One of the best ways to get inspired is to learn from others’ successes.
That’s why in my Elevate online training program, we spotlight one of our premier members during our member Monthly Access Calls.
Elevate Coaches James Roche, Joy Chudacoff, and I select and interview one Elevate Premier member who is making great strides with the program.
Some successes are large, some small, but it’s all about taking steps forward and making progress.
Today, you’ll meet Elevate Premier member Crista Grasso from Tolland, Conn., the owner and designer of a custom jewelery line, The Original Barefoot Sandal Foot Jewelry by AmberTortoise Jewelery. She was our spotlight during our June 2012 call.
Enjoy our quick interview with Crista below, and be sure to take notes. There are several golden nuggets you can apply to YOUR business right away!
James: Hi Crista. I would love for you to tell everybody your website and what you do for your business. I know you’re getting results, but you’ve also had some really big mindset shifts that are happening that I think are relevant for everybody to know about.
Crista: Sure. My website is AmberTortoise.com. I make handmade custom jewelry. My specialty item and the item that really seems to have taken off quite a bit this year and where I’m focusing a lot of my attention on is my Original Barefoot Sandal Foot Jewelery.
Ali: Ooh, I like that.
Crista: It’s a really interesting piece of jewelry that connects from your ankle to your toe ring. Those really just seem to have taken off like crazy this year, which is great. In addition to those, I make a lot of nature-inspired jewelry from sterling silver and gemstones, and a lot of really elegant and distinctive custom bridal jewelry. I also teach jewelry classes and work with other jewelry designers who are looking to start their own business.
James: Yes, and you’re full time in a corporate job, on top of all of that.
Ali: I bet you walk around in your jewelry and all the time, people ask you, “Where did you get it?”
Crista: Yes. That happens quite often. A lot of my coworkers have become customers.
James: You are in my Premier group as well, so I work with you directly there. We have a wonderful group that supports you. Share with us the big results that you’re getting right now.
Crista: There are really two main things: one is I have gotten so much more focused. James, you’ve been such a huge help with that, as has the rest of the group. The other is a pretty big mindset shift that you had talked about before. What I’ve noticed through both of those is that the things that I’m focusing on are really getting noticed. I’ve put a lot of my effort into my barefoot sandals and into my bridal line. As a result, I’ve been getting an awful lot of attention on those, and I’ve been getting a lot of opportunities. I’ve been featured in a lot of places. Different companies are approaching me and asking if they could feature my bridal jewelry or my barefoot sandals for this and that. It seems that wherever I’m focusing my attention and really kind of putting my energy into is what’s really being noticed and taking off, which is quite exciting.
James: I’d like to tap into that because these barefoot sandals are just one of the things that Crista is making, but they are unique. She is really an innovator in this special, wonderful jewelry that goes on your foot. These aren’t cheap. Is it like $2,000 for one?
Crista: They can be, yes. I do have my lower end model as $48, and I sell an awful lot of those. But the ones that I custom make for brides for the weddings, those start at $500, and go up from there depending on what people select.
James: A pretty high-end ticket. But it’s so unique, people are really gravitating towards this. Because it’s different, it’s got style to it, but they can also kind of understand it. It’s a new way of doing jewelry that is now being really branded around you, Crista, as the identity of the originator of this barefoot sandal. Not only are you focused, the product you’re offering is focused, too.
Ali: I want to jump in and make sure everyone goes to Crista’s website. The site is gorgeous, by the way. I love the photos. Just really high quality. This makes me feel like this is high end jewelry, which is what you want to convey.
Crista: That is exactly the look that I was going for and the feel I was going for, so thank you very much for saying that.
James: Good. You mentioned there were opportunities, but anything about specific results that you can share?
Crista: Yes. I will definitely double my sales by the end of this year. I will probably do better than that, especially if some of the things that I have in the works kind of play out the way that I’m hoping that they will.
A lot of that does come back to my mindset shift. Up until this point, I have seen my business very much as an artist would see their business. I was the sole visionary, the sole creator. I did everything. I had big dreams for my business, and I knew where it wanted to go, but I couldn’t really see how to get there. I was limited by my own time. When I’m doing everything myself, it’s hard to get past that point. Now that I’m starting to look at it a little bit differently and look at myself as more of the CEO and designer and look to get some help to execute some of my designs, it’s just opening up a world of opportunity.
James: Yes. That’s such a big thing, and I want everyone to hear that. You are a true crafts person doing the thing that you do. It’s like how a lot of people do our business—we get our hands in it so much. But, you’ve really had to take that big leap as a leader and thinking in terms of, “Okay, I want to scale up this business. I don’t want it to be bound to my time all the time.” That little shift is making all the difference, because now it sounds you’re really attracting these opportunities, because they see you as a business, not as a jewelry maker. That is huge. This momentum that you’re already on, this trajectory, is not going to stop. This is what happens when you get that focus and you start scaling up the business to handle that. I’m so excited to see things progress here throughout the year, too.
Ali: If you had to give some advice on everything you’ve learned over the last several months, what would that advice be?
Crista: I would say stop doing everything yourself and definitely look to get help, even if you think that you can’t, because I hired an employee when I could not afford her, and it has really freed me up considerably. The other thing is to just listen to what you guys say. You know what you’re talking about. Ali, I’ve heard you say things from the products that I’ve listened to repeatedly, and for some reason, sometimes things don’t sink in, and then sometimes they do. When they really do and I actually do it, it’s amazing the difference.
James, the same thing. You guys know what you’re talking about. The Elevate curriculum really, really very clearly walks you through what to do. I went back from the beginning and kind of started over in a way. I almost treated it with fresh eyes, and said, “Okay, if I didn’t have this business already, what would I be doing here?” I just follow the steps of it as I’m going along, and it’s made a very big difference.
James: Wow. We love hearing that. Thank you for sharing, Crista.
To move forward in building your business, you need specialized information, experienced mentors and coaches, and a supportive community. It’s exactly what Ali created her Elevate program to provide!