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From the automotive industry to the jewellery industry: Jackie Damelian’s entrepreneurial journey
Jackie Damelian, founder of Jackie Mack Designs
Fri 30 August 2019 - 11:41 amEntrepreneur | Featured | Leadership
Jackie’s involvement in her family’s customer-centric automotive business for several years has later come to shape and inspired the emergence of her own successful company, Jackie Mack Designs. Her shift into the jewellery industry has been nothing short of successful since its relaunch in November 2018.
Since launching, Jackie Mack Designs has continuously surpassed monthly targets with a strong focus on the Australian market. The jewellery brand’s rising success is largely attributed to a social media and marketing strategy which helped Jackie build the brand, directly connect with customers and gain access to feedback loops about the product and customer experience.
One thing that has remained constant in Jackie’s business career is her customer focused approach heavily influenced by her experience in the automotive industry. Jackie Damelian isn’t one to stay inside her comfort zone. Her emergence in the ecommerce world has proved her success as a businesswoman across multiple industries.
We had the opportunity to speak with Jackie how she made the unconventional move from automotive to jewellery, what her launch and grow strategy has been and her top tips for people in that start up phase.
What made you move from an automotive business to jewellery last year?
Resilience. After a tough business journey during the GFC and some hard lessons learned in the automotive industry, I pursued other business interests. This led to incredible personal growth and professional growth. Sometimes unfortunate events end up yielding quite fortunate outcomes. I then took time to continue my education and develop my expertise in marketing, digital advertising and branding, which eventually led me to launch my first jewellery collection, Tesoro.
Why did you decide on an ecommerce business?
It was a business model that I had in my rearview mirror for years. Seeing how fast the retail landscape has been transformed and how technology has shaped the industry and consumer behaviour, I wanted to launch a product, build a brand and use my core strengths in business and marketing to my advantage.
What are the key strategies you’ve used to accelerate your business since launching?
My approach has been about defining the vision and then solidifying it. Having several short-term goals and clear targets of where I want the business to be at different stages – but also be flexible and adapt quickly by implementing systems that lead to outcomes.
Having that relentless focus is important because the first 6 months have been about validating assumptions. I apply this method to our brand and marketing strategy too. Test, learn and then validate.
Every decision I make relies heavily on data and I keep a close eye on my cashflow. This is a discipline that I have maintained for many years as it brings clarity to my daily operations and strategic decision-making.
Growing our customer base and listening to our customers has given me valuable insights about what the consumer wants and how we can improve our operations, products and continuously strive to deliver superior customer service. Always trying to align our brand and product with what our consumers want is central to our marketing strategy.
How specifically have you used Instagram to sell your products?
Instagram is an extension of our online shop and an important tool of our sales funnel. You can browse products directly from the platform and shop straight from a tagged post or story. This has helped create a bridge between our online shop, social media presence and digital advertising. Keeping everyone inside the sales funnel and nurturing these relationships is central to how we build depth and strengthen our relationship with our consumers and humanise the process.
Why did you decide to launch two different collections only six months in?
I feel that one collection would not have been enough to maintain the momentum and hype the brand gained since we launched. The Tesoro Collection was only enough to give our consumers a taste of the look and feel of the brand, once it was validated it was easy to decide that a second collection was needed to compliment the first one.
Launching the second collection was an easy decision, the creative process and time allocated for this collection to come to fruition was a whole different story. Considering that I had to make it happen during the busiest time of the year – pre and post-Christmas! It was an intense period but very rewarding in the end.
Where do you see the future of your businesses?
The near future will be about scaling and highly focused on refining our vision and customer experience with the brand. Adapting to knew ways to showcase our products and reducing friction along the customer experience journey.
Always keeping in mind that we want to refresh the style of our consumers, the next 2 collections are almost finalised, one launching very soon.
I’m also working on expanding our footprint in the US first – more on this in the coming months!
What top tips could you pass on to someone else looking to launch their Ecommerce based startup soon?
A mentor of mine once said “when you’re everything to everybody you’re nothing to anyone” – this stayed in my mind and I strongly believe that no market segment is impossible to get into, no matter how saturated it may be. The barriers of entry may be higher in some industries than in others, but the key is to know how to differentiate your product and brand from what’s available and know how you are going to gain market share.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, what you need is to have something going on for you. Is it how unique your product is? Is it your customer experience? your affordability or exclusivity – choose at least one and focus on refining this and making it your focus so that you can differentiate your brand from the competition.
Most importantly, know your numbers by heart. At the bare minimum you should launch with a budget in place and knowing your costs well with forecasting scenarios that will give you a snapshot of how the business would look like at different stages.
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