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 beautiful bridal jewelry (necklaces, earrings, etc) using silver, gold, and various stones.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
After my husband proposed to me in 2017 I became instantly obsessed with engagement rings and realized I found my passion! I knew I had to be a bridal jeweler. Providing engagement rings, stackable wedding bands, and bridal sets to clients brings me so much joy.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I started a business as soon as I thought I was able to, which was when I turned 18. I wanted a business so badly pretty much my entire life, so I started a business for what I was best at: babysitting. My first LLC was Howard County Babysitters. My background is in childcare, administration, and customer care.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! I’ve literally been writing business plans since I was 7-years-old. I was so excited to launch my own ice cream company and I worked on my business idea for months. Entrepreneurship runs in my blood.
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?
I originally started the usual way of social media marketing. I enjoyed creating graphics on Canva for Facebook posts and had a good amount of content go viral-ish organically. My marketing strategy didn’t necessarily go as planned because I intended to get more sales from social media, but we built a decent following!
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?
I’m not sure if this counts as a mistake but I had a bad habit of selling rings for way lower than I should’ve when I first started. I wanted to build up my portfolio but end up undervaluing my products. It was a great lesson learned!
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
My most proud accomplishment so far is probably our rate of growth since the pandemic started. I’m overjoyed with the amount of beautiful rings jewelry we’ve created over the past few months and the amazing reviews we’ve received. Every order is so special to me, and I love being able to connect with clients personally.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I always ask about their dream career and passions to see if it aligns with our brand and the positions we’re hiring for. I don’t try to make people fit a certain role- I want everyone to have a career that fulfills them.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Thankfully, my business has grown a lot since the pandemic started. The thing about my industry is, people will always fall in love. Even a worldwide crisis doesn’t stop dating, proposals, weddings, etc. We mostly focus on bridal jewelry and it seems like COVID-19 has brought a lot of people together.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
I’m so excited for what’s coming next! We’ll be partnering with retailers to distribute our fine jewelry gift sets and collaborating with many bridal companies.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
The biggest lesson I learned in 2020 is the importance of having a great accountant on your team. We recently hired an amazing accountant to organize everything for us. I’m so happy that our bookkeeping is in order.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I definitely wish I had known about marketing better when I first started; I made good content but struggled with conversions.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I enjoy walking on the beach, drinking a refreshing smoothie, and enjoying Bible study with my family. Relocating to the beach for my pregnancy has been a blessing and I’m so thankful that my team has allowed me to manage from abroad.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely! I’m honestly still working on that myself. My business is my passion so I often work all day every day. I’m giving birth to my first child within the next few days so I’ll definitely be finding work/life balance soon!
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
One of my favorite hobbies is singing… while skiing! I love skiing down the mountain while dancing and singing whichever song comes into my head. I really don’t like cold weather but skiing is my favorite sport.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Make a to-do list of the top priorities for the day. I try to finish tasks with strict deadlines at least 2 days in advance to keep from stressing about them.
Make time to relax. I’m a lot more productive when I’m mentally ready for the day.
Keep a calendar and schedule reminders so I don’t forget appointments.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Inspiring, motivating, and guiding other entrepreneurs.