The touchscreen revolution

Virtual storefront
Crafty entrepreneur uses e-tools to grow client base

For jewelry designer Jenn Cosby, her days are usually filled with colourful pieces of sea glass, wire and pottery as she builds her business inventory in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Although, in the past few months, these colourful hues are sometimes replaced with the glow of a computer screen as Cosby searches for potential business leads.

“It’s hard to make money in a small town, but I wanted to do something that lets me be creative and have fun and hopefully make something that people like,” she says.

In creating an inventory of products, Cosby uses recycled materials she finds in nature, like the glass and pottery. After finding the pieces, she then uses stainless steel and copper wire to make Lovable Objects Jewelry: her oneof- a-kind pendants, earrings and rings.

In retrospect, creating the jewelry has been the easy part. As a one-person business she doesn’t have a team of marketers or designers behind her to help promote and build her business, so Cosby had to create a focused business plan.

With an expanding market for online businesses, Cosby says she not only wanted to sell her products to local stores but online as well. With this in mind, she launched her online Etsy shop in December 2012 followed by an official website and Facebook page in January 2013.

Even with these efforts, she soon realized that when selling her products online she simply couldn’t create a store; she had to find her own customers.

She’s learned that one of the biggest markets for her product is weddings and has started posting both general and wedding specific advertisements to online classified sites, like Kijiji ads and Facebook classifieds, as well as sharing information on Reddit, deviantART and with bloggers who might like to feature her product in a post.

Having this virtual success doesn’t mean that Cosby has abandoned storefront visibility. She currently has pieces available at P’lovers in Mahone Bay and plans to expand to similar stores that might be interested in her work. By combining the online component of her business with consignment, Cosby hopes she’ll able reach a wider audience and improve her sales.

By Katie Ingram

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