The PR Adviser: Getting Back Up After You Fall
National Jeweler’s resident PR adviser Lilian Raji returns with thoughts on the importance of never giving up and continuing to evolve.
Can you ever forgive me?
I now sit in my new writing salon at the St. Regis Bal Harbor after saying farewell to my former writing locale, St. Regis Atlanta, following my move to Miami earlier last year, one of many changes since we last connected.
I wonder how to begin again after abandoning you for so long, dear readers. I can only beg your forgiveness then share with you all my newly gained wisdom from my 24-month absence.
Truth be told, Dan Scott of Luxe Licensing is to credit for my return. Remember him?
He and I were speaking about the challenges of being a business owner. I told him I’m fond of dissuading people from entrepreneurship just to see what will happen.
Those who take my terrible advice to forget it aren’t meant to be in business. But those who rightfully spit in my eye and tell me, “To hell with you and your negativity!” might just have a chance.
Well, that is, until they fail the first time. It’s what they do after that first failure that determines if they will make it.
Until, of course, they fail again. And then, that will determine if they’ll make it. Until, well, the next failure. And the one after that. And then the one after that.
If you don’t have many failures under your belt, then you’re not really trying to succeed in business.
I told Dan my company is now on its 11th reincarnation. Yes, my company has died and been resurrected 10 times, but few people know this because I never gave up. I just figured out why I failed, evolved my business model accordingly and made sure not to make the same mistake again.
To be clear, dear readers, I cried thousands of tears and ate many a pint of Ben & Jerry’s as I figured this out.
After ugly-crying for days or weeks or months, depending on the failure, I wiped away my tears, got out of bed, and started again.
Dan suggested that some in the jewelry industry may need to hear about the possibility for resurrection, reincarnation and evolution right now.
“People don’t stop shopping because there’s a plague, especially when retail therapy is often more valued than valium in challenging times.”
Since my last column in December 2019, the world has descended into madness. We’re dealing with a plague that is giving us a sequel of a sequel of a sequel, a menage-a-trois-quel, if you will.
In that time, some retailers and brands have folded, unable to bear the weight of what COVID has wrought. It’s no mystery what happened and why. What happened was inevitable.
The why is that many in our industry closed their eyes and stuck their fingers in their ears, singing “la la la la la,” when advisers such as myself told them they needed to strengthen their ecommerce business.
“The future is online,” the most prescient of us warned. But very few listened.
So when ecommerce companies like my client ShopWorn.com began reporting a 40 percent increase in sales month-over-month since the pandemic began, I wasn’t surprised. People don’t stop shopping because there’s a plague, especially when retail therapy is often more valued than valium in challenging times.
The companies still standing today are here because a) their ecommerce site was up and open for business, or b) they realized the inevitable had finally arrived and quickly pivoted to strengthening their website.
When I speak of evolution, it’s because this is what’s necessary for the industry’s continued survival. The future is digital.
If you’re one of the unfortunates battered by COVID, take my return to the PR Adviser and your reading my first column in two years as your invitation to reincarnate and evolve your business.
Two weeks ago, I got into a heated debate with someone who couldn’t possibly believe people were buying $40,000 jewelry online.
“Believe it!” I demanded because it happens. Ask Tiffany, Cartier, Boucheron or any of the clients I’ve worked with in the past five years how much ecommerce drives their business.
“But PR Advisor,” you might say, “I’m not Tiffany!”
I hear your protest. And to that I say, poppycock!
You’re only as big as your imagination allows. You’re not Tiffany today, but if you would one day like to be, then continue following this column because this is the reincarnation and evolution that I will be leading you toward.
Even if you don’t aspire to be Tiffany and simply want to build a decent business doing what you love, stick around too. You can get off the ride when we start discussing how to get Beyoncé and Jay-Z to be your spokespeople!
It’s good to be back, dear readers. And I’m back with a wealth of new information and case studies to share with you over the coming months.
I’m back to answer all of your questions on how to transition to ecommerce and how to develop a communications strategy to attract those customers willing to spend $500, $5,000 or $50,000 with you online.
Before I leave you, the lovely people at Halstead have invited me to speak again at their annual Jewelry Business Forum on Jan. 20.
I’ll be sharing my secrets on how to land your jewelry in a movie or television show to achieve maximum publicity. It’s free to participate and I’ll be taking questions after my presentation.
Until next month, my dear readers, I wish you a tremendously happy new year and send warrior spirit energy to push you forward in 2022. In the next column, we go to work on your reincarnation.
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