August 31st marks 5 years of OMCH. Five years!
It all started with a simple idea in the summer of 2012: fine minimal jewellery at a fair price. If you'd like to know more about how it all began, read our backstory. I also wrote a post on my personal blog about how I quit my day job to run OMCH full time.
Today I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past few years and share with you a few things I have learned about running a business.
1 | Do Things Differently
You’ve got to want to change the world. Every market is oversaturated, there will be plenty of people already far ahead and plenty more creeping up behind. You can’t stand out if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else. You always need to be learning, growing, and breaking boundaries. There are plenty of people setting up online stores, offering similar products or services. It’s very easy to blend into the crowd. Whatever you are doing, it needs to set yourself apart and go above and beyond everyone else. Your work needs to have a clear purpose and be compelling enough for people to care about it.
At OMCH we do quite a few things differently. The entire brand is built on the simple idea that fine jewellery shouldn’t cost a fortune. So I got rid of traditional retail markups. We're an online-only brand and sell directly to our customers, which means our prices can stay affordable without compromising on quality. Sometimes doing things differently pays off.
2 | Stay In Your Own Lane
It’s easy to look at what others are doing and worry you're not working hard enough or reaching the right goals. There will always be people who do what you do but better and there’s always someone trying to piggyback off your hard work. It’s tempting to fall into the comparison trap and worry about preventing copycats but staying in your own lane is the only way to get the work done. Worrying about what others are doing is a waste of time and energy; being laser focused on your work is the only route to achieving your goals.
What other people are doing doesn’t bother me, let them get on with it. You can’t do your best work if you’re always looking over your shoulder. It’s been a tough lesson to learn but a necessary one. Concentrating on fresh ideas and new designs will continue to be my number one focus.
3 | Bigger Isn’t Always Better
All the business websites and blogs lead you to believe the only road to success is through growing bigger. Growth looks different to everyone and not everyone wants to grow in the same way. If you listen to that advice you might find yourself doing things with your business that you think you should, instead than the things you want to. There are huge tradeoffs when growing a business and there’s a beauty in staying small.
I’ve intentionally kept OMCH small so I can maintain a hands-on approach and keep the focus on quality and attention to detail; something that isn’t always possible with big businesses. Improving services and creating new designs is more important than growing bigger. I still reply to emails, make the jewellery, and package orders; things feel much more personal when a business is small.
4 | Work Hard and Be Nice To People
Work hard and be nice to people is solid advice to live by. We’re all human and being nice to each other costs nothing. Connecting with people online can lead to lifelong friendships or, at the very least, pleasant encounters. Whether it’s a creative ally or a potential customer, being friendly and open is an act of kindness that costs nothing and can have a rippling effect. That’s why you never forget when a business gives you terrible customer service.
As a customer I know how frustrating it can be when businesses don’t treat you well. Since day one I’ve made it a goal to treat customers the way I'd want to be treated, and on a personal level. That means quick responses (often directly from me) to questions and queries, and going above and beyond when things go wrong.
5 | Be Proud Of What You Do
You’ve got to believe in yourself. There’s a tendency for creatives to be insecure and lack confidence in their work but if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect anyone else to? We all have insecurities and doubts. There will always be moments where you think, “Have I done the right thing? Have I made the right decision?” but this is all part of running a business, especially one you love. Those moments show how much you are invested in what you’re doing. Always remember to be proud of how far you’ve come.
I feel proud of my work when it’s something I truly believe in. OMCH was a passion project that turned into my job, and I feel so proud of everything I’ve done because I believe in every aspect of the business. It's something I feel wholly and unconditionally passionate about, and I'm excited about what the next five years will bring.