CASSY SABA JEWELRY & THE JOURNEY FROM CHILDHOOD HOBBY TO SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
Dolls, trains, baseball — what was your childhood hobby? Did you ever think about making a career out of it? Today I have an interview with Cassy Saba of Cassy Saba Jewelry who did just that. Her story will provide inspiration to childhood dreamers and smart hustling entrepreneurs alike.
Early Beginnings — Big Lessons
Our story starts out in Chandler, Arizona where 12-year-old Cassy Saba received a special gift from her aunt. The gift was a bead kit — an assortment of beads and other materials that allow you to create your own jewelry.
Cassy took an interest in making jewelry from the start. Not only did she enjoy this new hobby — she was good at it too. As she began making pieces, her mom would wear them to work and receive multiple compliments. As a particularly driven young girl, Cassy knew she could take this hobby, this passion, and turn it into a business.
Cassy got started right away. She specialized in trunk shows — exhibits where she would pack up her jewelry and take it to client’s homes and stores to make sales. Her jewelry pieces got a lot of compliments and she had plenty of support in her community.
In Cassy’s early beginnings she learned one of the biggest lessons that all entrepreneurs must face — there WILL be a lot of rejection and you just have to keep pushing forward. Cassy recalls knocking on a lot of doors and approaching many businesses to sell her jewelry. It wasn’t easy getting into stores and there were plenty of no’s along the way. For every ten stores, she visited, she might have gotten one yes — but she pushed on and built a solid base of clientele over time.
Taking It to the Next Level
Cassy’s hard work and determination made her quite successful in the local area. She had excellent word-of-mouth marketing and started to receive attention in local magazines and newspapers (such as this East Valley Tribune 2007 article which features an interview with 16-year-old Cassy). From this publicity, Cassy knew she could take it to the next level.
In high school, Cassy began to skip lunch hour and high-tail it to the library instead. She taught herself how to make press kits and began researching national media outlets where she could pitch her brand. One of her letters landed her on the Montel Williams show, in an episode titled “Teen Millionaires in the Making.”
Getting national recognition opened more doors for Cassy. With an impressive press kit and national recognition, she was able to connect with even bigger stores. She also corresponded with designers, who sent her letters with feedback and advice.
Moving to New York City
About three and a half years ago, the now adult Cassy decided to make a big change. She moved from Arizona, where she had a solid business and client base, to New York City, one of the fashion capitals of the world and an area that offered an even larger pool of potential clients.
Although Cassy had received a fair amount of publicity for her jewelry, she still relied heavily on word-of-mouth marketing to develop solid client relationships. The move was like starting all over again.
In order to reestablish her business in New York, Cassy employs the trunk shows that gave her such an incredible start in Arizona. The trunk shows take her to various restaurants and boutiques around the city where she can display and sell her jewelry and make new client contacts.
Cassy also expanded her jewelry line while in New York City. As she explains in our interview, there are three main types of jewelry. Her original line focused on bridge jewelry — a sort of mid-line between costume jewelry and fine jewelry — but she has since expanded to fine jewelry that uses diamonds and gold.
Having various jewelry lines requires her to connect with and understand the needs of different types of clients. Customers looking for bridge jewelry want trendy, fashionable pieces for everyday wear, and for fine jewelry clients, especially those looking for engagement rings, she works one-on-one to understand their specific needs in order to create a piece that will make a big impact on that special day.
The Importance of Personal Branding
Jewelry is a crowded market, dominated by several large companies, so it isn’t the easiest market to penetrate. Like all small business owners should, Cassy has carefully selected her marketing style. She relies on personal branding and close client relationships to build the business.
Cassy’s advice to other entrepreneurs operating small businesses in a crowded market is to make it personal. Emails and phone calls just don’t do you justice when there is so much competition. By making physical appearances, always wearing her own jewelry, and connecting with each individual client, she is making herself stand out. This inspires her customers to help the cause with word-of-mouth marketing about Cassy Saba Jewelry.
Cassy’s story demonstrates the kind of smart hustling you need to do to make your business successful — that you have to get out there and make it happen and you can’t give up no matter how many people tell you no. Whether you are a child daydreaming in school or an adult who is ready to quit the 9–5 to pursue a business idea, your success is completely dependent on your determination and hard work.