How This Gen-Z-Focused Earring Company Found Its Big Moment on Zoom

On this ongoing collection, we’re sharing recommendation, suggestions and insights from actual entrepreneurs who’re on the market doing enterprise battle every day. (Solutions have been edited and condensed for readability.)

Please give us the elevator pitch of your enterprise.
I am Anna Harman, the co-founder and CEO of Studs. We have reimagined ear piercing by providing consultative and knowledgeable needle piercing providers, mixed with a large assortment of accessibly priced, on-trend earrings, in an experiential retail surroundings for our primarily Gen Z and millennial prospects. This month (March), we opened our twenty third location, with extra to come back in 2024.

What impressed you to create this enterprise?
In 2019 after I was 34, I used to be impressed by my good friend who had cool ear piercings to go and get a second piercing at a premium piercing parlor. The wait was going to be just a few hours and my piercing was going to be too costly, so I left. I knew I needed to get pierced with a needle and never a gun, and my good friend (now co-founder) Lisa Bubbers got here with me to get pierced at a tattoo parlor in downtown NYC. The piercing follow was wholesome and secure, however I felt misplaced within the surroundings and did not love the jewellery assortment. So Lisa and I started researching what choices had been obtainable and located this gap out there. The panorama for ear piercing with needles (not piercing weapons) was fragmented. Clients had been going to their native tattoo store, after which as soon as their piercings healed, they went to mass retailers to buy earrings. The behaviors had been disconnected. Our purpose is to attach ear piercing, ear piercing therapeutic, and earring looking for an end-to-end Earscaping® expertise.

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Inform us a few tremendous difficult second that you simply did not see coming, and the way you reacted.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Studs was nonetheless very a lot in its infancy. The world shut down proper after we opened our second location. Our enterprise began sturdy, with packed shops and excited prospects. Then, the pandemic slammed the brakes. We misplaced virtually all our income and I confronted twin challenges: adapting the enterprise and welcoming a new child. E-commerce, beforehand not a spotlight space, turned our lifeline. Surprisingly, earrings thrived within the Zoom period. Whereas earrings weren’t an apparent class for individuals to be shopping for while you’re sitting at house, because it turned out, you do need earrings while you’re sitting at house since you are on video on a regular basis, and it proved to be an adjunct that made you’re feeling dressed up and human once more whereas the remainder of you might need been in sweatpants. Quickly, shops reopened, and to our shock, prospects flocked again to get ear piercings at Studs Studios. The pandemic modified issues, however our enterprise emerged resilient. Whereas challenges stay, we’re lucky to be one of many fortunate ones.

What recommendation would you give entrepreneurs in search of funding?
I believe the VC investing panorama has modified dramatically in our class of client retail in the previous few years. Previously, buyers would put money into an amazing founder with an unimaginable concept. Now buyers need actual conviction within the product market match, a sound income and revenue producing enterprise mannequin and your management and working capabilities confirmed out earlier than they make investments. I believe if potential, entrepreneurs ought to bootstrap till they’ve early indicators of product market match and income after which go to buyers with full conviction and confidence in not solely the concept however the enterprise mannequin and market alternative.

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What does the phrase “entrepreneur” imply to you?
Somebody who dances with threat, not somebody who gambles with it. They’ve a imaginative and prescient, they perceive the potential pitfalls, and so they’re keen to step exterior their consolation zone to chase that imaginative and prescient. It is not about recklessness, however about calculated dangers and the braveness and grit to see them by.

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What’s one thing many aspiring enterprise homeowners assume they want that they actually do not?
Many aspiring entrepreneurs get caught up within the attract of massive budgets and flashy advertising and marketing campaigns. Whereas these will be useful later, the reality is, that natural progress pushed by word-of-mouth experiences is usually probably the most highly effective instrument in your arsenal, particularly while you’re beginning out. Deal with making a services or products that folks love and rave about, and so they’ll turn into your largest advocates, spreading the phrase for you with no dime spent.

Is there a selected quote or saying that you simply use as private motivation?
As Kelly Clarkson sang, “What would not kill you makes you stronger.” That actually resonates with me as an entrepreneur. Her core message about overcoming challenges is inspiring. Companies face setbacks, criticism, and market shifts. Embracing these as studying alternatives and bouncing again demonstrates resilience, a key trait for achievement in constructing a model and enterprise.

Are you trying to obtain success akin to Anna’s? Preserve an eye fixed out for her upcoming Entrepreneur+ article, the place Anna shares her invaluable recommendation tailor-made to small enterprise homeowners. Verify again on March 26 when the story goes reside.

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