Being adaptable is an excellent trait to have in any situation but it's particularly valuable in the current economic climate. This is why I was so impressed after my recent visit with Barbara Kidd about her company, Charming Life Designs.
Barbara tells me the company started in 2003 as Fashionable Fundraising and was designed to do home shows and help nonprofit organizations raise money. She loved the work but found it difficult to make a profit. To increase her profitability, Barbara designed a collectible charm for one of the nonprofit organizations she was working with.
Other nonprofits caught wind of it and started requesting their own charms. Barbara learned more about designing custom charms and began making them in all kinds of forms, from Chinese characters and a whimsical heart to breast cancer awareness charms. The charms were so popular that Barbara completely changed her company's focus, turned it into a for-profit business and re-named it Charming Life Designs in 2005.
Sandy-based Charming Life Designs provides custom charms to boutiques across the United States. In addition, Barbara also secured a contract to sell her charms and handmade jewelry on Overstock.com. She makes necklaces, bracelets and earnings from genuine gemstones, freshwater pearls and 14K gold and sterling silver. Barbara noticed early on that customers gravitated toward less expensive items. Earrings quickly became the top seller. The online jewelry portion of the business started in 2006 but didn't take off until 2007.
One of the special things about her company, Barbara says, is that all pieces are handmade. She employs 15-20 part-time workers, mostly stay-at-home moms, who create the jewelry. She hopes to see Charming Life Designs continue to grow as she finds clients searching for custom-designed products and adapts to each new situation and change in the market.