This is a follow up story for Ann + Joy. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi again! We are Lindsay Ann and Courtney Joy, and we are the owners of Ann + Joy! We are a sister duo from Miami, Florida, and we make real dried flowers and resin jewelry. We are honored to be back with Pat on Starter Story and provide an update about our business. We have been making wearable nature for over 6 years.
We both have extensive art backgrounds, with Lindsay Ann attending a school for the arts, and then starting a previous handmade jewelry company, and Courtney Joy receiving her Master’s degree in Art Education and currently teaching elementary art. Growing up, our Mother had a green thumb and had planted bright and colorful flowers throughout our backyard. We were motivated by the thought of those beautiful flowers and had the idea to come up with a way to wear preserved nature as jewelry. After many trial and error attempts with our newly acquired knowledge of resin, we were able to begin the creation of our new business.
Our moon stud earrings are our best-selling product. They are beautiful little resin moons, filled with real dried flowers. Typically, we sell to women 18 and over, but we often get spouses looking to surprise their significant others with a special flower gift, whether that be one of our products, or they send us their flowers from a special event for us to preserve.
Currently, our wholesale business is still thriving. However, there has unfortunately been an excessive amount of imitators during the pandemic, while everyone was at home YouTubing new crafts to keep busy. Our Etsy shop has taken a large hit, but we are grateful for the small businesses that keep us busy with our wholesale orders.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
During the pandemic, Lindsay Ann was diagnosed with stage 4 appendiceal cancer. She had to face new struggles in life that tested her strength. We thought it best to temporarily close our shop and take some time for Lindsay Ann to be with Courtney Joy and the rest of their family while she underwent multiple surgeries and 6 months of chemo.
During that time, we kept the wholesale portion of our company open, and Courtney Joy took on the full responsibility of order fulfillment. While going through these hard times, we were at least able to celebrate some happiness….Courtney Joy got engaged!
Between chemo, wedding planning, and COVID, we were struggling to balance our personal lives with our business. However, as of March of 2021, Lindsay Ann is officially in remission! Then in June of 2021, Courtney Joy got married! With all the positive news and uplifted spirits, we decided to open the Etsy shop again. It suddenly became time to hire a third person to help with fulfillment. Although our Etsy shop was having a hard time gaining back traction, our wholesale business was still thriving. We aren’t sure whether or not the Etsy loss is because of the algorithms due to temporarily closing the shop, or if it is because there are so many competing small businesses. We are hoping that with the holiday season quickly approaching, that business will pick up again soon.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The biggest lessons we have learned are to never get comfortable. Things can change at any moment, in your personal life and your business. We didn’t expect to have to shut down the shop, and unfortunately, it seems to have hurt our business.
Creating means constantly growing and changing.
We are currently in the process of developing new strategic ways to move Ann + Joy forward.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We are currently talking to someone about expanding our marketing, as we have seen that Facebook and Instagram ads can be a huge asset to some companies. We do not know much about it, so it’s probably best to bring in a professional! We hope to continue expanding our wholesale business as well and start a consistent newsletter to help keep our customers in the loop about new products and designs.
We also really want to grow our custom designs option, which is when a customer sends us their flowers for us to preserve in jewelry forever. We have plans to reach out to florists and wedding coordinators to help promote this exciting and unique experience.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Our recommendation for other entrepreneurs is to be willing to adapt. Covid has changed a lot of things for small businesses. We found that if you want to stay relevant, you have to be open to change and find ways to continuously stand out from the crowd! Creating means constantly growing and changing.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are currently looking to work with someone with social media experience to help get our brand name out there. Feel free to reach out to us if you’re interested! Please send an email to: [email protected].
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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