Exclusive Interview with My Arm Charms
It seems like my blog anniversary is always a special day for me. On the day of my two month anniversary, I received an email from Leslie, the owner of My Arm Charms. She showed big interest in my blog and asked if we can work together. As you all know, I just celebrated my 4 month anniversary a few days ago, so I am basically still a newbie to this blog business. But after I saw all of her cute and affordable bracelets online, I decided to give it a try. My requirement is I must use the bracelet first to see if they are good quality. If not, then I will stop our partnership immediately. Leslie was very confident with her products so our journey began in February 2015.
Honestly, I didn’t expect anything more than the few bracelet samples that I got. But in that first two month period, we became friends. I fell in love with all the nice and stylish bracelets that Leslie chose for me. She seemed to really pick up on my personal style and fashion. I was also pleasantly surprised in what a nice and professional partner Leslie became! She always helped promote my blog on her own social media platforms. She even joked that she is having fun driving traffic to my blog even though she hopes for more traffic as well! We are both hard working women and maybe that is why we get along very well! Now I am going on a business trip to Atlanta and we already set up a date to meet face to face! I can’t believe it is happening!
Well for me, she is such an amazing person to work with and as a friend. So I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview, and here it is:
1. What inspired you to start a bracelet store?
I was standing in Burlington Coat Factory, becoming steadily more frustrated. While the jewelry I was looking at was affordably priced, it was unorganized and with missing and/or broken pieces. When I could find something I liked, it was missing a piece and it was the last one. I just felt like the amount of time spent was wasted. Later, while on the internet, I came across Kitsy Lane. Loved the concept; allowing women to create their own boutique using Kitsy Lane’s platform. No cost – absolutely free! Just click the jewelry pieces that you want to add to your boutique – up to 400 pieces. Boutique owners could even receive commission on self purchases! I was anxious to get started, but was quickly disappointed with the quality of the pieces in comparison to the prices. The value just wasn’t there. My co-worker, who is now my most frequent My Arm Charms customer, and I purchased pieces that needed to be returned due to quality issues. I knew I could do a better job offering quality, stylish pieces for less. I decided to narrow my offerings from fashion jewelry to just fashion bracelets. Everything I had read about starting a business suggested not starting off trying to be a Super Store of some kind.
2. My Arm Charms is such cute name, how did you come up with this? What’s in a name?!
I wrote down SEVERAL unrelated words that described what came to mind when I thought about bracelets and came up with many options. Some creative boutique names I considered were She Shackles, Shut the Cuff Up! and Wrist Priss. Ultimately, I decided on My Arm Charms. While not nearly as sassy and edgy as some of the others, I thought it would be fairly easy to remember and felt the 3 words completely described it from the boutique patron’s point of view.
3. What is your vision or mission statement about My Arm Charms?
To provide fashionable arm charm for every style situation! Among my frequent customers, ladies refer to My Arm Charm offerings by name. That gets me so excited. The newest addition to the boutique that has my frequent patrons talking is Dahlia. Inspired by the David Yurman cable bracelets that are in style, it offers that similar trendy look for less. It’s not intended to be a knock off; Just a comparable fashion bracelet. I would love to 1) increase exposure and have more women talking about my bracelets by name, 2) create a loyal customer base with the ladies who love fashionable bracelets for their outfits and accessory ensembles and 3) be a favorite ‘site’ seeing online store for women. You know, every women has an online store/site that she frequently visits just to check out what’s new, in hopes of finding yet another ‘must-have’.
4. How do you pick what to sell in your store? Or where is your inspiration coming from?
I did initially think to go to other fashion jewelry websites and get the pieces that they have and offer them at lower prices. But that was just sucking the joy and enthusiasm out of it. I select the pieces that seem to practically jump out at me. The pieces in the boutiques are among those that catch my eye immediately. I then place an order to confirm quality. I feel more comfortable knowing the pieces shortcomings, if any. Hey, it’s no secret that fashion jewelry isn’t like a Tiffany bracelet. While we know that it won’t last forever, we do not want it to fall apart or discolor the first time you put it on. I personally wear most of the bracelets that I offer in the store. As my “About Me” page reads, I won’t put anything in the store that I wouldn’t wear myself. My favorites change as new shipments arrive. I’m currently loving my Davina and Dahlia dual – tone, cable bracelets. They are great for stacking. Basketweave is also a favorite of mine.
5. Will you ever sell rings, watches or other jewelry in the future?
One of the reasons I decided on the name ‘My Arm Charms’ was to prevent from locking myself into solely selling bracelets and nothing else. I consider anything to be worn on the arm as Arm Charm. I recently added fashion watches. I have a few rings, but haven’t added them to the site yet. I even currently offer flash or metallic tattoos. These can be used to make temporary rings, bracelets or arm cuffs. In the long run, I would also like to offer purses, totes and clutches and maybe even nail jewelry. I am still trying to identify who my market is while trying to offer pieces that speak to the style of the boutique to help brand it. Newly opened, I will have to continue working hard to increase site visitations to see what sells and what doesn’t.
6. Tell us one thing that you really enjoy about running My Arm Charms.
Shopping for My Arm Charm and the arrival of my packages! Seriously, I check out the vendor sites at least once a day to scan my Wish List and reevaluate my prospective purchases. I love bracelets. I like how they shine, sparkle and feel in my hand! I cannot wait until I’m at the point of buying larger shipments and having to replenish pieces all the time! LOL. I need boutique shoppers to help feed my habit; the more bracelets I sell, the more I can shop to replenish pieces and select new ones!
7. Are you still looking for quality bloggers to work with? If yes, what criteria do you use to choose one? And please explain how this sponsor program works.
I would LOVE to partner with more fashion bloggers. I really enjoy seeing my bracelets styled in the most creative of ways! My VIP Blogger program was created to help both My Arm Charms AND the blogger who is promoting the boutique’s bracelets. Bloggers are provided 2 pieces from the boutique each month for 3 months to style with their outfits and photograph themselves wearing them. Readers trust the fashion bloggers they follow and I am grateful for that relationship. We sometimes make purchases based on how the item is presented to us. How the partnership comes into play is that I will then market that blogger across my social media platforms. It’s really a win-win. In selecting bloggers, I am not necessarily looking for impressively high followers/subscribers as much as I am looking for someone who I would feel good about promoting. Additionally, post frequency, the overall polished look of the site and picture quality are variables that are going to help me determine who I would like to partner with.
8. Since you are an expert in this field, could you please show us some essentials for this spring and summer fashions?
There’s nothing new under the sun, but it’s always exciting to see what’s in fashion. Fashion pieces this season are of mixed materials. Women are mixing metals and even dual-tones. No more choosing between silver or gold. Where ’em both! Stacking is increasingly more popular. No longer for the Madonna boy-toy types or giggly teenage girls. Per your style situation, stacking pieces can be used to create Classy, Edgy, Casual and even Sophisticated looks. Also gaining popularity are the flash tattoos. These are great for those days when jewelry may not be ideal like at the beach!
All the fashion pictures for this post are featuring bracelets from My Arm Charms.
SHOP MY LOOK:
TODAY’S LINK UP PARTY:
Style to Inspire with Rhea
SPRING BREAK CANCUN GENERAL TIPS
Palm trees in the morning, snow flurries in the afternoon. NOOOOOOOO!
So our day trip to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza was over. We had one full day left on vacation and then it was time to get up early again and head to the airport. Last year we weren’t sure if we would like an all-inclusive resort so just tried a short 4 night stay. That was good enough for us to up our game to a full week this time around. On this trip, somewhere between the lunch buffet and the chaise lounge at the beach on about the third day, we knew that next year a 10 night stay was looking really good! I had finally found a way to relax and enjoy taking a break. You would probably be surprised but these trips were the first time I went on vacation and wasn’t ready to go home. Usually I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and being in my own home but these last two spring breaks it was more like “NO! I don’t want to leave!” There are a few tricks of going to an all-inclusive resort that we wish someone had told us before our first one last year. This time around we were a lot more prepared but still had a few missteps. If you are thinking of going to one of these resorts I am going to pass along some of the tips we found to get the most fun for the least worry. Here they are in no particular order.
1. Not really an all-inclusive only tip but; don’t get a stupid early flight if you can avoid it. For us to get to our plane to start our vacation we had to wake up at 2am! Get ready, leave the house at 3 and get to the airport at 4 to check in two hours before our 6am international flight. We got to our resort so early we had to wait almost 5 hours before we could get into our room. In the meantime we were tired, hot and uncomfortable. And we had been up so long we couldn’t really enjoy the first night. You may not have many options for different flight times, especially with a charter, but if you do, TAKE IT! Even if it costs a few dollars more, it’s worth it! We would have been MUCH happier with a 10 or 11am flight.
2. By all-inclusive that means drinks are free and everywhere. You want to pace yourself! It’s pretty easy to get out of control if you’re not used to it! On this subject, we brought our own insulated and covered drink cups this time. The bartenders will fill up anything you bring to them but if you didn’t pack your own, usually you will get either a flimsy plastic cup or at the least, something that may not be the size you hoped for. Having the insulated variety kept our drinks cold much longer than the resort’s cups. We went with a reasonable 16 ounce size but we saw people carrying huge jugs! Even insulated I think whatever they were drinking would get too warm before you could finish. Plus they are a bit difficult to carry and stash away. Ours fit nicely into my beach bag.
3. I’ve mentioned this one before but bring insect repellent (either spray or towellettes) and LOTS of sunscreen. They will gladly sell you either one of these items but that cost is not part of the inclusive and will be much higher than you would pay at home. We were lucky that we didn’t need the insect wipes much but something bit me and it still itches 3 weeks later! For sunscreen, use your best judgment but take more than you think you’ll use. I am pretty good in the sun but my husband doesn’t tan at all, he goes straight to red! We had two cans of spray for two people for 7 days and that wasn’t enough. To be safe we probably should have doubled that.
4. Check out all the eating options. On our first trip we skipped the buffet most of the time but then discovered they had some great theme nights we would have preferred over where we did eat. And when you’re at the buffet take the time to walk around instead of loading your plate at the first station you come to. We found that the Mexican Corner in our buffet often had the tastiest and freshest food. Being in Mexico this made sense but it took us a couple visits to figure this out!
5. Bring a LOT of small bills. We brought probably $70 in one dollar bills. You don’t have to tip but pretty much everyone does. It’s almost impossible to break a big bill anywhere so bring an envelope full of tip cash. On our first try last year we figured out a somewhat clever way to get small bills. We went to the onsite casino and put maybe $20 on our card. Then we would lose only a dollar or two and cash out. They would give us some ones which we would put away. Then we’d put another $20 on a card and repeat. Eventually we had enough tip bills to get us through but it was the long way around!
6. Don’t expect good internet. We used the free Wi-Fi both times and it was very S…L…O…W. In fact this is not a bad thing. You are supposed to be relaxing so leave the work back home! But it should be good enough to do a quick email check to make sure all is well and let people know you made it. Or maybe send a picture of you at poolside with a margarita to instill that vital jealousy. I mean why go on vacation if you can’t rub your friend’s noses in it?
7. Finally, try to get yourself on vacation time ASAP. It seems I always take a couple days to wind down. My husband can get in vacation mode at the airport! I’m getting better but the sooner you chillax the longer your vacation will seem. And that’s the goal!
That’s about it for our vacation. Thanks so much for traveling along with me. And for you who were wondering if I’d ever get back to my drivers training stories, the answer is YES! I’m back on the road soon! Hop in and ride along!
SHOP MY LOOK:
Beach cover @Michael Kors
TODAY’S LINK UP PARTY