Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Long Shuai, the founder of Silverbene. Our main business is mainly focused on the following 2 points:
- To sell the silver jewelry we designed silver jewelry shops.
- To and help jewelry companies to design and manufacture their products.
Our clients are mainly jewelry brands, distributors, and stores. Now we are supplying more than 3,500 jewelry stores over the world and send out over 90,000 items every month. Our revenue reaches 450K USD per month this year.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I used to be responsible for the process of the company at IBM from 2007 to 2013. I then came to know the silver jewelry industry by chance in 2015. I found that the silver jewelry factories of China have leading advantages in craftsmanship and price even worldwide, thanks to the low human resource cost and huge scale of the market.
Surprisingly, the production of common silver jewelry factories is much un-efficient than I thought. The biggest problem that leads to low efficiency is they didn’t form a set of standardized processes. For this reason, the worker may mistake the direction of the chain, and their QC might not identify customer requirements whether the surface should be glossy or shiny. The products fail to meet the requirements and the high rate of defective products leads to high costs.
After realizing that, I began to think about whether it is possible to use information technology to enhance the process of the factory by standardizing the entire manufacturing process iteratively. So everyone in charge of the production process could be fully aware of the right target.
At the same time, I also noticed that different countries have different preferences. Chinese styles may not be consistent with internationally popular styles. Therefore, while optimizing the manufacturing process, we also pay a lot of attention to various international fashion trends, understanding the preferences of customers from different countries. Then we use these fashion trends in our product design. Now, we have 50 new designs launched every week to support our customers to increase sales and better serve their customers.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
In the early stages of product design and production, we encountered many problems. People might think if we need a new product done, the only thing that needs to be done is drawing a design sketch and send the design to the factory to manufacture, and boom, we get the product!
However, the actual process is far from that. As the communication information loss and actual technique difficulties, it is hard to get a perfect product if requires a certain cost. We have to consider more details to make sure the product can be done well while it is profitable. Such as raw material procurement cost control, the high efficiency of communication with the factory to avoid unnecessary loss, and reliable quality control of bulk manufacturing.
To solve problems in the production process, we spent nearly three months to communicate with various factories and finally finished our first series of products. During the three months, we have identified and understood the main problems in the process for cooperating with the factory, then we put forward the first batch of documents to record the process improvement and integrated them into our ERP software. After that, the speed of our production rapidly increases with more and more experience.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Our team has only 3 people, to begin with, Jessie Zhang, an experienced jewelry designer responsible for jewelry design, Chris Fan, responsible for eCommerce, and me who is familiar with using IT to improve the process from customer requirements to jewelry manufacture.
Before starting our business, we prepared to choose factories, the solutions to some special craftsmanship, the setting-up for the design team, the picture shooting for our products, the construction and page design of the website, and also the inventory preparation.
We decided to use Google Ads to start our advertisement campaign as it is easy to control the advertisement cost. Our main target customers are jewelry distributors, jewelry stores who are doing jewelry business because we have the cost advantage but are not good at marketing. So our campaign mainly targeted the jewelry B2B search keywords just like “jewelry wholesale”, “925 silver jewelry manufacture” etc.
After preparing all of this, we launched our website silverbene.com with Google ads and received our first customer.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We constantly got customers from Google Ads, but as the search ads are expensive, we have to control the spending of the ads and pay more attention to SEO strategies such as optimizing the page’s meta information and writing articles. Then we found that repeating customers are the most important as they don’t cost anymore advertisement spending, and what’s beyond the expectation, they will bring new customers!
We believed the advantages of fast designs launching and a competitive price would be the most important factors to attract customers, and it turns out to be effective. We are also constantly extending our product line and launch new products every week for our customers to choose from.
For customer service, we always answer the questions and solve the problems for our customers with enthusiasm and patience to make sure they have a good shopping experience. Until today, these efforts have successfully made thousands of jewelry stores around the world to be our regular customers.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
In the future, we will also retain our own design characteristics while getting close to international trends, and continue to optimize the production process. It is foreseeable that we will gradually provide customers with products which have a lower price and be popular among their customers.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
What I learned is that a lot of things may not be taken for granted as we think. For the things we don’t fully understand, we should stay humble, not make the judgment without the evidence of facts. Just like the beginning stage of our business, we take it for granted that any factory would provide the products with high quality we satisfied in time as long as we made the order. But the truth is, we are wrong. And this is also one of the reasons we founded Silverbene--to solve this problem for more jeweler who wants to get a reliable manufacturer.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
To make our business more convenient, we use Magento to construct the e-commerce website. We also developed our own EPR software to improve the efficiency of order processing and manufacturing.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
To develop better products, we have been always keeping a close eye on international fashion trends by reading the VOGUE and paying attention to the photograph of celebrities on Instagram. And also another important way is to follow the website or social media account of those independent designers.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
First, try more, and don't be afraid of failure. There will be definitely many difficulties come out at the beginning, but you can only find out the solutions by trying again and again. That way you can find out what you don’t know and improve yourself.
Second, keep the enthusiasm for learning. On the one hand, we must constantly learn more about our business fields to increase our professionalism in these fields. And on the other hand, we also need to keep fresh information, and constantly learn new knowledge that has not been contacted before. Maybe someday it will bring us new inspirations and help us open up new business opportunities.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are looking for jewelry designers and experienced craftsmen, and also searching for some KOLs to experience our silver jewelry products.
Where can we go to learn more?
Please visit our official website.
For any inquiry, just contact our main customer support service email.
Want to start your own business?
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help you get started.
Interested in starting your own business? Join Starter Story Premium to get the greatest companion to starting and growing your business:
- Connect + get advice from successful entrepreneurs
- Step by step guides on how to start and grow
- Exclusive and early access to the best case studies on the web
- And much more!
Are you ready to boost your revenue?
Using Klaviyo will open up a massive, untapped sales channel and bring you closer to your customers!
Level up your email marketing with Klaviyo!