Today on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast, we’re joined by the founder of one of our favorite corporate clients: Jennifer Bonacorsi from jBloom Designs! Jennifer is here to talk about how jBloom evolved from an at-home hobby to a direct sales business through connection, innovation, and personalization, as well as to share a peek into what’s coming next from this jewelry giant. If you’re looking for some inspiration to carry you through 2024, Jennifer’s success story is for you!
Time based notes:
- 1:26 Jennifer Bonacorsi introduction
- 2:51 jBloom and direct sales
- 6:48 The evolution of jBloom
- 8:29 PermaLinx by jBloom
- 13:09 jBloom in 2024
- 14:19 Jennifer’s favorite office supply
Sharing the jBloom Success Story with Jennifer Bonacorsi
Today on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast, we’re joined by the founder of one of our favorite corporate clients: Jennifer Bonacorsi from jBloom Designs! Jennifer is here to talk about how jBloom evolved from an at-home hobby to a direct sales business through connection, innovation, and personalization, as well as to share a peek into what’s coming next from this jewelry giant.
I feel like I’ve had a little peek behind the curtain, since I’ve been working with all of you for a few months now, but if our listeners have not yet heard of jBloom Designs, I’d love for you to kick things off and share a little bit about yourself and how jBloom got started.
Perfect. So, before jBloom, I had a company called You Design Jewelry. But, before that even, I was an early childhood special education teacher, and I knew that when I had my children, I wanted to be able to stay home with them. And so, after we had our third daughter—which, we have four daughters now. But, after my third daughter, I just started making jewelry for fun. I just thought it was going to be a hobby for myself. At the time, my husband traveled in corporate America, and so he was gone a lot, and I just wanted something for fun, something for myself. When my kids were napping, or when they went to bed early at night, making jewelry was an outlet for me. And then, from there, people started buying jewelry off of me whenever I was wearing what I made, and my husband, being more of the business man, was like, “You should let people design their own jewelry, and then you finish it for them.”
So, was there a moment when you both realized, “Okay, this is a little bit more than a naptime hobby. There’s definitely something happening here,” and you knew this could potentially be a big business that others could be involved in, as well?
So, when people were buying it off of me, I was like, “Okay, this is interesting, because people are really loving what I have.” And so, I was sharing it with my neighbor right next door to us; I was telling her that my husband, Brett, was saying I should do this and let people design their own. And she said, “Well, I’ll have the first party for you.”
Oh, she offered to have the party?
She did. And so, I brought all of my beads that I had purchased over the last year or so, and I brought it all to her house. I had pre-cut wire for everyone. And, I let people design their own jewelry, and then I took it home and finished it for them. And, at that moment, at that very first party, I had a lady come up to me, and she wanted to do what I was doing. She said, “Have you ever considered having reps under you?” And, at that moment, I thought, “Okay, this could be really fun. And, it’s definitely not a hobby any longer if we go down that route.”
So, we took about a year, and we had three companies in the direct sales industry that were very prominent and very successful, and we had their handbooks, and we took bits and pieces that we knew that we liked from each company to develop our own. And, that took us about a year to develop. And, from that point, I contacted that lady back, and then she joined and was our very first You Design Jewelry designer.
How incredible, and how organic that it unfolded in front of you, too, right? Somebody’s offering to do a party. Somebody’s raising their hand saying that they want to be involved. That was probably the first step into the direct sales space, where parties were happening, and you had independent designers that were joining your team. Do you feel like that was really intentional, to land in direct sales?
Oh, completely. I knew that I wanted something where women like me could be successful, be their own boss, schedule their own schedule, and not be forced to do something on someone else’s time. And, that model fit that so perfectly. And so, that’s why we landed on the direct sales model. And then, the companies that have gone way before us, and the success people have had paved the way for people like me. And, it’s just so fun to see ladies in our company, who started just because they love jewelry, realize that jewelry is just the tool that we get to use to impact families. And then, those women become leaders, and they didn’t have that intention at all. And now, they’re a leader in our company. And, they really were just like me, thinking that this was just a hobby, or maybe a social outlet for them, or just a way to make a little bit extra money, but now they’re changing their entire lifestyle because of it.
It gives me chills! That’s the magic of this business, is that really anyone from any lifestyle, any story, any experience can step things up, and be a top leader in a company, and do things that maybe they never would have had the opportunity to do in the corporate world, or ever imagined that they could do on their own. And, I’ve also seen the story of jBloom evolving. So, I’d love to hear from your perspective what it was like back in the early days of jBloom and how that has evolved here today.
And boy, has it changed! That You Design Jewelry period was very crafty, and very hands-on, but it was not very duplicatable. So, we got to a point where that needed to change, and that’s why we rebranded the company in 2013 to jBloom. And, at the tail end of You Design Jewelry, we had introduced hand-stamping and personalized jewelry. That was really taking off. And so, we took that into jBloom in 2013. But, hand-stamping is very time-consuming; it’s seriously taking one letter at a time and stamping it onto a piece of metal. So, from there, with the growth was happening because of the change in our company, we needed to move away from hand-stamping, because it was not feasible to keep doing that. So, we purchased our very first laser. We started lasering our jewelry for personalization. And now, we have seven lasers doing personalization, and we’ve mixed in on-trend fashion pieces for layering purposes.
And then, just this past year, we launched our brand-new line, PermaLinx by jBloom, which is a permanent jewelry line, and that has been a game changer for sure.
Okay, I’ve been waiting to talk about PermaLinx, so tell us a little bit more about that and how that product line has really been a game changer, especially over the last year for jBloom.
Well, permanent jewelry has been around for a little bit, and it became very popular on TikTok, but the permanent jewelry that may be more out there right now is the links. The zapping. And, when that happens, you have to have the argon gas tank, and you have to have all this big equipment, and it’s very expensive. And so, we wanted to take it to a different level and make it simple, secure, and high-quality—something that can be worn all the time. If it’s going to be permanent, your product has to withstand the “permanent” part of it.
We use stainless steel, so you can wear it in the shower. You can wear it in the ocean. You can wear it around chemicals. It doesn’t change. It doesn’t tarnish. It stays the same. And so, that has been so huge. And, our collection to start selling PermaLinx by jBloom is only $175. So, it’s extremely affordable. And, ladies are having so much success. And, in one year, we have sold over 150,000 pieces of PermaLinx between bracelets, necklaces, or anklets. And, we’ve had a 275% growth in jBloom designers adding PermaLinx. So, it’s been really fun.
Oh my goodness. Those are some big numbers! Seeing that kind of growth and expanding your product line, I think, is so innovative and so cool. And, it also was this hybrid of making things old-school a little bit. Like, to do PermaLinx, you need to be sitting across from somebody and putting that bracelet or that anklet on them, and that’s a little bit different than what we’ve seen in terms of online parties, and social selling, and digital marketing.
That’s true. It’s the best of both worlds, because you can promote, and you can do all of the online parts of it. But then, the in-person has to happen in order to put the jewelry on that customer. And so, it’s the best of both, because I feel like the last few years, we’ve lost that social touch. And so, it’s so nice to be able to be back into homes, but we also go into boutiques, salons, businesses, and we link anywhere. We have so many designers that are linking on the baseball field or on the soccer field. My daughters do volleyball; I’ve done so many at volleyball tournaments. And, it’s portable. It’s in a little wallet; you just take it wherever you go. And, it’s amazing.
Oh my gosh, so fun! And, I’ve heard a lot of people that are hopping on board with PermaLinx, maybe when it’s a bridal shower, or maybe in a sorority, or during kind of a momentous occasion where people really like to get linked together, right? So, I love that fun, social component of bringing people back together in real life, but then also having an incredible online catalog and the full jBloom connection that can be sold beyond the PermaLinx line, as well.
And, we’ve now added personalization to our PermaLinx, as well, because that’s a big part of jBloom, is our personalization and telling your story through our personalization. And so, that’s been fun to even add that in. And, PermaLinx falls right within our “Wear your story” motto at jBloom, because there’s so many stories to be told when someone is getting their PermaLinx with their best friend or with their sorority. Or, they’re getting it on their wedding day; before the wedding happens, they’re getting their bridesmaids all together, and everyone’s getting a PermaLinx before the wedding—or couples. It’s so much fun. So, lots of stories are being told throughout that experience.
Okay, so are you able to share what we have to look forward to here in 2024 from jBloom?
Well, we just launched our brand-new catalog. So, we have a whole new line, which is so much fun. And then, we are going to be dropping some exclusive things throughout these next few months that are brand-new; they’re not in our catalog. We have a customer special every single month, and it’s usually a personalized piece, so those are really great value, as well. And then, it’s so fun to see the trends that are happening for spring and summer. So, there’s a lot of color. There’s a lot of bling. There’s a lot of crystal-type of jewelry that you’re going to be seeing throughout the coming months.
Oh, I’m ready for summertime! I got a glimpse of that catalog, and I was like, “Oh, I’m ready for days at the pool, and sunshine,” and I just love all of the color themes that are running throughout your catalog.
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