Ramblerose | Be Insane and Particular
**UPDATE - June 2017: Studdly has now been rebranded to Ramblerose.
It’s been two years now and Maggie has been a true hustler. Selling on Etsy, receiving a lot of custom orders, going to open markets and craft shows such as American Field and SOWA open markets has allowed her to build her network and collaborate with others, and only recently has she launched her own e-commerce website for her very own business, Studdly!
Where does the name “Studdly” come from?
The name was a play on my use of materials and the power they hold. I started off mostly using studs on leather. I was "studding" my pieces, hence "studd." The term "studly," although a masculine term for "attractive," I felt could hold just as much power in a women's brand. Feel Studdly, feel confident.
I saw the video on your website of how you make each one and it's incredible. When did you decide to turn this hobby into a business?
Although it just started out as a fun way to make unique presents for my friends, the feedback and custom requests I was receiving were encouragement enough to find a way to sell online. Etsy was a fast, simple start to something that would eventually become a major part of my life.
What made you decide to apply to SOWA?
I used to go all the time even before I had my business. Once I had my business, in the back of my mind, I thought I could definitely bring my bracelets there. I was thinking about how I could sell what I was making somewhere other than online, because I wasn't getting a ton of attention on Etsy. My sales were just enough to keep buying more supplies. So I did want to bring it somewhere else and try something new and that’s where that desire came from. I didn’t think I would make it in, but when I did, I quickly got my act together.
Even though you have made this a business now, it’s still not your full time job? How do you balance having to work for someone and working for yourself?
I currently have a design job at ‘47 Brand, a sports lifestyle brand based out of Boston. I work on production design and artwork for apparel. I went to Northeastern for graphic design and minored in digital art, so it correlates really well. It’s definitely been a challenge balancing both because the workday fills most of my time. When I’m busy with an upcoming show for Studdly, I’m coming home and immediately working again. I’m traveling to different shows and working on weekends, but I can’t complain about it because it's been amazing seeing the business grow organically. So I’m maintaining my current job and giving my all to fulfill both positions while finding a balance.
When you graduated from college, was going full time with Studdly an option for you?
It was. Especially how gradual the growth was. But as much as I would have loved to stayed at home and take the business full time, I felt it was really important to get real work experience behind my belt as a backbone because down the road if I want to go a different direction than Studdly, I want to have a backup plan and a resume that resonates with being a designer. The best plan was to work on the business on the side and work full time.
Are you working solo still or do you have a team now?
Yes. I’m the only one that makes everything right now. The most help I have received over the years is from my friends and roommates, especially while preparing for shows. I constantly have to stamp a lot of boxes and put price tags on everything - my support system has really helped me out there. I have one friend who I can trust to make friendship bracelets so she will help out when I really need her. The closest person to a business partner is one of my friends who helped me with the development of my website. She knew I was short on time while curating the website content and shooting photos, so she really helped me with building on the back end. Her background is digital marketing and social media -her expertise and her friendship have helped me so much with launching the site and taking those next steps in my growth. Luckily we’re able to make our work together a social environment, over fun dinners and jewelry exchanges.
You said you were a graphic design major, so how did you learn about starting a business? What resources and tools did you use when starting without having taken any business related courses?
I have to be honest with you, I’m still learning as I go. Being an entrepreneur without going to business school is definitely a challenge, especially because everyone that I meet, especially at the shows, have business backgrounds and they know exactly what they are doing. I try to make connections with the people I meet and ask for help as much as I can. But everything has been pretty much self-taught from making sure I am following tax rules to understanding that there are different rules for online sales versus selling in person.
Everything else, like marketing and presentation, is relatable to graphic designers. In our classes we learned about creating a brand image. During my co-op at TJX, I was working on the digital marketing team doing the social media photography for Marshalls. Almost every photo up on the Marshall's Facebook page were all my own photos, which was a pretty awesome thing. They receive so much attention on most of their photos, so it was exciting. So I learned a lot of my social media and marketing skills while there.
Apart from that, I go to my parents for advice. I’ve found that my family will always be the most honest and dedicated people to me and my business. I am truly lucky to have them as a support system.
Now that it’s been two years, and you mentioned you also have a full time job, where do you plan to go with Studdly?
There’s always a bit of fear with this question. I’m definitely not a fearful person, but I also don’t want my business to crash, if it suddenly goes viral one day. It’s not because I don’t want anything it to succeed, because of course that would be awesome. But I hope that it's more gradual, like it's been so far, so that I can enlist help and train people in reasonable time to help make my jewelry with the highest care and quality possible. My line is very specific and I need things to be done in a particular way. With a full time job, it's hard because I have to keep creating in very constrained time frames. To ever find a time to make a transition, I’ll need to be able to make enough product to actually pay my bills. So I’m proceeding with caution for all these reasons because I want to make sure I’m prepared and i want to make sure I have enough time to hire the best employees when I need them.
What were some challenges you faced when starting this company? Anything you wish you had when starting?
My biggest challenges were right in the beginning because I found that I was afraid of all the business aspects. I was very scared. I had been making these bracelets and selling them occasionally online but it wasn’t like I was making any major sales that were creating an impact. I was doing it for fun. And then I applied to SOWA open market on a whim and thought it would be a cool way to show other college kids what I was doing. When I got accepted, they sent me a list of things that I had to get done that was when I had to get my act together and start preparing.
What kept you motivated along the way?
As far as keeping me motivated, there were little things that drove me, like seeing the reactions out of my customers and how impressed they were that I was making all of these bracelets by myself. At shows, I would get support and enthusiasm from people just walking by. Other vendors would even comment that “when you have your own store it's gonna look great.” It’s little motivational things like that, hearing people you don’t know at all tell you that your product is great and it's going to be big. That really drove me. There's always going to be biased opinions from people that I know and love, but having said that, everyone around me have been very truthful and extremely supportive which has also motivated me.
Now that you have successfully launched, do you have advice for other women trying to start their own thing?
If you have a great idea and you want something to happen, then you’ve gotta push to make it happen. There is no way it’s going to fall in your lap. If you have to train under someone else to gain the skills, do it. There’s no doubt about how many hours I’ve spent before I ever had a worthy product that could be sold in a nice boutique. It’s been three years coming now and it hasn’t been quick and easy. It’s something that I’ve dedicated a lot of time to, I’ve sacrificed a lot of nights of going out with my friends and doing other hobbies. I don’t really have any hobbies anymore because this used to be my hobby and now it’s a job. I am the type of person that has a lot of hobbies, i enjoy working out, photography, video editing and styling. I still try to do those things when I can but realistically speaking, making jewelry has turned into something so huge that I don’t have time to do anything else! You have to let it become your life. To an extent it has taken over my whole life outside of my full time job.
People would probably think it’s absurd the amount of hours that I sit there and decide which picture I’m going to post or what necklace to make next. At the same time, I’m making a brand for myself and all the details are important. So it doesn’t make a difference if you are going to take those extra few minutes to hang out with your friends or decide which photo is going on your page. It sounds silly but in the end it's going to make a huge difference in who is going to continue to pay attention to your brand.
So my advice to everyone is be particular and be insane. You really have to commit and spend a crazy amount of time to make it work and to get noticed.
For more on Studdly, be sure to follow Studdly on Instagram to see the beautifully colorful posts crafted by Maggie!