I first met Lindsay, the designer behind Simon & Ruby jewelry, at the Being Boss vacation in New Orleans. In fact, we were roomies! As soon as I saw her beautiful, travel-inspired Instagram and her gorgeous jewelry made from the loveliest materials (she shows her Instagram followers those too!) I was just amazed at her artistry. More than that, I was amazed at her business savvy.
Lindsay has done an incredible job building a presence for her business that is so on-brand that I thought she was the owner of a jewelry empire! It just goes to show what investing in your brand can do… just saying! While not quite an empress yet, I think she’s well on her way. So let’s dig in and get behind-the-scenes of Simon & Ruby with Lindsay Farrer!
Please describe what you do real quick.
I’m the owner and lead designer of Simon & Ruby, a travel-inspired jewelry company in Nashville, TN. I design our lines based on the experience, the love, and the longing of leaving your heart in little pieces every place you go. Whether the significance of that is in the sweet agony of wanderlust, or falling in love and leaving your heart with another able, ambulatory cutie, we make jewelry for people who know what it is to be reawakened by an experience.
When did you know that you wanted to call the shots?
Calling the shots is sort of a side effect for me. I knew I wanted to have a creative voice. I knew I wanted to transcend the experience of travel into something. I knew I wanted to apply my efforts to my own dream as opposed to someone else’s. If that means I knew I wanted to call the shots, then I think I was born with it.
My preference, though, is to build a team. Logistically, the brand is built around travel, so it’s important I trust my staff with the business while I’m away on a design trip. Managerially, we make smarter progress when we can talk about our lives, needs, and wants openly in the studio. Some of that is the alchemy and luck of finding good people, and some of it is an intentional decision within the environment. Teamwork is smarter work for us.We make smarter progress when we can talk about our lives, needs & wants openly in the studio. Click To Tweet
Why this business?
I spend my days shaping precious metals, collecting beautiful stones, and talking to people about how they travel, how they love, and how they both leave pieces of themselves and find new pieces of themselves in both experiences. Why would I ever choose anything else?
Some days I spend on the phone, or balancing accounts, or dealing with the necessary peripherals of business ownership. Those days are less fun. Those days, I lock myself in the studio after hours and design. Maybe with a margarita. It all balances out.
Please describe your typical day.
Well, now that I’ve waxed romantic about it! My typical day starts early with coffee and a quiet studio. I like orders and invoices to be organized, or I feel overwhelmed. Same with emails, same with quite a few things, actually. So, each day starts with organizing and coffee and a good playlist. (We’ve actually just begun sharing our playlists on our website through the On The Road series.) Our team is in studio on a rotating schedule, so I typically have one or two people with me. And then it’s designing and filling orders and talking out what the next week and month and six months should look like and how that’s going to happen. And then more coffee and more music.
What’s the best decision you ever made that moved your business forward?
Establishing wholesale was huge for us. When I made the decision to pursue wholesale accounts, I just saw it as an addition to what we were already doing. Instead, over the course of the last 4 years, it has become our primary form of revenue and helped expand our reach far more than I ever would have expected. Now, we have about 100+ retailers in both the U.S. and abroad. We still do retail sales through the website and some trunk shows/art shows, but we’re able to be much more selective about where we show and how often we have to be on the road.
Tell me about a growing pain you’ve experienced in your business.
I don’t love the posture of talking about money as a limiting factor, but growing a business always seems like a riddle that requires money to grow smarter to maximize earning potential and, in the meantime, before that profitable growth, where does that burst of cash come from? Riddles are good for creative minds, though, so it’s ultimately been worth it to grow and to find the ways to do so. It always feels like a new mountain to traverse at the start.
What was the biggest change in your business this year?
This time last year, Simon & Ruby was a one-woman-show. Now, there are photographers and a graphic designer and studio workers and reps and an assistant. We have this big team who rallies around new concepts and new designs and finds new ways to market and style and pitch and communicate. There are plenty of changes in that alone. Learning to be the boss of the brand while still cultivating creative vulnerability and doing both around other people all the time has been an adjustment, as well. A really fun adjustment! But certainly different from doing those things privately (and maybe in my pajamas.)
What are you most excited about right now for your business?
We’re in a new growth season riddle. I know that however we elect to navigate this year will be amazing. I’m aiming for the perfect storm. We’re totally ready. Riddles are still a thing that exist, but it’s so exciting to be in this position.
What is your favorite thing about Monday?
Coffee, my kitties wandering through the studio, and a quiet morning to play with new designs before the work week cranks up again.