274: How Charis Jones Crossed the $2 Million Mark With Sassy Jones Boutique (Rewind)

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274: How Charis Jones Crossed the $2 Million Mark With Sassy Jones Boutique (Rewind)

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In today’s rewind episode we have Charis Jones, owner of Sassy Jones Boutique.

Sassy Jones is an award-winning accessory brand that specializes in exquisite pieces for the ‘sassy sophisticated girl on the go. Sassy Jones has both a brick-and-mortar store located in Richmond, Virginia and an online store and thousands of customers all over the world tune in weekly every Wednesday night to shop during their “Sparkle parties.”

If you have an e-commerce business and are experiencing stagnant growth, this is the episode for you!

On today’s episode, we talk about:

  • How Charis was first called to side hustling and entrepreneurship after she kept getting laid off
  • How she uses her background as a top-ranking sales professional in major corporations to inform her sales and customer service strategy
  • How being a Mom of 4-year old twin boys kicked her hustle into overdrive
  • Her approach to paid marketing that helped her business grow from $365K in revenue to $2.6M the next year
  • Her fun differentiation techniques including weekly virtual Sparkle parties online which bring in huge sales days and happy customers

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Guest Social Media Info

Side Hustle Pro – @sidehustlepro

Sassy Jones – @shopsassyjones 

Charis N Jones – @charisnjones  

Side Hustle Pro – @sidehustlepro

#SideHustlePro

Charis Jones 0:03

Get in front of your brand and not behind it. Be bold and brave enough to get on live stream to answer some questions. Talk about how you were inspired and why you started your brand.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:13

You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host, Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started

let's get right into it. Give us a peek into the life of Charis. For those who don't know you and want to hear who you are, in your own words, who is Charis Jones, when was she bitten by the entrepreneurship bug?

Charis Jones 0:52

Thank you. Well, Charis Jones is actually a wife of this upcoming October will be nine years. I am a twin mother a four year old boys and they are named excellent Julian and they are my everything but they also real crazy. The household is always lit. And I am a savvy entrepreneur. I own a company called sassy Jones. Sassy Jones is an award winning accessory brand that sells confidence. And the entrepreneur bug me when I continually kept being fired back in my corporate gig like I was fired from three hophead like, really, really good jobs. Yes, that's how I got pushed out. Because you know, sometimes they'll be like, God will just push you off the edge of the mountain if you won't soar if you won't jump right. But in the truth is if I was not fired, I would still be at those those jobs because they paid so well. And I didn't know what it meant. I just I kept associating that with inadequacy. I did not know until the last time that it happened. Like this is a pattern. You want to do things your own way. You need to go make your own rules, you know, so instead of trying to fit in a box, you need to get out of it and step on it. So I started my brand. I was like, Okay, I love fashion. I wanted a small barrier to entry. So I was like, Okay, let's do accessories. I started a website didn't make any money, maybe $25 a day. I was like, I definitely cannot leave my good job off of this.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 2:36

Like, we've all been there like, alright, this is cute, but how is this gonna add up?

Charis Jones 2:43

You know, because it's so sexy. The word entrepreneur like this is cute. But this is not sustainable. And at the time, I didn't have kids. So I decided to get in front of some people because I knew what I was was a salesperson. And I set up at a trade show didn't have any idea what it was gonna be like, had no idea if I was going to make my $800 back, but I hadn't bet had invested in it. And it was the best day ever. It was the absolute best day ever.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:09

What happened?

Charis Jones 3:10

Oh my gosh, I was so afraid of showing up. Because of all the other competitors. There was Tracy Lynn, there's paparazzi there's all these other well named jewelry brands. Why would they come and buy from Little old me. So that was a first self defeating message I taught myself. The second thing was like, I don't even know if I'm going to make my money back. But I'm going to just give it my best shot. So there was so much fear associated with that day. But let me tell you what happened. So we get there. And I have all these women around who are loving the pieces, but they're not purchasing because they're saying, I don't think I have the confidence or what it takes to pull that kind of jewelry off. I just really girl Yes, yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:52

Because you make bold, vibrant pieces. And so I didn't realize people could be intimidated by them.

Charis Jones 3:59

I spent my career and I think that's our success, how we teach. I spent so much time teaching and counseling that you are worth this and that you can take your child out of the cabinet. That's why sassy Jones is successful not because of our what is because of our how. So I went that day. I transform women and I handed them the mirror and we yoked him up and spark with them up and we all got gathered around them like go you got this you can do this. And so them confidence and how they looked in the mirror so differently at themselves. I became addicted to that light. So addicted. I was like, this is the best thing ever. I'm enjoying this. They're enjoying it. It's tramps, it's a you know, transforming lives in such a small way at the time. And then also, I was concerned about my investment, my $100 investment. I looked at the sales at the end of the day I was like well, this is my money that I made in one day, making my corporate gig Wow. Yes in a whole month.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 4:57

So trade show. Yes, I I need to remember the name of that tradeshow?

Charis Jones 5:02

Yes, it was a transformation Expo. Oh my gosh, I didn't even associate the name. Yeah, transformation Expo.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:14

So, you, you know, it's funny, you mentioned that you had no plans to leave your good paying job now kept getting pushed out. So what was that career path? And was there anything about it that the skills from that translated into helping you grow and launch sexy Jones boutique?

Charis Jones 5:31

Oh, yeah, everything from it. So the career path was sales, I was a saleswoman. I've sold everything from banking products, to insurance, to food to restaurants. And so the transferable skill, there was a Bank of America, I learned customer service, they have an unwavering dedication to customer service. So that is where I learned my backbone that the company has today. And then also the soft skills and the relatable skills that it requires to sell someone something you have to understand their need, and be able to cater to their need, and speak their language better than anyone else in your industry. And so those two things I learned and they definitely serve as well today.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 6:11

Now, you know, one thing about your online boutique, and it's a physical boutique, as well as online right? Now, I've never seen pieces like this. I think there's just so creative, like you said, so vibrant, and I always wonder how do you find these pieces?

Charis Jones 6:28

Oh, my gosh, all your secret juice away.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 6:31

But I know. Yeah, I just need a story. Yes. Tell us.

Charis Jones 6:35

Okay, so I love that you asked me that. So in the beginning, how I found them was Etsy. I work with independent designers to find myself because I knew I was I wasn't like doing the numbers that I was doing that I'm doing today. So I could like buy five pieces here, five pieces there and then get them from a lady who made leather earrings and Colorado, or you know, some Chinese shop that I found online or something like that. Right, right. And then so what happened in August of last year, I was operating like any other boutique, who sourced from wholesalers, because that's what boutiques do. They carry lines. And so I was frustrated by a customer because she thought that she found a supplier. And what she did was proceeded we have a VIP customer group. It's called Secret Society, she proceeded to share this information with all of my VIP customers. We I'm confused. What do you mean? No, you're not confused at all. Exactly. Exactly. Nicola, exactly what I say. Yeah, yep. So she emailed me, she said, I think I found this, this and this, this is so much cheaper, I could just buy here. And she didn't get the response she was looking for I told her to go right ahead. Because what I do know, is the connection that our brand has with our customers, your devilish behavior will not stand up, not a day. So she inbox about 260 people out of our VIP group. All of them in this, this tirade went on for 45 days, almost two months. And I was even outside of the group. And there were Facebook friends, I guess you went down on my friend list and was like, Who is this woman and why she's sending me this information, and yada yada, yada, right? And so that could have played out 1000 different ways I could have got petty with her, I could have done this, this and this, we ended up sending a cease and desist. But after the dust was settled, I became frustrated because she thought she had something. And that pushed me to start designing. And I said, and also I became frustrated that I could no longer find in the marketplace, things that I wanted to sell. So I just started to create them. So all the necklaces and the handbags and all the things that our customers love, as of August last year, comes out of my crazy brain and I cannot draw. I did not attend fit. I attended Hampton University and dropped out my junior year. And it's just me translating and saying, Hey, I think lava beads would look really cool in 80 Different colors on six layers of chain, you know. So that's how we get to the product that we have today. It thank God that happened. Because we are in Macy's and January will be on HSN from that decision.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 9:25

Wow. That is amazing. I did not realize that. I love that. So then is it a matter of you had to source the actual manufacturers to do your ideas. Okay. And then how did you go about that? Was that like a process of searching Alibaba or? I don't know where you find. Yeah. And make your designs?

Charis Jones 9:44

Yes. Yeah. So it was is actually a combination of two things. I went to magic in Vegas. And I went to the typical boutique owners go to source like clothes, or whatever it is that they sell from makers, but I wanted to go to the actual sourcing floor where they make fabrics and they Make the beads and they have all those selections. So that was the first thing. And then the second one was yes, Alibaba, I test I went to Alibaba and scoured so many different factories and had people on the ground in China attending these factories to make sure that they are up to par that they can deliver and that their quality is good. And we just and I went through a few of them, like the one that I started with definitely not the factories that I'm using today to manufacture.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 10:29

So let's talk about the fact that you didn't hate your job. So that's something I want to emphasize here. Because I think a lot of times when you hear the word side hustling, or on the show, we're all surprised some of us are scaling to be full time businesses. And that doesn't necessarily mean that you dislike your job. But what made you want this creative outlet of particularly an accessories boutique, you could have done anything in the world.

Charis Jones 10:54

But I know, I know. You're right, I did not hate my job at all. In fact, I loved it. And I love selling to people, I just hated that I couldn't make my own decisions. That was the only problem. But in terms of the accessories, I had always been like very fashionable since a child I watched my grandmother dress herself. And she dressed me in the biggest ruffle socks. And we attended the Pentecostal church and my my legs were kicking off of the pew in like the best Easter dress. And you know, like, it was just a part of my blood. And the women in my family too. We are we'd love to show up well. But also, I didn't have a lot of money. When I started my business, I sold a car, I sold a Mercedes that I had paid off to buy my first round of inventory. And from that money, I had to make it stretch. I knew I couldn't buy a whole lot of clothing, and all these different sizes. So to me accessories were smarter because a it's one size fits all. I don't have to worry about sizes and plus size versus the size zero. And B, it literally is the icing on the cake for any outfit. You're always looking for accessories, no matter what you what you have on so the clothes are good. But is that I see that really makes a difference between how one woman walks in the next.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 12:09

That is so smart. I've never thought of accessories in that in that sense. And yeah, worried about sizes and having to figure that out is a pain I just, you know, placed a new T shirt order after I like gave up the E commerce business. But I was just like, Okay, I gotta do this. And I was like, Man, this? I don't know, I don't know who needs what size a lot.

Charis Jones 12:31

How are you supposed to know those things? No, everybody can fit this one necklace though. Everybody can

Nicaila Matthews Okome 12:37

everybody can. Now, you are so fabulous when it comes to marketing. So we have to spend some time on this. Because when it comes to standing out online, it is not an easy feat. I love your approach to getting people comfortable with buying from you. You know, if you come across sassy John's boutique on Instagram, you might say, Oh, that's cute. But am I going to give my money to someone? I don't know yet. You know, it might take you a while to make that decision. So tell us about how you decided to differentiate and what how you do differentiate yourself, you know, the sparkle parties included?

Charis Jones 13:16

It's something it's a tool that I use called relationship marketing. And pretty much what that is it is the sales decision for the long haul versus a sales decision for today. So if you're thinking about being in line at food line or your local grocery store, like that's not that's not a long term relationship, yes, you will come back there. But those people don't help you go down the aisle and pick out your groceries. And those people don't tell you, Oh my God, this seasoning what really tastes a lot better than the season you've been using on your chicken, right? We don't have relationships with them. But the marketing funnel improves when you have relationships with people. So that's what we focus on. And we can start with our language. We talk to the pain point of our customers. For example, if you look at the product descriptions on our website, they're unlike any other product descriptions, we're talking to you where you are. You think we're your friend's girlfriend his necklace was sparkle gorgeously under restaurant lighting, when you get that first date we thought you'd never call right. So like, that's the language that we use in versus salesy, right. And then the other thing is we'd speak to their pain point. Like we have the most of our customers our size 16th 18th and up right. And so they face not being able to put their arms through bangles they face necklaces, not laying right. So in our things, we meet them where they are, hey, industry standard chains are three inches. We have six inch extenders, we do bangle stacks that are seven and eight inches verse industry standard of six, you know, so like different things like that. And then you have Yes, the marketing. So we deepen the relationship in a few ways. We have internal customers and external customers, our external customers is everyone on social media. You come to the sparkle party that we invented, if you don't know what that is, it is our weekly Hsn. And when I say it is on another level, other than anything that you've ever seen before, I can guarantee it. So there is live music, there is that we have celebrities from time to time, like Real Housewives, they come through, it is a whole thing. And all it is, is me teaching you how to style our new arrivals. But there's 1000s of viewers, there's giveaways. And they're Cerise, who was so much fun. And you have a relationship with her because she made you laugh. So the next time you're in the market for jewelry, that's going to be top of mind. Right, and then the internal customer so we have a rewards program. And which is another reason they love to shop because girl they live and die by these rewards. When your brand if you don't have a loyalty rewards program. Make sure that because a lot of us do but make sure that you are teaching your consumer the importance of it and what it can get them. It's a with them what's in it for me. So with a rewards program, the more you shop, you can earn your way up into this god place called Secret Society. It's a heaven for sassy Jones. It's a Facebook group in that Facebook group. Relationships Foster, like nothing else that I've seen so much. So there are hundreds of us that live all across the world. Yes, because it's an international brand. But when I use is traveling through Texas for work, she remembers that we're Chinda lives there and messages her never met her Tinder. But they know that they're sassy sisters because of the relationship that we foster in that group and they connect at the train station. And that happens if not daily, weekly. They are linking up they vacation together even outside of me. So the impact that we've made in that group is just it flow. It really floors me. I mean it's it's I can't even explain it. It's a legit sorority sisterhood. And it's also the events that we do. Each each pod where they are geographically have meetups and then the corporate wide we host meetups for them and only they can come. So for example in June, we had anniversary weekend they flew in from everywhere. And yes, we have a brick and mortar boutique, but they got to shop our warehouse where our employees work our corporate office and no one gets to come there and set employees can you imagine how special they felt?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 17:40

I have never heard anything like this and it is your warehouse in the same is that also in Richmond, Virginia where the boutique Okay.

Charis Jones 17:49

Yep, it's seven minutes from the boutique. Seven minutes from there and we had a pajama party. And the next day we chartered buses on our way to Charlottesville and took them to Kings family vineyard, which is the best winery in Charlottesville and greeted them with hot pink tents. And we serve them much and they had all of the Moscato and Rosae that they wanted all day. And they dressed up in their big hats with their sassy Jones jewelry on and had an experience while we watched Polo. So that is the kind of thing and Sharif's was there on their level sitting with them Indian style barefoot. So that is the kind of customer experience that we give and we have the hearts of these women. And in December we're going on a cruise Yeah, we're we're going on a cruise and it only the VIPs can come on the cruise. However, we are sponsoring a spa day at the Atlantis and Bahamas for them. We are paying for that. So I mean your boutique whoever you're shopping with you know that's cute you know Instagram likes are cute, but But what we do we transform lives

Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:58

and see we have to break this down because not only are you transforming the lives of your customers, but you have a standard as an online boutique and that's why I wanted to bring you on here because as someone who should I shop on Instagram right but as someone who shops on Instagram I see the difference between people who are really just only thinking Instagram like Oh um I sell a lot here when people see the pictures and people who are thinking bigger picture brand, sir yeah, let's talk about this. So first things first I want to know when you first set out to do this, this There's levels to this so you couldn't have possibly at that moment in time imagine all that it will become what helped you get from point A I want to start an accessories boutique. This will be fun, too. I now want to take my VIPs on a cruise

Charis Jones 19:48

girl two things Audacity. And actually might be just one thing not fearing to fail because that's Audacity. So I think what what holds a lot of us back are is like the discovery phase and coming up with ideas and always worrying about how, but I know that this is a flaw as well. I never worried about how I set the goal. I'll figure that out later. And with the with the trips and the anniversary weekend and all of that. It's really from me wanting to share an experience with the people who do business with me. That's it. That that's, that's really the only place that it comes from. And in that, yes, it's expensive. Yes, it costs money. But I also have a marketing brain where I can maybe sell a package and they need to buy that package and built in with that package is the cost for this other thing that we need financed. So it's like not getting so caught up and oh my god, I don't have the resources. Girl Money, money grows on trees, all you got to do is build a ladder. That's it.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 21:02

Speaking of money, I've heard you say that you made money, you know, as soon as you started, but you weren't necessarily profitable. Even though you were working tirelessly. How did you finally get your business to be profitable?

Charis Jones 21:14

Oh, girl, we did not turn a profit until last year. And

Nicaila Matthews Okome 21:19

how many years into the business was that? Five, five, okay.

Charis Jones 21:23

Yeah, you're five. And it's because we grew so fast in that growth, you have to finance that growth. So like, for when you're stagnant, you can predict your expenses from month to month. But when you're growing month over month, over month over month, and like your your inventory bills are just exceeding exceeding, you can't keep inventories going, going going. It's difficult, right? It's like our it's already a hamster wheel. But how we became profitable is by utilizing a system called Profit First, there is a book by an author called Mike McCalla wits. And I heard him speak at a conference. tsp actually.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 21:58

And icsb stands for not everyone knows

Charis Jones 22:01

that traffic sales and profit. Right? Right. But Lamar Tyler by Lamar Tyler Yes, in Atlanta. So if you have not gone to your entrepreneur, I don't care what kind of entrepreneur you are, you need to go. And my first time going, I heard this man speak. And I remember being so angry. So angry that I cried right there in the conference, because he was the answer to what I was looking for in terms of I wasn't paying myself regularly. I wasn't saving anything in the business. I didn't have enough resources at that time when I heard him speak. That was just two years ago, oh my God, I didn't have any employees. It was just me. I was a solopreneur. Frustrated. And since hearing him speak and implementing his words, as well as coaching, through Lamar Tyler, we have what 16 employees right around here now. So it is, it's it's just crazy. But you just have to follow the discipline, follow

Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:57

the discipline. I love that. And then also you ramped it up with your advertising. And what you were invested into that. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because that's a scary process to say, I'm going to spend $1,000 on Facebook ads, when we've got $1,000 for inventory. How did you become How did you start that process? How did you become comfortable with it?

Charis Jones 23:19

Girl, this is where relationships come in handy. So make sure that you're surrounding yourself with good girlfriends, ladies and or gentlemen like with guys who are about something who are speaking wisdom into your life. Because here's what happened, I had the desire to ramp up the business, and do Facebook ads and paid marketing. But only because I knew that I had brought the business as far as I can bring it. I've done it all. I've maxed it out. I've needed another helping hand. So I looked into paid advertising and I found an agency. It was scary because this agency charged a fee on top of the daily money that he wanted you to put in Facebook. And at that time, it was $100 a day. And that was like crazy. What this is, and you want to be on top of your you crazy, please. So what I did was is I asked my girlfriend, a business bestie who had used him previously. And I sat down with her and her husband I said look this I'm like the show me state you had to show me. Y'all want me to spend this money he want he trying to get this money. Tell me if it worked for you or not. And having those relationships with the business community to be able to bounce ideas off of people and get you know, information back. And she told me she says to raise It'll change your life. I say what, what I don't have the money. She said, save the money some kind of way. Don't worry about how you can pay for it next month. Just save it for a month. Don't worry about the rest and I promise it'll return a profit and it So now I'm so addicted that we spend like $1,000 a day on Facebook.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:06

It's like it's like, yeah, my heart flutter that made my heart flutter. Where would you recommend a new boutique owner starting?

Charis Jones 25:14

You need to go live? You need to go live because what the difference that's going to separate you from the next boutique brand is the imagery. Sure, yes, you need to appear professional, do your best to have professional photo shoots and things like that not cell phone pictures, you know, you need a good mix of video, you need to be doing IG TV every day, you need to be posting a minimum of four times a day, always being out there. But what really is going to make the difference is your relationship with your consumers. And so if you're frustrated about because you're doing all this posting, and you might make a sale here and there, if you really want to convert, get in front of your brand and not behind it. Be bold and brave enough to get on live stream to answer some questions. Talk about how you were inspired and why you started your brand. But you know how many women out there will resonate with your story because they want to start a business to you know, and show yourself on their level and likeable and that trustworthy. You just need to be trustworthy. And don't be afraid to allow people to get to know you.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 26:24

Hey, guys, it's Michaela here with a quick word from our sponsors. This episode is sponsored by Skillshare. The Online Learning Communities offering sigh hustle pro listeners a free trial of premium membership. Now, many of you already know that one of my biggest side hustle Hacks is Skillshare. I've been using Skillshare. For years now you've heard me talk about it. That's because it's the truth. There are so many excellent classes on Skillshare on topics such as freelance and entrepreneurship, marketing, video websites, basically everything you need for your side, hustle, and more. So my most recent class on Skillshare is this class called YouTube success, script, shoot and edit with MKBHD. And I find it helpful because it got me through every stage of creating engaging content, and then went into techniques for how to grow my YouTube channel. And it was taught by a youtuber with over 13 million downloads. So I think he knows what he's talking about. So Skillshare is where I go when I want to explore new skills. When I want to brush up on my old skills. When I want to develop new techniques, I go to Skillshare and Skillshare has classes for every skill level. So you can take short lessons, you can squeeze it into your day, it's very easy. Plus, they also have a hands on projects and make sure that you practice and reinforce what you learn. So you've heard me rave about it. And now it's time to explore your creativity@skillshare.com slash hustle site has brought listeners you'll get one month free trial of premium membership@skillshare.com slash hustle. Again, one more time, that is one month of premium membership@skillshare.com slash hustle. So guys, picture your business on TV next year customers favorite shows, I used to think that this wasn't an option. But I just found out about a really effective tool that is affordable and accessible to side hustlers at all levels. It's called the spectrum reach at portal. It is a self service tool. And it is so user friendly, especially if you're already using digital and social media ads. If you can put up an ad on social media, you can use this portal, your first step is to visit go to that spectrum reach.com/hustle Pro, and that's go and the number two, then, once you register and login to the spectrum, reach add portal, you can start building your TV campaign right away. You can select your goal and refine your geography so that you're only marketing to the areas where your customers are. Plus, you define your budget, I've always thought that he was going to be really expensive. And I know that some of you might be thinking the same thing too. But with the spectrum reach app portal, you are able to see suggestions of budget and then determine a budget that works for your business. There's also a customer success team available right in the portal to help you if you come across any questions and you can even connect with a local expert. So in some you guys, Spectrum reach has made TV advertising super simple and affordable. Do not miss out on this opportunity visit go to that spectrum reach.com/hustle Pro to start building your TV campaign online. Oh, and you might be saying, Mikayla, how am I going to create a commercial? Listen, our friends at spectrum reach have already thought about that. As a special offer for side hustle pro listeners. Spectrum reach is offering production of a free 32nd video for your business. Spektrum has a partnership with waymark that spelled w a y ma RK where you can create beautiful professional top tier commercials using templates, and your own logo and creative. Just go to waymark.com/spectrum Reach and enter code hustle Pro. Again, that's waymark.com/spectrum reach to use offer code hustle pro at checkout to clean production have a free 32nd video, just click the coupon link at the top right and it's 100%. Free. And guys, I'll have links to both the spectrum reach add portal, and we mark in the show notes for you. So enjoy. What about when you don't feel camera ready? Do you still force yourself

Charis Jones 30:47

every day, every day, my personal goal is to go live every single day. And I'm not always camera ready, like as hard as it is to believe. But a part of my personal brand is to make sure that I am always showing up. So for me, because I am the owner of this business. When you look at me walking down a sidewalk and I say I own sassy Jones, you need to look at me and it's believable. So if you are a boutique owner, there should not be a day where you don't appear believable. Therefore, it's easier for you to be camera ready to go live every day or whatever it is that you plan on doing. But you need to be stay showing up. Because you have to visually look

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:28

like your brain. And you know I kind of I've been following you for a while even though we weren't in touch it and I I don't know the exact moment. But I feel like there was a point when it went from Oh, okay, I want to you know, shop from them one day, this looks like a really cool boutique with awesome items to like, Whoa, this is like a real legit enterprise going on over there. So you start, you really started investing in the brand. And now you were talking about a multimillion dollar business. Can you talk to us about what that shift looked like for how you work in the business? Your hours how you hire, how did that change everything?

Charis Jones 32:10

Oh my goodness. So it's still a grind. The grind is never ever over? It just changes. It evolves, right. So in the beginning, when I hired my first employee, I could barely pay them. Like I didn't even know if I would be able to sustain an employee. But what all I did know is that if I could get someone else in to help me, I could walk off and do more income generating activities. So my first piece of advice is to build a team. I know that you cannot afford it. I know I know. But if you can afford the wind, then you can free yourself up to go have more meetings booked those different clients see more people is that if y'all haven't read 10x by Grant Cardone, you have to read it, that will free you up from doing the grunt work to go doing the high level work, right. So that was the first thing for me, once I built the team, it just started to triple. And then I could walk away and fisheries could go learn about more marketing strategies, attend more conferences, meet more business owners that have been through it and taught me 50 different ways that I could avoid this one costly mistake, you know. And so now, we just tripled it, like a year over a year. I think that first year where I hired my first employee, we My goal was to do 200,000 in revenue that year we ended up doing was a 365k that year. And then the very next year, which was last year, we landed at 2.6 5 million, and like the team grew so crazy. And it is all because I continue to ascend to that CEO role. And as hard as it is trust. And I just made a shift last week, it's so difficult to pull yourself out of the day to day and put other people in charge of that. But if you can, if you can manage that fine science, you are going to be so successful, because you're empowering other people to lead. That's the greater good, but then you're focusing on only what a CEO should focus on, which is generating revenue. And if you're not doing that, you're doing something wrong.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:12

Now we have to we have to run those numbers back one more time because they are just so awesome and inspirational. So you said you went from 365k in revenue one. What was that your third year in business around? Yep. Two and the next year was what?

Charis Jones 34:28

2.6 5 million? Oh my gosh. And that's unassisted. We don't have an investor. I don't have a bank loan or funding, or I've never even entered a pitch competition. But that is just all from organic.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:47

Plus with the investment in like how many how much would you say you invested in Facebook or paid marketing by by year for

Charis Jones 34:53

paid marketing overall year four, we were at about 500 a day. Okay.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:58

So and The one takeaway that I do want to emphasize here is not all paid marketing is the same. I like the fact that you you weren't, you went with someone who was recommended who had proven results, because I could go and throw $500 into a whole bunch of bad ad sets, and not yield the same results. So it's important that you are learning from people who know how to do it, or going ahead and hiring the people who know how to do it, again, have proven results in your niche and know what they're doing. So yeah, let's make that clarification. Now, as you were doing all of this. One thing you pointed out to me is that you are also the mom of four year old twins. I am and that that sounds quite hectic. So how did that change your approach to sassy Jones when you were first starting out once you realized you were pregnant?

Charis Jones 35:54

Well, the conundrum here is that I didn't start to take sassy Jones seriously until the kids came. So if you're thinking about starting a business, it's not an excuse. But it is a lot easier to start the business when you do not have children. Me and my crazy self, I started small and I did that first trade show before I became pregnant. And then there was like a low. And I was like, I'm gonna leave my job. So I created this exit strategy, which looks like me doing three different trade shows a month, all over the world. Like I booked myself in Chicago, New York, in Orlando in the 30 day period for a whole year. And so I was going to do that as I was going to leave my job, but I got pregnant with the boys. And for a moment I was like, I can't leave because I need my my coin and this assurance. But I got over it and kept pushing. So when the boys were like four or five months old, we were in the minivan. And we were going to these different trade shows. And Mama was setting up this pop up shop to sell her jewelry. And so to me, raising my business and raising the kids, it's the hardest thing you could ever do. And I did them both at the same time. But I have to attribute it to a village. You cannot do this kind of scaling without some kind of assistance at home like my grandma. My husband's mother is amazing. My husband, and his sacrificing self is so amazing. He joined the company in January full time. And it's just you need a good village.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 37:28

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. And that scale. I mean, I'm still stuck on these numbers. sharees. Like, you kept talking, but I've still been like because one more thing I want to know is okay. Yes, you are scaling your your marketing. But then also that means you were really ramping up inventory. And how did you manage that process crazy,

Charis Jones 37:54

I still don't even have to manage all the way like I want. It is a lot, it's pretty much the equivalent of baking, you have like, so many marbles in a jar, but you really don't. Because the jar got bigger, and the malls marble started to look smaller. That's the only thing that I could say about that. So like, like tangibly, what we do is we know our sell through rate each month. And so we know how much of one thing when we get a new arrival between secret society because they get all the new stuff first. And when it hits what we call GP general population, everyone else. We know how much of what we have to have, and so on first run new arrivals, we ordered way, large way, way, way, right. And then on a restock, we could order probably about 50% of that one item. But then our inventory changes often, which is another great part about our secret sauce, we introduce new items weekly. So that's also a lot to keep up with. But what I do is I'll just design it all placed in one big book order, but I will leak it at different phases. And then when I know that we're getting down to a certain level of quantity, then we'll just re up. Because now when you're designing the lead time is so greater, you can't just order stuff. And then it'd be here in two weeks. Like it's like months. So you just have to learn how to work in advance as well. And that requires a lot of cash upfront. And so

Nicaila Matthews Okome 39:25

as you you know, you're making more you're putting a lot more investment into the business.

Charis Jones 39:30

Mm hmm.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 39:31

It's going back in now with the secret society is this I know they they you enter to the secret society when you've had a certain level of purchases, but is there also a membership fee for that?

Charis Jones 39:43

No, it's free. Okay. Yeah, there's no fee. Pretty much what it is, is when you get there, you're welcomed and we have your pictures and everyone sees you because you have to send us your picture. So we welcome you. Everyone in the group makes a big deal about you. So big thing when you come in, and then there's a welcome video, and then you get it. And you see all of all of these women with all of this confidence, wearing their things in ways that you've not seen. And then she sees you and she's speaking to you. And you're getting all of a sudden, you've just made these friends and they're inviting you to places. It's like a crazy kind of nice that you've never experienced. Most of these women haven't experienced this level of kindness. But it's the relationship that we foster. And then, you know, and I'll come in most days either live or trying to respond to every single one of them. And another thing is the engagement. I am in there. It's not just a group that I've managed. If I can't get in there one day, it's rare. And respond to each of their questions that Oh, my God, girl, you look gorgeous today. I love how you stop that. Yeah, yeah. And you don't know what women are dealing with that stuff goes a long way. That's the stuff we don't hear every day in our lives, you know? And so that that's what that place is for us.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:55

It really does go such a long way. I love it. Like I like I said, I've never heard of anything like this because it doesn't exist, like you said, and it's just beautiful.

The other part of the inventory piece is the shipping. So did you decide to outsource? If not, how do you manage shipping and still keeping the level of personalization that you'd like to have?

Charis Jones 41:21

We actually consider outsourcing and I was in talks with a with a warehouse. But it was a non negotiable because they could not write handwritten notes, because they are so robotic. And everything is just so scientific, that we have a lot of heart involved with our shipping process. So our shipping today is actually still in house. Right now we have six shippers, we're hiring for two more ramping up for the holiday season. And we handle anywhere from about 150 to 200 orders a day. But we have it down to a science. So the way that our warehouse is set up. Everything is sectioned off. Everything has titles on it. So there's no confusion. We have a system with the packer and a puller. And it's I mean, it's in terms of the personalization. Every single customer has a personalized handwritten note, and each note is different. So we're looking at what you ordered and where you live. And we'll say, hey, Carla, don't forget to slay Atlanta this weekend with your new pearl necklace. Remember, the brochures are removable. Don't forget to put them on a jean jacket. And so those are the kinds of notes that we write in pink ink. And if you don't get a note, like our customers are emailing us pice someone's in trouble.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 42:38

You haven't done to us science love it. And then how do you keep up with the pace of creating content? Because you create a ton of content, you put yourself out there and allow people to have access to you daily? How do you keep up with that?

Charis Jones 42:54

By doing it daily. So it's content is my job. So I'm creating it, I've created a habit to create it every single day. So if I'm in the car, and I'm at a stoplight, I'm maximizing that time, I'm going to talk to the camera and just save it on my phone, you never know when I need that video. Or if I'm looking extra cute on one day, when I'm walking down the sidewalk. I'm just gonna turn the phone on and just save it in my Dropbox, we have a swipe file and upload it. And you know what, when that necklace restarts, but I do somebody uses video. So we are in the team is accustomed to that as well. They are all collecting content from our operations manager recording herself, or one of her employees writing a note and then we put that on social media, like that kind of stuff. We're all just in the mindset of always gathering. But people think that you have to get into certain mind space or physical space to create content, growth, just whip yourself out and just talk to it. That's content.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 43:50

You're speaking to me right now because that's something that I've started out always knowing but then slowly along the way, the it's so easy to be hypercritical of your appearance or you know, Oh, this isn't good. And instead of just documenting just dot just daily getting out there and sharing. So thank you for that reminder.

Charis Jones 44:09

And speaking You're welcome.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 44:11

Oh yeah, of course. Thank you. And speaking of all this because you are I know are given so many tips to boutique owners or just any online e commerce brands who are wondering how to stand out how to differentiate themselves. If you could kind of sum it up in some overall advice specifically for these kinds of businesses. What would you share with them so that they can be operating on a level beyond just an Instagram boutique that does you know, a few sales daily or an Instagram boutique that might do multiple, maybe even 100 sales but they like you said are where you were where you were a solopreneur doing it all yourself thinking you can't afford to take it to that next level.

So it stems

Charis Jones 44:59

from One thing, and it's my favorite quote in the world, that you have to take yourself seriously, and other people will take you seriously. Because growth is a mindset. That's all it is. It's not a lack of resources. It's just purely a mindset. So if you are determined, and you can see yourself managing the success, because managing success is hard to staining, it is even harder. If you can see yourself doing those things. And all of a sudden, you've taken yourself seriously. And all of a sudden, you've invested in certain coaching programs, that you've been sad i because you want to get all this free content from all these coaches. But then you wonder why you're not getting results. All of a sudden, you're you see your business worth the investment. So you work your your side hustle, or your regular job, and save enough money to try the Facebook ads, or whatever it is you want to try for 30 days, but I'm not okay with subscribing to oh, I don't have it. So I'm just gonna sit on the sideline. Okay, well, if you don't have it, that Ma'am, is a decision. And when you make the decision to show up differently, then things will change. But until then, you can manage right where you are. Because after all, you can't fall off the ground. You can't you're managing that despite. So when you're when you're ready to ascend, then then do so and do it. Well show up well.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 46:23

Oh, you can't fall off the ground. You guys, I don't know about you, but you are smashing me up all the way. All the way up. It is a place that and I'll talk about this on my next entrepreneur diaries, guys, but it is a place. It's a fine line that I'm currently struck. I'm not only struggling, but it is that I have to take myself seriously now and I have to let go. Truly let go. I've said this before. And now you know, started doing it then kind of inch back into doing it myself again. But I have to let go. Because I can't I know the ground.

Charis Jones 46:54

I know, baby. I know. I know. I know. It's hard. I just recently last Tuesday was like sobbing over something that I have let go of. And you all didn't really know me as the face of the brand. And if you can imagine this thing that I have birthed and scaled and been the face of and the spokesperson of and then we all made a decision just because I was just getting so worn out of doing all of these things, that taking these pictures was not an income generating activity. Anyone can do that. And so I decided to get models and let them do it. But if you're on the website, you see sharees everywhere. That to me felt like a death. And it was very hard a letting the models do that. Because I'm worried about oh my god, what if they don't sell the jury well enough? What if they they don't convert and convey on camera? What if that affects our sales, right? And then be not even being present at this big deal, this photoshoot and letting your team run it. And you're not there to direct and guide. They're just supposed to bring this project back to you that supposed to make you hundreds of 1000s of dollars. Like what? And so that day I was home with like nothing to do because I'm so used to doing doing doing. But it was a it was a cause for celebration because I recognize that grow. You built it up to the point where you can be at home on this couch. Why don't you enjoy it? You know, and it's hard. I get this you gotta you gotta step back.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 48:27

Right? I appreciate that truth moment, because that, you know, we need to hear that. And also, it's a reminder, someone asked me the other day, do you ever take breaks? And I admitted that I do. But they're never guilt free breaks. I have not figured out how to take a break without feeling guilty yet, have you?

Charis Jones 48:46

Not until recently, and it's gonna probably take you to go through some burnout if you haven't already. To be able to appreciate the silence.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 48:56

Okay. Well, I'm looking for Well, I'm not looking forward to the burnout. But I do need to get to that point of having Yeah, you got to

Charis Jones 49:03

be able to appreciate the good so it might it might just be but for me, that's what it looks like.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 49:09

All right. Now we're gonna get into the lightning round, you just answer the very first thing that comes to mind. You ready? Okay. All right. Number one, what is the first resource that you can think of that is really helped you in growing sassy Jones that you can share with a side hustle pro audience, Facebook, Facebook. Okay. Number two, what's been the best business book that you've read or live event that you've gone to this year? Oh, can

Charis Jones 49:38

I get to wait so yes. Okay. TSP is the best live event that I've been to this year. It's in June in Atlanta. Okay. And the best book that I just got finished reading is by Brene Brown and it is a thing it's a dare to lead their lead.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 49:55

Dare to lead love is what is a non negotiable part. Have your day.

Charis Jones 50:01

Oh, lashes

Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:06

I love it. I have been trying to put on a goal fun fact every day I try to put on a lash because I'm determined to get better. Number four, what is a personal habit that has helped you significantly in your business?

Charis Jones 50:22

Hmm? Oh, hot yoga.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:25

Oh

Charis Jones 50:26

yeah, hot yoga and working out. I recently hired a personal trainer. That helps my mental capacity so much. And Hatha Yoga is so good for detoxing your feelings and just resetting. It's a I can't say enough about it.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:42

Oh, alright. And final question. What is your parting advice for side hustlers, who want to scale their business and go full time but are worried about losing that steady paycheck?

Charis Jones 50:53

Hmm. Trust your gut. Trust your gut. If your gut saying stay at your job, stay at your job working side hustle. But if your gut is telling you that you can be a world changer and get out here and create some jobs. Yeah, it's gonna be easy. Yeah, I'm sorry. Yeah, it's gonna be difficult, very difficult. It's not going to be easy. But if your gut is telling you that you have what it takes, you should go see. All

Nicaila Matthews Okome 51:17

right, so where can people connect with you sharees and sassy Jones after the show.

Charis Jones 51:22

You can find us online at shop sassy jones.com. Or you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram at shop sassy Jones.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 51:30

Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us in the guest chair. And there you have it guys head over to side hustle pro.co/sassyJonesrewind for all of the show notes from this episode, including the links to everything Charis mentioned. Thanks so much for joining and I will talk to everyone next week. Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six foot Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro.CO/newsletter. When you sign up, You'll receive weekly nuggets from me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again, that sidehustlepro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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