Thank you to our wonderful customers for supporting Desiderate for six years!
Back in 2017 I started selling jewellery online to make ends meet. I was in a tough financial spot, and had no thoughts of starting a business. It was just to get a few dollars in the door, so I could pay the bills. And as a single mother of three children, I was always scraping by to make ends meet.
Fast forward to 2023 and I am celebrating six years in business! I can’t believe what’s happened since then. I went from selling jewellery online to realising this could be a business, to building a business that hires a team of seven people, with thousands of loyal customers. I’ve even won some business awards. I’m not sharing this to brag, but I do think women aren’t great at celebrating themselves or their achievements, so I’d love to share my highlights over the six years.
Think of this blog as a love letter to my customers. I feel so grateful for everyone who’s supported me. So I’d like to share the secrets of Desiderate’s success.
Treat customers like friends
From the start, I always wanted my customers to feel like I am their friend. And I treat them like my friends too. With online shopping, it can feel a bit impersonal. So I always showed up on social media, shared my story over email and gave my customers my personal attention. I’ve been open about my struggles with lupus and how it affects me and my working life. I like to think my customers see me as a real person, and Desiderate is not a faceless jewellery brand.
This has helped me connect with customers in a more personal way. If you email me, I’ll reply. If you call Desiderate, in the early days, you’d be speaking to me. Now the customer care team takes care of these things for me, but I’m still kept informed of customer feedback, comments and complaints. I think if you stop listening to customers and leave it to others you risk getting out of touch.
Of course you can’t let friends walk all over you, so I strive to be friendly and helpful without being a pushover. Some customers like to push their luck. Having clear policies helps customers understand their rights. Whenever a customer is unhappy we do our best to listen, empathise and put ourselves in their position, and do our best to fix things.
Listen to customers
The way I started my business taught me this lesson from the start, which has served me well. Because I was selling my jewellery and word spread, people began asking me for particular styles. So I started sourcing products to meet the requests. This meant I was quite confident I was creating products that people want.
Listening to customers is so important. Now I have a good feel of the styles and I know my audience very well, because I am part of that audience too. I love jewellery and gemstones and that love shines through in the brand.
Even today, I release new ranges in limited quantities to make sure customers actually want it, before I stock up big! I can’t tell you the joy I feel seeing orders come in for new styles, it’s very satisfying. Recently I launched the Rani ring range and that was so exciting because I was just tinkering around in Indonesia with my artisans, and it turned into a new creation which is now available in four gemstone varieties.
Don’t chase trends
Jewellery trends come and go, and I’ve been tempted to chase every current style. But instead I’ve stuck to my core style qualities: chunky, boho-inspired sterling silver and gorgeous gemstones. This means I don’t stock every single style of jewellery, but my customers know what they can get from Desiderate.
Give customers variety of choice
I learned early on that we all like different styles — thick chunky bangles or slimline; bright bold gemstones or muted tones. So by having lots of choices for customers I feel confident that absolutely everyone can find a product they love with Desiderate. Once I have a popular style I love to add more gemstone ranges. The Mahtava and Bold collections now come in several different gemstones, allowing customers to build collections with the stones they love.
And matching sets are favourites with customers too. There’s something so elegant about pairing the same gemstone in earrings, pendant and a ring. It’s a classic look that will never go out of style.
Don’t underestimate the classics
I always loved the look of a classic chunky silver bangle. Maybe it’s a relic from my heyday in the 80s? Regardless, I knew that many women love that look too. Some customers tell me they don’t feel dressed unless they have their bangle on.
So I’ve made sure to have a variety of silver bangles in stock and worked hard to make Desiderate the go-to brand for a classic silver bangle in a variety of styles and thicknesses. Many customers tell us they struggle to find quality silver bangles so I’m delighted to be able to give them what they want. You can see our bangles here: Bangles
Quality quality quality
Imagine investing in a lovely piece of jewellery only for it to arrive and it’s not as nice as it looks online. Or it breaks, or gemstones fall loose. I’ve certainly had that disappointing experience, and I keep it in mind for my customers. I never want them to experience it from Desiderate.
So I keep a firm eye on the quality of Desiderate jewellery. I check over every shipment of designs to make sure they’re meeting our standards. If there’s any question mark about imperfections in stones, settings or structure, I refuse to sell it. This means that customers know they can trust that the products they buy are made well. That has helped Desiderate’s reputation for quality tremendously.
Treat suppliers like family
In the early days of my business, I didn’t have the money to spend on large quantities of gemstones and jewellery. I was ordering absolute minimum quantities. Now I am proud to be the biggest customer for many of my artisans and silversmiths. Finding the right suppliers is utterly crucial. Because I work with providers across the world, I make it a point to visit them often and tour their workshops myself. It’s important to be culturally sensitive and build relationships. I look after them and they look after me.
Commitment to ethical manufacturing
I love that my suppliers are just as committed to sustainability as I am. Because they handcraft their products, they are equally committed to efficiency and waste management. I don’t manufacture in China as I am not satisfied that the production is ethical. So my customers can trust that the jewellery they wear is ethically made.
We only have one world, and climate change is undoubtedly very real. So I strive to operate as sustainably as possible. I use recycled products and carbon offsets in manufacturing my packaging.
Our gemstones are natural, not manmade and our designs are handcrafted in small batches, rather than in large factories. I feel by using a natural product we limit the impact of the manufacturing process. Artificial products made in a lab and we ensure our gemstones are sourced sustainably. Gemstones are rare by nature and due to that quality they aren’t thrown away, unlike cheaper artificial products that are more disposable and wasteful.
Transparency matters, especially online
We visibly share what we do and don’t pretend to be perfect. We tell our customers where the jewellery is made and don’t pretend to be anything we are not. We never overstate the claims about our products. Each product description is detailed and accurate.
Thanks again for supporting a small Aussie, women-led business.
And to celebrate Desiderate’s birthday, customers get the gifts — up to 25% off