Brand Interview – Kathy Pine, WorldWise Jewelry
How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
I’ve always loved making and wearing jewelry. When I was a kid, a friend and I spent hours making seed-bead rings; when the macramé craze hit, I was right there making knotted jewelry pieces. My love of jewelry making lay dormant for years as I launched a long and successful career in the financial services industry.
About 15 years ago I discovered wire-wrapping techniques, and I became passionate about jewelry making all over again. I read, researched and took classes in art jewelry design, learning from some of the world’s foremost jewelry artists, including Arline Fisch, an innovator in adapting textile techniques for metal. After spending years honing my artistry and craftsmanship, I was finally able to leave my day job, and now enjoy incorporating textile and weaving methods in my jewelry designs.
Because of the social and environmental damage caused by new mining, I was an early champion of using reclaimed precious metals in my jewelry designs. In 2007, I was introduced to the growing fair trade movement – the idea of providing a fair wage and improved working and living conditions for artisans and their communities in developing nations. Using fair trade beads along with earth-friendly, recycled precious metals and other socially and environmentally responsible materials was a natural fit with my desire to help improve people’s lives.
In 2008, I decided to retire from the financial world, took a breather and then in 2010 launched WorldWise Jewelry – the culmination of all my training and a place to showcase my ideas about creating beautiful, desirable jewelry with a deeper ethical dimension. My designs often feature stunning handmade ceramic beads from Kazuri, a fair trade company in Kenya that employs over 400 women – mostly single mothers.
I joined the Responsible Jewellery Council in 2009, and am now a member of its Standards Committee. The mission of the RJC is to advance responsible ethical, social and environmental practices while respecting human rights.
Creating gorgeous jewelry designs for my customers is a strong motivator, but what gives me true satisfaction is the knowledge that each piece benefits and brings joy to everyone – from the single mother working in the Kazuri factory to the loved one receiving the finished piece – while respecting and being responsible to the earth. There is an ever-increasing awareness about the importance of social and environmental responsibility. At the same time people don’t want to feel as though they have to give something up to support the well-being of our planet. My business is all about supporting the earth and treating people fairly, while at the same time providing my customers with a beautiful piece of art jewelry they can be proud to own or give.
How did you know what typeface (font) would be right for your company wordmark or logo? If your logo has an illustration, describe why that art was the right thing, animal, place, object, etc…
I knew that I wanted a brand that conveyed the idea of unique artisan jewelry that was socially and environmentally responsible. I jotted down many, many company name ideas and after doing a fair amount of research settled on “WorldWise Jewelry.” This led to a basic logo concept of something “world” focused with an artistic twist. I contracted with Logoworks to help me develop my initial logo. They gave me a few designs to choose from and after some back and forthing, I settled on a design that incorporated a stylized view of the world including North America, South America and a bit of Europe represented by swirls on a “bead.”
How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
Before I started working with Logoworks on my logo, I did some research to better understand the feeling that various colors evoke in people. I wanted to convey trust and integrity, social and environmental responsibility, and that my jewelry is unique, well-crafted and designed for the discerning woman. Based on the information I gathered, I decided on an initial color scheme that featured white, blue and green. Later we incorporated an earthy taupe color into my palette, along with a dark red accent color.
How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
I originally designed my own website and had it up for a short time, when I asked a friend, Kristine Anderson Dahms, (who is a fantastic designer and the owner of Twist Design) to take a look at it and give me some feedback. Kristine has an amazing talent for coming up with the perfect identity for each of her clients. One of the things I appreciated most was that she was very honest with her feedback, saying that my color scheme looked like it was from the ‘80s. She was right, and since I had no desire to live through that decade again, I asked her to completely revamp my website and help me develop a 21st century brand. Kristine came up with my current color scheme, fonts, website design, and all my marketing materials – pretty much everything that I use today.
I did a blog post that I jokingly titled “Munsters vs. Waldorf Astoria” because my original website and brand conjured up visions of 1313 Mockingbird Lane, and the updated version reminded me of a stay at the welcoming, elegant Waldorf-Astoria.
Late last year I worked with Sarah Shaw, owner of Entreprenette, and a huge help in identifying my target market and developing my brand. She provided me with some extraordinarily valuable feedback regarding my brand and identity.
In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
Because my business began as a hobby, I started with products, with a small bit of marketing thrown in. My original website and Facebook page have been in place since May, 2009. I started blogging, tweeting and sending out a newsletter about a year ago.
How long after the launch of your company did you start pitching in social media?
While I’ve been participating in social media for a couple of years now, I haven’t really used it as effectively as I could for pitching my jewelry. I’ve mostly used it to build relationships, with an occasional pitch thrown in here and there. My goal for this year is to take full advantage of all social media outlets.
Did you do research or study any software, take webinars, teleclasses, before approaching any area of your marketing or web presence?
I have taken webinars, and am on a number of distribution lists relating to social media. This is a quickly evolving environment, so I do a lot of reading to keep up with the latest capabilities and uses for social media. I recently began using apps available from North Social to customize my Facebook page and provide some additional functionality for my followers.
We just completed a customer survey, and are in the process of analyzing the feedback we received. We had a 19% survey response rate, which is on the high end of the 10-20% I expected. The comments and suggestions submitted were insightful and valuable, and are helping me to shape my business plan and marketing strategy for the coming year.
Do you advertise locally in newspapers and/or nationally in magazines? Are they effective?
I have advertised locally and in a couple of magazines targeted to my market niche. Last year I spent several thousand dollars on magazine ads, with absolutely no increase in sales that I could determine. I’ve had better luck with local advertising. Buying local fits with my target market’s mindset, so that’s not surprising to me.
Do you advertise online using Google, Facebook or on other company sites? Are they effective?
I have not advertised online, but am considering a Facebook ad. My plan is to run something in the next few weeks to build up my followers. Depending on how that goes, I may then run a different Facebook ad to drive more sales.
When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
For the first batch of printing, I used Modern Postcard and was very happy with their results. Earlier this year, I designed a jewelry catalog to use in a marketing campaign targeted to shops and boutiques across the U.S. I chose an online printer, GotPrint, to print my catalog and have since used them for business cards and postcards because they are able to print on recycled paper, and their pricing is less expensive than Modern Postcard’s pricing.
Did you know anything about different types of papers, when you wanted to print your marketing materials?
I knew a bit about different types of papers, but because my knowledge was limited, I initially relied on my designer for a recommendation for a competitively-priced, high quality printer.
Have you ever used “green” technology in printing, using FSC certified papers or recycled paper and if not, how likely are you at trying this on a next project?
My business model is built around the premise of environmental and social responsibility, so being able to use recycled paper and non-toxic products for my marketing materials is very important to me. Modern Postcard’s “Harmony” paper is FSC certified and manufactured using renewable energy. GotPrint offers paper products that are recycled from certified sustainable production systems, and uses eco-friendly solvents and soy inks.
If you sell products, are they produced in the U.S.A. or abroad?
I currently handcraft all of my jewelry in my studio on Vashon Island, Washington.
Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
Once I’ve gotten my jewelry into a number of shops and boutiques across the U.S., I’ll begin looking for appropriate larger catalog and wholesale opportunities. Employment opportunities are scarce on Vashon Island and once business has reached a level that warrants it, my plan is to hire people locally.
Another major goal is to add video content to YouTube.
Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
I donate to a number of different charities throughout the year, but most of my support goes to Women for Women International, a highly-respected non-profit organization that provides women survivors of conflicts and crises with tools and resources to move toward stability. Their approach combines microlending with direct aid and training, and they have helped more than 150,000 women and their families since 1993. As a woman and a business owner, I share Women for Women International’s vision of a just world and, thanks to the support of my customers, am able to contribute to Women for Women’s efforts.
To learn more about Kathy Pine and WorldWise Jewelry visit the links below:
Web site: www.worldwisejewelry.com
Blog: WorldWise Jewelry Blog
Newsletter: WorldWise Jewelry Newsletter
Facebook: WorldWise Jewelry Facebook
Twitter: WorldWise Jewelry Twitter
LinkedIn: WorldWise Jewelry LinkedIn
YouTube: WorldWise Jewelry YouTube