Lindsay Farrer // Simon & Ruby

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!

2013-10-21 13.27.13-1.2

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?

I spend my days shaping precious metals, collecting beautiful stones & talking to people... Click To Tweet

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.

2A8B4136

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.

I knew I wanted to have a creative voice. I wanted to apply my efforts to my own dream... Click To Tweet

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.

It’s ultimately been worth it to grow & to find the ways to do so. Click To Tweet

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.)

Learning to be the boss of the brand while still cultivating creative vulnerability... Click To Tweet

2A8B4407

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.

Connect with Lindsay // Simon & Ruby // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest

MyCreativeBizToolbox

My Creative Biz Toolbox

Let’s just cut right to the chase. Streamlining your business, creative or otherwise, will pave the way to growth. You’ll have more brain space to strategize. You’ll have more time to take on more work or sell more things.

So let’s get the to-do lists out of your head, automate those everyday tasks, and work smarter not harder to keep track of everything going in your small business.

As of February 2017, this is my creative biz toolbox. Beg, borrow, and steal as much as you want… and if you’re having trouble figuring out HOW to systematize and organize let me know because I can help ya out!

Ready to streamline your small business? Check out @dizzycaitlin's creative biz toolbox! Click To Tweet

Studio Management

Pixifi
Pixifi is a creative studio management system geared towards photographers, but general enough for anyone running a service-based business. It’s packed with powerful automation tools to convert leads into clients super quick. Pixifi features include appointment scheduling, digital contract signing, invoicing tools, and more. There are three different plans that range from $25-50 a month.

Alternatives

Tave
Tave offers much of the same features as Pixifi plus a much more attractive interface. Tave starts at $21.99 a month and goes up depending on the size of your business and your length of commitment.

Harvest + Streak CRM
Harvest allows you to easily track time, log expenses, and manage invoices on-the-go. Pair it with the Chrome extension Streak to track leads inside your Gmail inbox. Together these tools can do a lot of what Pixifi and Tave offer. Plans for Harvest start at $12 per month while Steak plans range from free to $119 a month.

Accounting

LessAccounting
LessAccounting is an accounting software package that provides simple basic accounting features for small businesses. They’re best for businesses with less than $5 million in revenue like coffee shops, photographers, and personal trainers. You can record business expenses, categorize expenses, send invoices, and more. I love the graphs that show where I’m making the most money too! Pricing starts at $20 a month for freelancers.

Alternatives

Freshbooks
Freshbooks is another option to help make money easy. They pride themselves on saving customers an average of two days per month from everyday accounting tasks. Price ranges depend on your needs and start as low as $17.96 a month.

Quickbooks
Quickbooks is another accounting tool full of features aimed to help you get paid faster and keep your financials organized. Again, pricing varies — starting at $5 a month and going up from there.

Email Marketing

Convert Kit
ConvertKit promotes themselves as an email marketing service for professional bloggers. A subscription includes some really fantastic features that make it simpler to grow your email list like creating upgraded content with just a few clicks, intuitively sorting subscribers, and (my personal favorite) one-click new subscriber confirmations and opt-in downloads.

Alternatives

MailChimp
MailChimp is another email marketing software that gives you a number of ways to design and send emails. They offer their service for free until you hit 2,000 subscribers.

Mad Mimi
Mad Mimi is an insanely easy to use tool for creating, sending, sharing, and tracking email newsletters. It’s best for people who want email marketing to be as simple as possible. You can start out with them for free. When you’re ready to upgrade for more features, plans start at just $10 a month and go up depending on your needs.

Healthy Eating 

Cook Smarts 
Cook Smarts aims to make life in the kitchen easier — with weekly meal plans, grocery lists, cooking guides, and even cooking lessons. Since my move to China I no longer use them because grocery shopping is a little more complicated here, but I’m leaving it on the list because if I could use it I totally would be! You can give them a taste test with three free meal plans. After that, pricing is $6 to $8 a month.

Alternatives

The Fresh 20
This meal planning service prepares a weekly menu for you using just 20 fresh, seasonal ingredients — keeping things easy at the grocery store and in the kitchen. Monthly plans start at $10 a month.

Blue Apron
Blue Apron takes meal planning to the next level by doing the shopping and prep work for you. Basically, you get a box full of ingredients delivered right to your door. All you have to do is cook! They offer a two-person and a family plan.

Project Management

Trello
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. With one glance, Trello tells you who’s working on what and where something is in a process. The free version is great and has pretty much everything you need. However, if you need more robust features or additional security features, upgrading is as low at $8.33 a month.

Alternatives

Asana
Asana is another tool that allows teams to share, plan, organize, and track progress of the tasks each member is working on. Asana has free and paid plans depending on what you need.

ToDoist
ToDoist is a project management software in to-do list form. It’s free, but additional features (like collaboration) are only available in the paid version.

Storage and File Sharing

Google Drive
With Google Drive, you start with 15 GB of free online storage for files of any sort. You can access these files on your phone, tablet, or your computer. Paid plans depend on how much storage you need, but you can get 1 TB (which is a lot) for $10 a month.

Alternatives

Dropbox
Dropbox is another file storage service that can be using for storing and caring files. You can get some storage for free, but plans start at $10 a month for 1 TB of space.

Box
Box prides itself on safe and easy collaboration for businesses using their file storage software. Business plans start at $5 per month.

Phone

Republic Wireless
Republic Wireless is a cellphone carrier that offers a WiFi-only plan. As in, your phone can make calls only when it sees a WiFi signal. It ignores cell towers. The big advantage: A WiFi-only plan is a lot cheaper — which makes it the perfect system for a business phone number. You can opt for 3G phone and data at any time. These flexible phone plans pay you back for any data you don’t use each month.

Alternatives

Google Voice
Google Voice is a voicemail service that allows you to set up a new number that you can forward to your current phone, send free text messages, and customize your voicemail. It’s totally free to use.

MightyCall
MightyCall gives small businesses a professional phone presence with an auto attendant, customizable greetings, dial by name directory, and more. Pricing for MightyCall starts at $20 a month after a 14 day trial.

Scheduling 

Calendly
Calendly allows anyone to schedule appointments, interviews, calls, and more with you. Say goodbye to phone tag, or even worse, email tag. They offer a free basic plan or you can get all the features for $8 a month.

Alternatives

Acuity Scheduling
Acuity is an online appointment scheduling software. Clients can schedule appointments, pay, and complete intake forms online 24/7. There’s a free plan but premium features start at $10 a month.

Doodle
Doodle is the scheduling tool for you if you’re trying to find a time to meet with a group of people. There is a free version and premium features start at $39 a month.

Keeping in Touch

Greetabl
Greetabl makes sending little gifts to biz friends and clients so, so easy. Pick some nice packaging, fill it with a thoughtful gift, and presto! You’ve just gone the extra mile to cultivate meaningful relationships with your community, your tribe, and your ideal clients.

Postable
Postable is exactly what it says it is – snail mail heaven. You can send a thank you note, congratulate someone on a launch, or mail a card “just because” in just a few clicks. With so many lovely artists’ work to choose from I know you’ll find the perfect card for any occasion.

Doing the Work

Spotify
With Spotify, you can listen to most any song and curate your own playlists. Too lazy to curate? Spotify has tons of pre-made playlists for every style and every mood. Spotify is free to use if you’re cool with listening to ads every thirty minutes or so. Premium plans start at $10 a month.

Pandora
Pandora creates playlists for you based on your choice of genre or even a favorite song or artist. Thumbs up songs you love and thumbs down songs you hate to slowly curate the perfect playlist for you. This music streaming service is also free with ads. Ad-free listening is $5 a month.

Podcasts
On desktop, it’s basic iTunes for listening to my long list of all kinds of podcasts. On mobile it’s all about the Podcast Addict app.

Ready to streamline your small business? Check out @dizzycaitlin's creative biz toolbox! Click To Tweet

If you liked this post, share it with a tweet or send it to a biz friend who needs it!