Carolina Harte Jóias (Jewelry) 2/2

Upon asking/suggesting why she doesn’t focus just on the design, share designs with a big jeweler, who can then mass produce and give her royalty, she retorts, “I am not in the business of selling sausages.  My customers are educated, culturally-aware people, looking for exclusivity.  If the product is common (mass produced), I will lose my customers.  Plus, all the big companies have their own designers.  Why would they buy my design? They would rather want me to work for them as a ‘slave’ just as their other designers do.”  That was an emotionally charged statement.  Before Paulo could translate, I could gather that from her face expressions.

She also highlighted that although her customers want exclusivity, they are very price-sensitive.  “Brazilians believe that if it is an artisan’s work, it must be cheap.  There are two kinds of shoppers who go for exclusivity – those who want to buy brands and show-off, and others who want to buy fashion at a reasonable price.  Fortunately or unfortunately, my clientele is the latter.”  She shares a recent business decision that didn’t go too well.  A famous Afro-Brazilian photographer asked her to create a collection for his annual photo-shoot, wherein he captures 15 most prominent women of Afro-Brazilian community.  She knew it was challenging both skill-wise and monetarily, but she wanted to prove to herself that she can create really fine jewelry too.  She borrowed R$ 2500 from a friend, used all of her savings, and made the collection.  After that, when she wanted to sell, she set the price at R$ 800 based on comparable prices of similar products in the market.  However, she couldn’t sell.  The lowest price she could charge for a piece of that jewelry was R$ 320.  Even that was too much for her customers as they are used to paying R$ 50 – 100 per piece.

I was at the end of my time with her.  I really enjoyed talking to her.  She is a strong, hardworking woman, but needs to get more organized.  I left her with a thought of thinking about a mobile application that allows her customers to choose designs, provide design suggestions, and order right away.  I also asked her to think about crowd-funding.


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