Spotlight on - Sarah Parham. Facing Challenges.
Sarah gave us so much to think about that we went back for more! We got the chance to talk to Sarah Parham, owner or SVP Jewellery, about how she has adapted her business during COVID, how she has kept morale high, and her advice to anyone struggling.
If COVID had taught me anything it's that listening is one of the greatest gifts there is. A good leader is a good listener, be humble, keep it simple and take time to understand human economics.
Listen and communicate clearly and simply. Don’t make people do things that aren’t in their skill set, use people to their best advantage, they will be happier, you’ll be happier and the business will grow.
Handling business during a pandemic
When COVID-19 hit we rethought our targets and strategy for the next 12 months. We had some core ideas and left ourselves open to adapt and change quickly depending on the markets. Trust and timing are key in business, more than price, the product or anything else.
During lockdown we set up a series of initiatives for both our customers and our retailers:
Every Wednesday we sent free-content to retailers for them to use on all their social media channels.
We set up competitions working with other jewellery brands that the retailer stocked. It was a way of us all sharing audiences, growing our numbers and importantly helping our retailers gain sales and new customers.
We set up virtual tea dates so we could better understand and help individual retailers.
We filmed each of our retailer’s SVP edit and showed people how to wear the pieces, it was posted up to our IGTV with swipe ups to the retailer’s site, driving our traffic and fans to them, they also shared it on their feeds. This helped with sell-through and now we are getting orders in from retailers needing to replenish.
We regularly introduced our Instagram audience to our retailers and their brands so that they could discover new shops and pieces through our Instagram stories – each story swiped up to their Instagram or website.
We have just launched a digital trade show with Tracey Madeley our UK sales agent @traceytmagencies. We have filmed a whole series so that retailers can see and learn about new stones and collections including our top 20 best sellers in bite-size chunks.
Direct sales on the SVP website
When lockdown happened we decided to make people's world sparkle for a few minutes every day as we all came together as one to create a ring through a series of votes on Instagram Stories and Instagram Live. Our audience chose everything from metal, shape, size, setting, faceting and gemstone, they even named it – One Love. These went up for pre-order as soon as India had eased its lockdown. Helping sales for our artisans and giving people jewellery with real meaning. 10% of all sales will go back to India to help with feeding the starving which has worsened due to the virus and to help migrant workers get back home to their families. We also have new collections launching monthly and decided we wanted to give back as much as possible so gave 40% off for ALL NHS workers for three months.
Adapting to remote working
Communicate more, find out why people are feeling deflated, unconnected and why there is a lack of moral and energy.
Remember you are in control – so whether you are a business owner or an employee write down why you feel like you do, is it you – and you need to find something new or is it something else/ Define what it is, come up with solutions and share.
I have always worked hard, I was trained to come up with ideas so that comes naturally to me, I was just miserable in my old career and part of that was I hate being told what to do, I am much better working on my own business and inspiring others along the way. Every waking moment I am thinking of new ideas and ways to run the business – it just seems to be in me. Doing what you love never feels like work. I just have to remember how far I’ve come and not get too bogged down with COVID.
I think it takes a certain type of person to be an entrepreneur. You need to have drive, determination, grit, be good at ideas, recognise opportunity, be able to take calculated risks and have a love of people. You have to be able to change and adapt easily, never take criticism to heart – use it as valuable learning.
I live by our mantra, Change is Beautiful
Throughout my career, I have learnt so much COVID has really grounded me. Remember, don’t chase money, chase your dreams and the money will follow. Keep it simple – don’t over complicate anything. (Sometimes it is very hard to distil information to its simplest form – but that’s the trick).
Check out Sarah's brand SVP here, to learn more about the queen of rings herself, and check out her Instagram. If you enjoyed Sarah’s story you will love her IGTV’s how she changed her career in her forties part 1 and 2. Make sure you take a look at our other Spotlight blogs here and be sure to read part one of Sarah’s story.