Let’s say you and your bestie have a great idea for a jewelry or floral brand, but you’re both a little freaked out about starting a company with someone you’re so close to. Lucky for you, in this week’s How to Quit Your Day Job series, we chat with BFFs and BaubleBar co-founders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky about how they started their thriving accessories brand. Before launching your own side hustle, run through these key tips for working successfully with a business partner, check out how other successful CEOs make it work every day, and conquer your fears and start that dream biz.
Meet the baublebar Pros: amy jain & daniella yacobovsky
BaubleBar co-founders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky met while working as investment bankers. Their high-demand finance jobs were majorly stressful, so they started going shoe shopping together as a way to unwind. After quitting their finance jobs, they attended Harvard Business School together (and continued to take those shopping trips). “We started talking about how we were the ideal customer for fashion jewelry, but we never actually purchased anything from the jewelry department. This began a whole conversation around our own purchasing patterns, and more importantly, how our needs weren’t being met,” says Jain. The duo wanted well-designed, on-trend jewelry at a good value, but realized that nothing in the industry was nailing it. While in school, they ran with the idea, and BaubleBar was launched in 2011.
1. Find opportunities through what you love. When Jain and Yacobovsky took shopping trips together for fashion jewelry, they were dissatisfied with the options that were available. They were searching for jewelry that was quality with stellar design that didn’t cost a fortune. “We realized there was an opportunity to create something different and better than what was currently out there,” says Jain.
2. Trust your partner. Starting a company with your best friend is risky; maintaining your close relationship while launching a startup can be hard. Before they conceived of BaubleBar, Jain and Yacobovsky had already worked and traveled together. They worked in investment banking, which was a high-pressure environment, and that helped form their solid bond. “Running a business is hard, and we credit the success of our partnership to the relationship that we forged over long days in the office at our first job. We know when the other is having a tough day and needs support. We know how to disagree with one another and when to come to a resolution. Most importantly, we know how to build each other up when it’s needed the most,” says Yacobovsky.
3. Rely on your peers. While at Harvard Business School, Jain and Yacobovsky came up with BaubleBar. They engaged in extensive consumer research and product testing with their fellow business school students, but also gained invaluable guidance before launching their brand. “We were fortunate enough to be in business school when we originally thought up BaubleBar. Our peers came from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and offered us so much practical advice when we were getting started,” says Yacobovsky.
4. Find the right collaboration partners. Over the years, BaubleBar has formed key partnerships with retailers such as Target, Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, and more. Jain says that they are always on the hunt for new ways to reach a BaubleBar customer, and these strategic partnerships have been a successful avenue to introduce the brand to a new audience. “Earlier this year, we launched a sister brand, SUGARFIX by BaubleBar, available exclusively in Target stores and on Target.com. This partnership has enabled BaubleBar to reach a broader customer base, with SUGARFIX pieces available at an average price point of $12.99,” says Jain.
5. Go above and beyond. BaubleBar has a dedicated customer service team called SWAT that handles customer care exclusively. Yacobovsky shares one story about how her team worked hard to solve one customer’s issue. “A customer was extremely upset because she needed earrings to wear as a bridesmaid, and the specific pair she needed was sold out. She was the only bridesmaid without them and couldn’t tell the bride! We ended up tracking down a sample pair in our photo studio, snapping her a quick picture, rush-shipping them to her, and getting them to her on time without any issues,” says Yacobovsky. Needless to say, the customer was thrilled.
6. Surround yourself with a sounding board. Jain relays that starting a business comes with significant challenges, and it’s best to develop a strong network of friends, family, and mentors to help guide you. “Our friends and family have been so supportive of us since we first decided to quit our jobs and start BaubleBar, and you really need to have a network you can count on to not only support you, but be honest with you when push comes to shove and empower you to stay resilient,” says Jain.
7. Challenge the status quo. Before Jain and Yacobovsky started BaubleBar, they had no background in fashion or jewelry, but they didn’t let that stop them. They were passionate about accessories and saw a void when their shopping needs weren’t met. “Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo, as every great company starts out as a crazy idea! Deciding we were going to do it ourselves and start BaubleBar meant getting over our fear of the unknown and going for it,” says Yacobovsky.
Perfect Your Skills
1. How to Turn Junk Drawer Jewelry into Top Drawer Accessories ($39): In seven video lessons, learn how to deconstruct jewelry and upcycle your own jewelry to make new pieces. Craft blogger Blair Stocker shows you the steps to string salvaged pieces together into a charm bracelet and incorporate jewelry into home decor.
2. How to Build an Online Store (Free): Liz Powers launched her own company without any HTML knowledge. In this online course, Powers will cover the basics of adding shop items, setting up payment options, and shipping.
3. Start Your First Creative Business Online Class ($39): Jess Ekstrom, the founder of Headbands of Hope, walks through the process of figuring out if a business idea is profitable and drafting a workable business plan.
What’s your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!
(Photos via BaubleBar)