[quote style=”boxed”]I don’t know if it’s a trend or more of a staple item, but personalized jewelry is never going to be gone because ‘sentimental’ will never go out of style.[/quote]
Michele Esposito is the founder of Not Just Any Old Day…It’s YOUR Special Day, a jewelry line that believes dates such as an anniversary or a child’s birthdate are the most precious memories and should be cherished and celebrated throughout our lives. After struggling to find a special gift to give to her fiancé to celebrate a personal milestone in his life, Michele recalled a calendar charm her Grandfather made into a necklace for her Grandmother to mark their wedding anniversary. She wanted to give a meaningful and unique gift like that to her fiancé, so she designed her own calendar charm. Michele then made herself a Calendar necklace. Friends and family wanted their birthday months made into Calendar necklaces too, and soon the original Calendar Datesake™ Jewelry and Gift Collection came to life. The line’s expertly crafted, unique, and one-of-a-kind pieces feature inscribed calendars that commemorate your own special date. Celebrities have been lining up to commemorate their special dates with Not Just Any Old Day including Courtney Cox, Kelly Preston, Ella Bleu Travolta, Morgan Fairchild, Vivica Fox, Scott and Renee Baio, Marilu Henner, Deidra Hall, and Vern Troyer. Antonio Sabato, Jr.’s new wife Cheryl Moana Sabato wrapped her Calendar Key Pendant around her bouquet at their September wedding, pioneering a stylish and unique new bridal trend.
Where did the idea for Not Just Any Old Day come from?
At the end of 2007, I sat at my computer and was searching the internet for hours hoping to find the perfect gift to commemorate a special date in the life of my fiancé, Steve. I was having a hard time finding exactly what I pictured in my mind his gift should look like. I recalled a calendar charm that my grandfather (who was a jeweler) had made into a necklace and gave to my grandmother to mark their 1st wedding anniversary. She wore it every day that I can remember, and it was probably the most special treasure in her jewelry collection.
Being as sentimental as I am, I wanted to find something similar that was meaningful and unique to give to the special man in my life. Everything I found online was so ordinary or not quite my taste. To solve my dilemma, I designed my own calendar charm, and had the first calendar piece made into a key ring for Steve. I loved it so much, that I had a calendar necklace made for myself with my own birthday marked on it. Every time I wore my necklace, strangers would stop and ask me about it and wanted to know where they could find one. A few of my friends asked if I could make their birthday months into a calendar necklace for them too. That was the beginning of my original Calendar Datesake™ Jewelry and Gift Collection.
What does your typical day look like?
I check emails and respond to them, check social media sites and respond as needed, fulfill orders, ship orders, respond to customer questions, etc. Typical stuff.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My mind works very mysteriously and sometimes, an idea just pops into my head. I research it right away and try to follow through before I think too much on it and change the idea a million times.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I don’t know if it’s a trend or more of a staple item, but personalized jewelry is never going to be gone because ‘sentimental’ will never go out of style.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit is posting daily to my Facebook account and using social media. I think it’s also important to have a passion for the products or service you sell. People hear it in your voice when you speak with them both on the phone and in person.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
When I was in high school I worked at Sears in the jewelry department. In hindsight, it was a great job for me because it was the beginning of fixing costume jewelry as well as putting on watch bands and installing watch batteries. It was where I learned to handle basic jewelry makers tools.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Research shopping carts myself rather than taking the word of my web designer. I would also be more inquisitive and ask more questions…believe me, I asked a lot of questions when starting my business, but I would/should have asked more!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
We have a deep commitment to customer service and our customers appreciate (and comment often) when we under promise and over deliver.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
A few years ago we hired a nationwide sales representative for placement of our products in retail. That helped grow our business significantly. After launching my business, I also was asked to participate in celebrity gifting suites which helped me by giving me credibility, especially when we were just beginning. As a result, we’ve developed a following with celebrity clients and our jewelry has been on a number of TV shows.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We ordered too much inventory of a certain product of ours that really was not market tested; just a good idea. We’re still sitting with this product in our inventory and need to align the inventory with the appropriate sales paths. I will get it out there because I love the product!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I wish I could help here, but I am looking for the next great idea too! Please send your best ideas to [email protected] :0)
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I have Crohn’s Disease. After several years on the sideline managing my disease, I was finally strong enough to begin this enterprise. I still would not be able to go to a ‘real job’ everyday as I’m just not that healthy. However, I’m working on it and am so grateful for flexibility.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
We use Hootsuite for social media which is a great time saver, UPS Worldship – a must for UPS shipping, Open Cart for our web site which could have a few more bells and whistles, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for our social media, and Quickbooks as our accounting software. We also use Authorize.net to keep our web site transactions secure.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There are tons of books on my shelf but who’s got time to read?
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Due to my disease, a woman online known as the Paleo-Nurse gave me a pathway to physically feeling better. I really wasn’t getting this information from all the doctors I had seen over the past 10 years which probably includes over 20 specialists. While there were pharmaceutical suggestions, she suggested improving my life through diet and today I’m gluten-free, mostly grain-free with rice occasionally, and don’t eat white or processed sugar. From a business stand point, I read HARO every day as well as Huffington Post and USA Today.
Not Just Any Old Day on Twitter: @njaod
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.