In Conversation with MJ Carlson and Chantel Poynton of Electric Picks

Electric Picks_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Electric Picks is exceptional quality, locally made jewelry that is guaranteed for life.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

MJ: I was working at what I thought was my dream job, but it just didn’t light me up every day. I found myself drained, but looking forward to making jewelry. I realized that I should make what I love doing what I do every day.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

MJ: My 1st job out of school was doing PR for Ocean Drive magazine. Shortly after I launched my own event planning company in Miami. I realized that though I’m type A and love planning, planning for other people is vastly different than planning for yourself. As far as jewelry design goes, I’m completely self-taught.  

Chantel: I have a degree in fashion design and always knew I’d have a career in that industry. I learned how to make jewelry just as a fun hobby at first but it quickly exploded into a full blown obsession.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

MJ: I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I sold friendship bracelets at my daycare and homemade candles to my neighbors. There was always a hustle inside of me.

Chantel: I knew without a doubt I’d never be happy or successful with a career in a traditional work setting. Being an entrepreneur has given me the freedom to express my creativity. I totally get why they say “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

It was 2011, so marketing was quite different back then! We put a heavy focus on celebrity PR.  

There was no Instagram when we launched, but social media has certainly changed the landscape of how you can market your business now on a lean budget.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

Not defining our target market initially. When we launched we were trying to be everything; we had men’s, women’s and kid’s. Once we identified our core market we pivoted and focused on women and focused on delivering exceptional quality accessible jewelry to them

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

MJ:  I’m always most proud of our community initiatives. We launched a collaboration with Madi Messer last month and donated a percentage of sales from the collaboration to Ronald McDonald House DC (where she’s based). With that percentage we were actually able to buy the entire holiday wish list of gifts for the kids there! We only have what we give.

Chantel: I’d have to say us (our jewelry) making the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2020 edition was definitely a moment I’ll never forget, like ever. It’s achievements like that when I’m so thankful to have my best friend also be my business partner. Truly having someone to share momentous achievements with is just awesome! 

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We’re fortunate we’re still able to connect with our customers through our e-commerce platform.  Wholesale has looked quite different. Normally we show at 6-8 trade shows throughout the year, but that’s taken a pause. The industry has done a wonderful job at adapting quickly, we’ll be participating in Coterie’s 2nd virtual trade show in February.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We’re launching with Nordstrom this month, and we’re incredibly excited! It’s been on the top of our goal board (literally) for 2 years. We’ve been staring at the goal every single day, and it’s so fulfilling to see it come true.

In the next couple years we want to continue to create long-lasting meaningful quality jewelry for women, at an accessible price point. We aim to continue growing our community programs and to build our brand with thoughtfulness and care.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

MJ:  You have to be adaptable. For example instead of in-person trade shows, we made the online experience more engaging with hosting one-on-one happy hours and lunches for our retailers.

Chantel: There are very few things in life that are actually “essential.” When the global pandemic turned the world upside down, we had to face a new reality; one that didn’t include happy hour with our friends or working out in a gym. ( Just to name a few non essential activities) Under the stay at home order, with just our immediate families, we quickly learned what is truly important in life: Family, Friends, Health, Happiness. Everything else is really secondary.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

MJ: I wish I’d interned with a jewelry or fashion company for a few months to learn the basics of the business. I went into this with a PR and business background and knew nothing about the fashion world. I certainly could have shortened my learning curve.  But on the other hand I also think being completely green, I have been driven so much by genuine passion for the craft and creative process, instead of being influenced by existing industry standards.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

MJ: Meditation. I started using the app ten percent happier and the beginning of the year and it’s been incredibly grounding for me!

Chantel: Staying grounded and centered is a true art and something that I’m continuing to work on each day. As the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson alluded to, I have control over what I let into my mind and which currents of thought I listen to. With that being said I find I feel much more calm and centered when I turn off the news and pay attention to what is going on in my life I do have control over. Spending time with my family and friends is always good for the soul.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

MJ:  After almost 10 years of working I feel like I’m just starting to have a semblance of a work/life balance. As an entrepreneur you have to hustle, there were nights and weekends filled with work for years. The benefit of a 9-5 is you’re off at 5pm and on the weekends, but the benefits of being an entrepreneur are endless. 

Chantel: If you asked me this ten years ago I might have had a different answer but It has been much easier for me to balance work & life now that my kids have grown up quite a bit and have needed me less. (my daughter is 16 and my son is almost 13!) With the three of us all home right now it’s been helpful to create some sort of a routine and also set some boundaries. Boundaries aren’t a negative thing; they’re a necessary thing to keep all our relationships in balance. 

I will let them know I’ll be in my ( jewelry design) studio for the next few hours working on a project and they are really great at respecting that. As a result I’m much more appreciative and present later on in the evening when we have family time if I’m not stressing out over incomplete projects. I also try to spend one on one time with each of them each day whenever possible. 

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

MJ: I taught myself how to make jewelry by watching YouTube videos!

Chantel: I have a deep interest and curiosity about anything hidden / mysterious such as the exploration of consciousness, astrology, spiritualism, the universe, psychic research, new age healing and psychedelic therapy…just to name a few. I consider myself a lifelong student and have a true passion for learning. My teachers would be so proud 

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

MJ:

Time Blocking (the Skinny Confidential has a great podcast about this).

To-do lists. I’m old school and write mine on a piece of paper each morning and enjoy physically crossing things off.

Put down your phone. I try to limit social media and responding to text to certain blocks of time during the way.

Chantel:

Prioritize sleep.

Get some fresh air whenever possible. 

Never underestimate the power of your favorite music to keep you going.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

MJ: We’re grateful to be considered Enteprenistas. We put a lot of heart, hustle and a deep sense of care into our work, and we’re honored to be a part of this community.

Chantel: An Entreprenista is an ambitious woman who follows her heart to create an authentic brand. She definitely thinks outside the box and isn’t afraid to take risks. 

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Randi Shinder on how SBLA explores the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns

Describe your business in a few words? SBLA uses the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns. The non-invasive wand-delivery-system skincare line is clinically proven to build collagen, smooth, lift and tighten the skin while targeting the most fragile areas of the face and neck to deliver a…

How Heather Ouida and her co-founders are amplifying women’s voices in the gaming industry through the*gameHERs

Describe your business in a few words? The*gameHERs is a media platform and social networking community that connects, supports and amplifies women who game and who work in the gaming industry. Our mission is to advance the role, voice, image, and power of all women, femme-identifying and non-binary gamers who are comfortable in spaces that…

Creating a smarter swaddle with Hindi Zeidman through her company The Ollie World

Describe your business in a few words? It all started with an amazing infant named Oliver. I was a single foster parent and he was my foster son. When he came to me he was on the verge of being labeled failure-to-thrive because he struggled with the basics of eating and sleeping. He was also…

Jen Fuller on how Etta Loves delivers both babies’ cognitive development and calmness for parents through uniquely-designed baby products

Describe your business in a few words? Etta Loves baby essentials are uniquely designed with science to support babies’ visual and cognitive development, delivering wonder for babies and calm for parents in the everyday. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had an idea that I couldn’t ignore when my…

How Jessica Jackson is achieving better sleep for both parents and their babies through The Mookabee Swaddle

Describe your business in a few words? The Mookabee Swaddle is committed to helping babies (and ultimately their parents!) achieve better sleep by utilizing the proven power of a parent’s scent. 10% of all profits are donated to Saving Mothers- a non profit dedicated to improving maternal health worldwide. What made you take the leap…

Stacie Stanley on empowering women through her swimwear brand STAYkini™

Describe your business in a few words? STAYkini™ is a swimwear revolution created to empower women through high-quality, backless, strapless swimwear that lets us move freely and soak up the sun while avoiding unwanted tan lines and accidental exposure. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had the idea for…

Healing Trauma and Getting In Touch With Your Power with Kimberly Ann Johnson, Author of Call Of The Wild

What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’ve always worked for myself (beside when I waited tables and a brief foray into public school teaching). But I took the leap from a calling to a career when I became a mother. What was your background prior to starting your own business?…

How Nicole Boyd used her maternity leave to create Prept, a personal style and beauty help service delivered to consumers virtually so that everyone can feel Prept

Describe your business in a few words? Prept is an on-demand style + beauty concierge that matches women in need of style/beauty help to experts that can help in an affordable, personalized, and digital way. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Having TIME OFF from my corporate job while on…

Daniela Schiliro & Heather Kamback on co-founding inBodi Swim, a swimwear brand inspired by different places of the world the duo has traveled together

Describe your business in a few words? Each collection of inBodi Swim has been thoughtfully created based on different places around the world that we’ve been fortunate enough to see and experience. Along with the environments, colors, textures, cultures of each place; we are most inspired by the unique beauty that each and every woman…

Women Making Bold Moves In Business

Your next read: Ali Kriegsman, co-founder of Bulletin, has released her debut book How To Build A Goddamn Empire. We can’t wait to check it out!  🎉 An exciting partnership: Rocksbox, founded by Meaghan Rose, was acquired by Signet Jewelers, making their $1B service business goal that much closer. 🎉 Top sellers: The Jills Zeder Group, a women-led…

Jasmine Carter on how her own obsession for engagement rings led her to create Balacia, a custom bridal jewelry brand that allows shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams

Describe your business in a few words? Balacia is a custom bridal jewelry brand allowing shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams within their budget. We use diamonds, moissanite, and gemstones so buyers have endless options for colors, shapes, and sizes for their rings. In addition to rings, we also make…

How Julianne Fraser is creating meaningful dialogues with Dialogue New York, a global digital marketing consultancy that specializes in influencer marketing

Describe your business in a few words? Dialogue New York is a global digital marketing consultancy, that specializes in building influencer marketing strategies for luxury and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Over the last decade, I’ve watched as the Wild, Wild West of Influencer Marketing took shape,…

Tiffany Buzzatto on pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty with her brand DEW MIGHTY

Describe DEW MIGHTY in a few words? We are pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty. We plan to always deliver effective skin care products without fillers, sans water, free of nasty ingredients, and without plastic or trashy packaging to always USE LESS. DEW MORE™ What made you take the leap to start your own…

Molly Fienning on how Red Clay turned her into a hot sauce fanatic and CEO

Describe your business in a few words? Red Clay is a cold-pressed, made-for-foodies hot sauce and hot honey brand, named “Tabasco for the 21st century” by Food and Wine Magazine and “a hot honey to elevate your meal” by The New York Times. Crafted by a talented Southern chef, we focus on delicious flavor, sustainably-sourced…

Jhoanna Marissa, founder of WILLA Creative Agency, on creating her dream women-led digital creative agency in the fashion and lifestyle space

Describe WILLA Creative Agency in a few words? A digital-first creative agency working with beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Not being able to find my dream job. I wanted to work in the digital e-commerce space specifically in beauty and fashion. And back when…