ELXNAY is a jewellery brand that was started in 2018 as a hobby by a mum, whilst on maternity leave. She was used to being busy and wanted something to keep her occupied in her spare time, this quickly became a passion. She identified a niche in the market and the brand now provides high quality tarnish free jewellery, which means customers can have affordable and fashionable pieces that will last them a life time.
Here is how the conversation went, when I caught up with founder Naomi McGann on how she started this great business
Have you always worked in this industry and what motivated you to start your own brand of Jewellery?
I haven’t always worked in the jewellery industry. I am a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and I qualified at 21 years old. Although I was proud of my achievements, the excitement quickly wore off when I realised I did not want to work 12 hours shifts for the rest of my (working) life. I knew I wanted to start a family and be present for my children.
I fell into owning my brand but my motivation to keep on going is my daughter and my little sister (I call them my little helpers). I do this for them to give them the best start and to show them that black women can run a successful business, there are no limits to what you can achieve when you put your mind to it
What makes your jewellery brand different from others on the market?
What makes ELXNAY stand out is that the business thrives off representing our customers. We specialise in country map jewellery. Our pendants allow people from different cultures and backgrounds to carry a piece of home with them wherever they go!
Being of Caribbean heritage it has always been important to feel close to and be proud of my background. Wearing my St. Kitts and Jamaica necklace achieved this for me. This was a feeling I wanted everyone to experience. With over 90 country map pieces available we allow many people from all around the world to feel connected to home. We also provide trendy pieces that make the perfect go to jewellery collection for everyday wear.
For those that are not aware, tell us about the jewellery market and where your brand is positioned
The Jewellery business is a competitive, billion-pound market that is projected to grow rapidly in the next few years. Though the trajectory is mostly reflective of high-end brands, mid-range brands like ELXNAY are also expected to do well. Despite the fragility of the high street the purchasing of jewellery has gone up, with research showing two-thirds of people in the UK buying jewellery for themselves or someone else…. Overall there has been a 5% increase in comparison to 2018!
I think this is a profitable market, especially when you discover your unique niche and in the age of online shopping there’s some evidence to suggest online brands may have a stronger advantage.
Why did you decide to sell your jewellery via your own website and move away from Etsy?
When I started ELXNAY it was a hobby and Etsy seemed to be the best place to dip my feet in the water and see what people wanted. After obtaining almost 7 thousand sales with many returning customers, it became very clear that there was a demand for our product and in order to gain more control over our business and to truly establish the brand in its own right, I recognised it was time to move ELXNAY to its own domain
Read similar stories:
- This business man started a food production company during a recession
- Conscious Skin Care: Met the founders of Earth to Earth Organics
- This Entrepreneur went from flipping burgers to flipping multi-million assets
- From Environmental scientist to Pottery business owner
- Meet the founder of Pelham House Care Home
What are some of the challenges you experienced whilst moving to your own website?
The biggest challenge about starting over was starting over! I felt like I had mastered Etsy. I knew how to list products in a way that guaranteed traffic to my store, how to interact with customers quickly and effectively and how to unify this to generate sales.
There’s a lot more work that goes on behind the scenes of owning your own website, things I hadn’t yet encountered. My first challenge was designing my website, whereas Etsy is like a cookie cutter one-store-fits-all well as your own website is essentially a blank canvas that you have to paint on to create your brand identity.
Then came the challenge of generating sales, because once you navigate away from ETSY you also leave behind the customers Etsy brings to its platform. Every visit to my store is now generated by me and so, I had to learn how to really utilise the power of social media and online advertising. It has been a journey… challenging but most definitely rewarding.
Do you design it yourself?
initially, when I started ELXNAY as a one (wo)man brand I wore many hats, which included penning my own designs ready for our manufactures to transform into amazing pieces. However, I quickly discovered that I’m not a jewellery designer (as cool as it would be to be one) and there’s a reason people go onto further education to study this intricate skill. I’m thankful now that I can maintain creative control over my designs however can rely on skilled designers to capture this for me!
Do you have any advice for aspiring jewellery designers?
There’s no better time than now to get started in the jewellery industry. With so many mid to high range jewellery brands finding their feet and expanding their territory, many are on the search for keen and hard-working jewellery designers to join their teams.
Reach out and pitch your unique selling point, highlighting what you could offer to a brand. Alternatively, if being the boss of your own brand is more suited to you, once you’ve established your desired brand identity, take time to build a great working relationship with a manufacture. It is always important to have trust in your manufacturer to deliver exactly what you’ve asked for especially after investing so much of your time and money into something you love!
What are your plans for the brand this year?
This year I want to continue to grow the brand’s collections to represent more countries around the world whilst also connecting with the wider community. I will be hiring more staff to support the growth of the business and collaborating with others to grow the brand identity.
More importantly we want to decrease our carbon footprint and ensure our business is friendlier to the environment!
Thank you so much for sharing the journey of ELXNAY. Checkout this unique jewellery at elxnay.com and get 20% off your purchase with promo code: BOB20