The Jewelry Stand That Launched a Thousand Ships
Hi, friends! Now that the chaos of Bow & Sprig's launch has settled a little, I thought I would start sharing more about the company and our story. On "The Bow & Sprig Life" I will cover things like where I started and how, useful resources for green entrepreneurs, and balancing life as a working mom.
I want to state for the record, I am not trying to provide professional advice beyond sharing my experiences, and sharing an encouraging message. Everyone has their own path, and I firmly believe there are thousands of ways to successfully get from A to B. This is just my journey and my perspective.
With that being said, I figure the easiest place to start is from the beginning. Why did I even found this company to begin with? I'll tell you. I had recently moved with my family from Washington, DC to Dallas, TX. At night, I would lay in bed, browsing the internet finding items to finally tie the loose ends of things around the house that normally come up post-moving. One of those things was finding a means to store my jewelry.
I kept running into jewelry storage being too limited, too bulky, or just not practical. I also could not find something that would not only look good on my dresser, but one that would actually contribute to the decor of the room. With something so visible, I wanted my jewelry storage to elevate the space, not just blend in. I was browsing for a jewelry stand and suddenly had a design come to mind. I searched for hours trying to find this stand; I was sure I had seen somewhere. Instead, in my search, I found how large the gap in the market for functional jewelry stands was. So the next morning I drew up a sketch of the design that came to me, took it around the Dallas/Fort Worth area asking anyone for their thoughts on the product. Once I saw the product's viability, I was off to the races.
First, I enrolled in the "Starting Your Own Company" course at Southern Methodist University, then I researched EVERYTHING. I looked at how production, wholesale, marketing worked. I researched materials, structural design, adhesives. It was a fire hose of information, and to my surprise, as the to-do's got greater, I only got more energized. I created a board to organize my thoughts, strategies, and goals to stay focused, because, with all the information, it was easy to get off course. There were rough moments, but I so firmly believed in the product and what I was trying to build that I gave into all the chaos, adapting as things popped up.
The hardest part was finding a manufacturer. I knew I would have to go overseas for cost and logistics, but as a novice, I also knew I needed professional help to mediate. I interviewed multiple global procurement firms, brokers, etc., but none of them felt right. They didn't seem to understand what I was trying to accomplish, mostly because they were all men. They couldn't empathize with the problem I was trying to fix. The benefit of this was after each meeting, I was a little more knowledgeable for when I vetted the next prospect.
After a few months of no luck, I was speaking with a friend about this hurdle, and she connected me with a few friends who owned a global procurement and logistics company that was located ten minutes from my home. It all felt so serendipitous! Being able to meet with the procurement team in person really helped with some of the translation that would normally be lost between a woman's and a man's perspective when creating a product like this.
The next step was prototyping. The prototyping process was probably my least favorite as it was long and frustrating. Either the hooks were the wrong shape, or the fabric was not the right color. It was a revolving door of some kind of tweak or miscommunication. The whole process ultimately took almost a year. It was exasperating, but looking back, consider it a blessing. I had my second son somewhere in that time frame, so the prototyping delay gave me a chance to catch my breath in the mayhem of having two under two. Once the product arrived in the states, I was ready for a Fall of 2019 launch. Ever since, I go to the warehouse a few times a week to check each and every stand that goes out.
The challenges are many and the wins seem small right now. But, at the end of the day, I know that this is going to work. I believe in the product and what Bow & Sprig is trying to accomplish. In the meantime, I will just be here, doing my best.
- Dana Browne, Founder & Owner