Today we’d like to introduce you to SaRatta Reeves Murphy.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Born and raised in Oak Cliff, TX, I began my career as a national spokes-model where I quickly realized my passion for motivational and public speaking. This led to me traveling the country as a public speaker and corporate trainer for Monster.com’s Making It Count Programs. Through this part of my career, I traveled to over 40 states and spoke to more than 500,000 people from coast to coast, New York City, NY to Los Angeles, CA.
At the end of 2011, after losing my corporate job in 2010 and another in 2011, I decided to create a career for herself that I could have more control over. I started a few businesses that did not take off as I had hoped and was feeling a little discouraged about this new career path as an entrepreneur. At the time, I was still contracting as a speaker/presenter and had a speaking engagement in NYC. I was out site seeing in Time Square and happened upon a large billboard for a beaded bracelet company. The billboard was of the two owners of the company, whom I had just heard do a radio interview in my hometown a few weeks prior. Something about those two women inspired me to want to own something that I might one day put on a billboard in NYC.
During the same time that year, we were preparing for an Autism walk in honor of my niece who is autistic. We were not able to get t-shirts for Team Storm so I decided to create some beaded bracelets for all the members of Team Storm. The bracelets were a hit and at the urging of my husband (then boyfriend) I decided to create a brand of beaded bracelets and donate a portion of each sale to a local autism awareness organizations. It was a marriage made in heaven.
Within 6 months of launching expressions bracelets on Etsy, I had hired my first part-time assistant. Six years later, we are still making bracelets. Over the years our vision has evolved and grown into a hand stamped, laser engraved jewelry line that puts your story on our jewelry. eb has created hand stamped cuffs for organizations that bring awareness to domestic violence, sex trafficking, breast cancer and autism to name a few. We have stamped jewelry for women who have lost children in tragic accidents, suffered miscarriages, lost loved ones and even a young lady waiting for a double lung transplant. Personalized is a part of who we are and we want each wrist to be a reflection of that individual’s journey.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has not been smooth and honestly, it may never be. But that’s the beauty of it. There is so much growth in the struggle, so many lessons in the failures.
One of the biggest struggles is creating systems to manage all the moving parts of running a business. When I started, I was the website designer, photographer, designer, creator, model for the products and the list goes on. I was doing all the marketing, promotions, sales, customer service, processing orders, shipping and receiving, etc. You work 24/7 and all of these things are A LOT to manage. You have to start setting aside funds to be able to hire people to help you. Some people may be able to get assistance from family or friends, if that is the case, do it. I have always paid for all of my assistance so I had to learn very early on how to set aside funds to pay contractors/employees to help in managing all the tasks. I still do a large percentage of the work myself. My husband and I are actively working on creating more sustainable systems where we have tasks outlined by day/week/month/year so we can get more assistance in managing all the moving parts.
My advice for other women is to first, if possible, shadow another entrepreneur/creative in your field. See if you can connect with someone willing to show you what a day in the life of an entrepreneur in your field is like. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Even if you don’t get the opportunity to shadow someone, or even if you do, do research on starting a small business. Follow other successful entrepreneurs in your field on social media, watch YouTube videos, read articles, listen to a podcast and MAKE A PLAN.
No, I didn’t have a business plan starting out, but I had to make money to eat and pay bills. So, I consumed all information possible on how to be successful as an Etsy Seller to make sure I could make sales and eventually make a living selling bracelet.
Do the research, set goals, make a plan to achieve the goals. This is just the beginning, over time you will need support, find a supportive tribe and learn from them and share your experiences as well. It is ok to share info and help others succeed. Your tribe will fill the same way.
Please tell us about expressions bracelets.
expressions bracelets is a hand stamped, laser engraved jewelry line that puts your story on our jewelry. eb has created hand stamped cuffs for organizations that bring awareness to domestic violence, sex trafficking, breast cancer, and autism to name a few. We have stamped jewelry for women who have lost children in tragic accidents, suffered miscarriages, lost loved ones and even a young lady waiting for a double lung transplant. Personalized is a part of who we are and we want each wrist to be a reflection of that individual’s journey.
AS SEEN ON GOOD MORNING TEXAS, in local magazines, newspapers and small boutiques nationally and internationally, expressions bracelets create hand stamped mantra jewelry, handcrafted in our little studio in Prosper, Texas. Each item has been hand stamped or laser engraved and hand packaged by us. We offer jewelry that symbolizes your personal mantra, a special date, scripture and/or awareness cause. eb’s main goal is to create your story on our jewelry.
I am proud to contribute to raising autism awareness. For the past 6 years, we have donated a portion of each sale to a local autism awareness charity or organization. In 2017, I decided to expand my giving to include women-centered organizations and charities. Women, in general, are a huge factor in the current success of my business, so the idea of giving back to other women felt right. I wanted to give something that empowered, encouraged and inspired women on a global scale. After much prayer, hesitation and procrastination, in mid-2017, Give eb, was born. Through this project, my company has gifted 1K+ inspirational cuff bracelets, to women throughout Texas and most recently in Lynchburg, Virginia.
My attention to detail and customer service sets me apart. My customers are my focus group, my followers, my workshop participants, my fans. I go to them when I am looking to change anything and get their feedback on what they would like to see. I share with them behind the scene footage so they feel more connected to me and the brand and I feel connected to them. In every package, we send a note thanking them for their purchase, but more importantly, to let them know, if there are ANY issues, contact us, we will resolve it. Customer service is key and vital to the lifespan of any business.
Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
My father was the first entrepreneur I knew. He was a wedding photographer. At the time, I didn’t know he was an entrepreneur, we just called it self-employed. I learned a lot watching his successes and failures. All taught me things that have helped me in my business.
I grew up in a very sheltered household and there was always something inside me of that wanted to push past the four walls and explore the world hidden from view. There has always been a fire in me, a determination to live freely, step outside my comfort zone and break barriers. I’ve always known that once I was on my own, I couldn’t fall and stay down when I fell, I got back up. That’s it. I’ve fallen several times, more times than I can remember, but I get back up and I course correct. I learn from my mistakes.
- Key Chains $15 – $20
- Cuff Bracelets $10 – $30
- Charm Bangle Bracelets $25 – $40
- Beaded Bracelets $12 – $36
- Website: www.expressionsbracelets.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/expressionsbracelets/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExpressionsBracelets/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/eb_jewelry