Alzheimer's Association and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Please check out each of these charities and see the amazing work they do for others.
Well, there you have it ... the five highlight moments (believe me, it was hard to narrow down to just five!!!) that make me excited, proud and humbled to be celebrating 5 years. Thank you to each and every one of you! Without your support and encouragement, we would not be where we are today. Here's to the next five, ten and more!