Today on the show we are talking to one of my very best friends, Jeana Rushton from The Fox and Stone. She shares with us how she started her company, what it looks like now, and how she’s learned to navigate her own way through her entrepreneurial journey.
If you prefer to read, instead of listen to the podcast, we’re shared the transcription below. Just as a warning, this is an automated transcript, so while we do edit for mistakes we aren’t perfect, so just know that going in.
Erin Alexander (00:00):
Hello, everyone. Welcome to today’s episode of the product powerhouse podcast. I am so excited to introduce you to today’s guest. This is one of my dear friends, Jeana Rushton of the Fox and Stone, Jeana and I have been friends for many years and we have run our businesses alongside each other. At one point I was her assistant and I really attribute her belief in me to getting me to where I am today. But also we have worked together in another partnership where I have helped her with her SEO and her website. But beyond that, she has an inspiring story that I cannot wait to share with you guys, just to give you a little background of Gina’s business. The Fox and stone is a jewelry company for unconventional brides. They do a lot of custom design work for engagement rings and wedding bands, but they are not like the thing you see in the stores on the corner.
Erin Alexander (00:58):
Like they are completely unique. They’re made with raw gemstones and they just have a really great unique style to them. What I love most about this interview is talking to Gina and walking through the process of when her business was just a hobby that she used to get creative and pull herself out of personal depression and how it is has shifted to become a full-time company that employs both her and her husband, she and her husband run this company together. They actually just moved outside of town to a little farm. They homeschool their kids. They have like a flock of chickens. It’s very inspiring as someone who’s been watching this journey for the last six years to see how far she’s come from. When I met her, it was just a hobby and she was just starting to get some sales to now it’s a full-fledged company that, you know, supports her family and has completely shifted her lifestyle. I think you’re gonna really love this episode. She shares a lot about what she attributes her success to things she’s done in her business that makes her a good businesswoman. And I think that all of the tips she shares today and all of the insights she’s going to give you is going to help see that there isn’t one perfect way to do business. There are many different ways to do business, and you just have to find your own footing in your own way on this journey. So let’s go ahead and get started.
Erin Alexander (02:22):
Welcome to the product powerhouse podcast, where we talk about what it’s like to run a product-based business. We’ll be sharing specific, actionable tips for your online store, chatting with other shop owners to go behind the scenes of their successful product-based businesses, and having a blast talking Chuck. I’m your host, Erin Alexander, and the founder of Alexander designed company, a web design, and a marketing agency for eCommerce businesses. We work with incredible entrepreneurs to create an unforgettable online presence for their shop. Now grab an iced coffee and let’s chat.
Erin Alexander (02:57):
Hi Jeana. Thank you. So for being on the podcast, I’m so excited. You’re here today.
Jeana Rushton (03:02):
Thank you. I am crazy excited to be here too. I love talking about business.
Erin Alexander (03:07):
Awesome. I would love to have you start by telling the listeners a little bit about yourself and your business to get started.
Jeana Rushton (03:14):
Sure. My name is Jeana Rushton. I run the Fox and Stone Jewelry company. I run it with my husband. He and I both work full time. He does half of the business. We are a full casting studio, so he does a lot of the casting work. I do a lot of the electric forming work, which is just different types of jewelry. We also live on a little piece of property outside of Ephrata, Washington. I have three children that we homeschool. We raised chickens, we have cats, we have dogs. We do a little bit of everything, we dabble, but that’s us.
Erin Alexander (03:47):
You are one busy lady. So awesome.
Jeana Rushton (03:50):
We’re a big happy family for the most part.
Erin Alexander (04:00):
That’s awesome. I think you have the most inspiring stories. So I’ve already introduced you to the listeners at this point, but we are friends. We live in the same town and I’ve been along for the journey and time, just really excited to dig into your story and share this with our listeners, because I think that they’re going to find it just as inspiring as I do. So let’s jump right in. How did you get started in your business? What was the first step?
Jeana Rushton (04:22):
The very first step for me was a dark one. I got married literally the day after I graduated from college, not graduated. I took my last final on a Friday and I got married on a Saturday. And so I was, I was extremely stressed. I was extremely anxious. I wasn’t handling all of that very well. Don’t recommend that anyone ever but as a, as a way of sort of helping cope with that, my grandmother invited my husband and I to come stay with her and upstate New York for the summer, just to kind of relax, get away you know, find, try and figure out if there was a way that she could help us deal with my depression and my anxiety and all that. And while I was there, I went to go see somebody and he recommended I look for ways for an outlet, preferably art or something like that to kind of help mitigate some of the anxiety and the stress that I’ve been feeling.
Jeana Rushton (05:17):
And it was my husband and I have a habit of traveling whenever there’s like the biggest thing in the last two decades or something. So we happened to be in upstate New York that summer during the hottest like wettest summer they’d had in like a hundred years or something, it was on average, like 98 degrees and 99% humidity. It was utterly horrible. So one night I couldn’t sleep, it t was thunderstorming. And I hadn’t been thinking about what this doctor recommended and what popped into my head was a whole bunch of earring designs. And I woke up the next day and I just said, “Hey, I really want to try making some of these, maybe having something to do with my hands will help a little bit”. So we went to Walmart. Walmart was my very first supply run, picked up some stuff. I picked out some beads. I bought my first set of pliers ever, came home with some earrings. And later that week, I think it was like the next day I sold a couple of pairs to one of my grandma’s friends and then being the small town that it was, they recommended I go talk to their other friends who owned like a funky little cute clothing boutique in town. So I went to talk to her and I did my first wholesale order later that week. So it kind of started, I, it was wonderful because they gave me the confidence to sort of, I mean, it’s friends and family, And friends and family can really go one way or the other. They can be really, really supportive, and think that what you’re doing is amazing and they’re there to back you up no matter what. Or they can think, good God, I’m never going to sell to my friends and family because they think I am just over here crafting it up. And you know, I knit kitten pillows or something and they think you’re weird. So it really goes one way or the other. Thankfully my family was supportive and they gave me the confidence to keep going and to keep trying it. And I found that I really loved it. And from that very first day, the very first supply run, Jared has been making jewelry with me. He didn’t do it for quite a while in the middle. But he’s always been incredibly supportive. And at the very beginning, we would sit on the floor together and make earrings and circle back, you know, 13 years later, we’re still making jewelry together, which is crazy.
Erin Alexander (07:31):
Yeah, that’s really cool. I can’t imagine doing anything with my husband for that long, like living together for 10 years is a little iffy, but I’m kidding. I’m kidding. But I think that’s really cool. I know that from that moment on when you started today has been a journey. It hasn’t been like a walk in the park, it wasn’t rainbows and kittens as people like to say. So can you give us a little insight into what happened next?
Jeana Rushton (08:01):
Yeah. Well, I came back, you know, we were just staying with my grandmother for the summer. So when we got back to Ellensburg where we were going to school, my husband was still finishing up college. And I, you know, had no real idea what I wanted to do. I graduated with a degree in English literature. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I desperately wanted to stay on and get my master’s degree. But my husband was just not keen on staying past, getting his degree. And I didn’t have a big plan besides that so I was fine with that. So we went to, we moved, oddly enough, we moved in with my parents. Don’t suggest that ever, love my parents to pieces, but you should not live with your parents after you’re married. It’s not a good thing. You can totally take that out, but that’s just personal experience.
Jeana Rushton (08:52):
One-On-One anyway, we ended up getting, he and I both got jobs out of college. We were doing different things. He’s an engineer. So he was working with engineering things. I worked for AT&T and sales for a long time. I love doing sales. I love talking to people is, is my passion in life, just talking to people. Now I get to not only talk to people, but I get to collaborate with them and I get to design and I get to build something that they’ve dreamed about. That’s going to be a part of their family for generations to come. So really dream come true. But so we did that for awhile. My jewelry in that journey was always something I kind of just picked up and put down either when I needed some, some therapy, I would use it for art therapy.
Jeana Rushton (09:39):
And I just felt like my creativity had to go somewhere and it would burst out of me as jewelry. Or when we needed some money, you know, we were just out of college. We were both working. They weren’t the most high paying jobs in the world. So if we felt like we needed a little extra cash, I would go down to the farmer’s market. And I discovered really quickly that I loved being at the farmer’s market because I love talking to people, but I could get a lot of really fantastic instant feedback at the farmer’s markets. I could test new designs. I could see if people liked them or not. I also discovered really quickly that people loved watching me make my jewelry. And I don’t know if any of you do something that you can create while you’re in a live setting, but if you can, and you’re doing any live shows, I so highly recommend that people will buy, if they see you making it, somehow, it just goes hand in hand. Every market I’ve gone to where I’m not making jewelry, I have to try harder for the sales. And if I can be making something, even if so the jewelry that I make now, I can’t make in-person. It requires too many things, but I can be putting earrings on cards. I can be like judging my setup or my, you know, my display a little bit. I can be hammering some wire for a nex ring. I can be doing something that looks like I’m working, even though I’m not making any jewelry at my booth, that helps sales. So if you’re a person that’s doing live sales, figure out a way to be looking like you’re making whatever it is you’re doing. Even if it’s just like walking around and judging your booth, it helped.
Jeana Rushton (11:24):
I got lost on the question there. Oh, the journey. Yeah. So I pick up my jewelry. I would put it down and for about eight years, that’s what I did. I would pick it up when we needed grocery money or I needed some creative outlet and I would put it down. I pick it up, I put it down. But for eight years I was refining, not only my voice within my art, but I was refining my customer over the course, eight years talking to probably thousands of people. I learned exactly who my dream client was. And I started practicing with how do I attract that particular client to my booth? How do I attract them to my brand? How do I attract them to my jewelry? How do I make sure that my booth detracts or like, does not bring in the customers I don’t want? Some customers are just frustrating customers. I don’t want to deal with them. I don’t want them to be attracted to my booth in the first place. So over the course of the eight years, I was not only sort of using it as therapy, but I was also taking, I mean, a significant chunk of time to really refine, define and conclude about who, who is my business really, really talking to and who do I want them to talk to?
Erin Alexander (12:41):
Yeah. So I know that this is one of the things that you really attribute to your success at this point is those in-person shows, you’ve learned a lot about those in-person shows, but you’ve also had a pivotal moment at those in person shows. So can you tell us about that a little?
Jeana Rushton (12:57):
I did. I had a friend who back, oh man, back in the day, like 2010, this was ages ago. She started selling on Etsy. And for the life of me could not figure out how to sell online. I was doing really well at in-person shows. I liked doing them and I just thought, I’m never going to be able to sell online. This doesn’t work for me. I’m just going to give up. I’m not even going to try. Technically, I’ve been a part of Etsy since 2008. Really things didn’t happen for me on Etsy until about 2015, I think. So she had been doing it really successfully for several years. She’d been doing it successfully for about four years. And I went down to visit her and she said, Gina, I can show you how to do it. This is where it’s at. This is the future. The future is online. This company is Etsy. You know, you gotta check them out. And I said, all right, you know, teach me your ways oh Yoda, let me figure it out. So she helped me post a few things. A couple listings on Etsy, months went by, nothing was happening. I was just like, eh, it is what it is. And I went back down to visit her again. A couple of months later, she helped me refine the listings a little bit more. It was getting towards the holiday seasons. So she was giving me a little bit of a boost. Like you can do this. Come on. She was my cheerleader. She was my coach. She was my Yoda. And I went back home and we were at a, my husband and I were at a holiday bizarre one day in our small town. And it was just, it was dismal.
Jeana Rushton (14:24):
I think. Erin stopped by and saw me that day. And I think we’d had maybe like $50 in sales the entire day. And we had just been working so hard for all of those sales because we weren’t well known in the community. My particular style is not very popular in this area to this day. I still don’t sell very much locally because it’s just not, it’s not what happens around here. And then I heard this little chaching, it had sold in one moment I had sold more than double in that one sale online. Then I had the entire day that we’d been at the holiday bizarre. And I just remember it was a, it was one of those lightning bolt moments where I went, “Oh my gosh, she’s right”. If I can figure this out, this is where it’s at. Like, I don’t need to be doing these shows anymore. This is not worth my time. Or I’m choosing the wrong shows, which is a big part of it. But I just went, this is it. It was, it was a, it was literally like a flash from this sky, lightning bolt moment. And that changed the entire course of my business. That moment when I went okay, I’ve got to figure this out.
Erin Alexander (15:38):
Yeah. I love that story because not only am I ,like, I was there when this was happening, but a couple of, it was either the same night or the next weekend we had a, in-person get together with our mom’s community group. And I remember I was going to buy these ornaments from you. And I still have these ornaments that I think up on my Christmas tree every year in your like can I run the sale through Etsy so that it looks like I have more orders. I was like, sure, whatever. I, I had no idea, I haven’t been on Etsy. But I thought that that was really, I thought you knew what you were doing, it was really cool. Since then your business has done a complete 360 like it’s a totally different business. You sell different types of products, you sell to different people, maybe not as different people, but your business completely changed because you started selling a different product. Can you tell us about what happened there?
Jeana Rushton (16:36):
Yeah, I well this is a really another one of those. So my whole life and especially my, my journey with this business as a series of interesting circumstances that led me down crazy paths. And this is one of them I had been making at that time. Wire wrapped rings was really my specialty. I did some earrings and things, but for the most part I did rings and I had a few of them in consignment in the local coffee shop. And along with it, I had some business cards and I got a call one day from a woman who had seen my jewelry and just thought it was the most amazing thing on the planet. And she wanted me to make her an engagement ring. And I just thought, you’re crazy, lady. I make like, you know, fun jewelry like I don’t make engagement rings. But and this is one, this is another key part of my business. The reason we’re successful, because I will always say yes to something, even if I don’t know how to do it right now, but I’m confident I can learn how to do it. And I have a lot of confidence in my ability to learn a new skill. I’m always completely upfront with a customer. If it’s not something I’ve done before, I’ll tell them and I’ll just let them know. I’m confident. I can learn how to do this. I don’t know it right now, but if you’re on this journey with me and you don’t think it’s learning and growing together, then let’s, then let’s do this thing. Let’s make it. And for the most part, clients are really, really accepting of that. And they’re just excited to be on the journey with you. So I met with her, we sat in a coffee shop and we talked for it. She was fantastic. She was just a sweetheart. We talked for like two hours about life. I mean about everything and also about this ring. And she had a couple of really specific things that she wanted. She wanted an opal, first of all. And at that time I knew nothing about opals, like less than nothing. I just knew they were a gemstone and that was it. And she also said, “Oh, I’ve been seeing on Pinterest lately. This style of jewelry where it looks like the gemstone is like dipped in metal. Do you know what that is?”. And I was like, I have no idea what that is, but I will find out for you. So I left the coffee shop with these two ideas, metal dipped jewelry, somehow, and opals. And that night I sat down on the computer. I researched the bejesus out of opals and fell head over heels, madly in love to this day, it’s what I specialize in. I didn’t know there was so many kinds, there was so many different colors. There were so many different varieties. And I just, my world shifted when I started researching opals. The other thing that she talked about, the metal dip jewelry, I, I, it took me a long time to find it, to find the what are forming. And then back in the day, back in 2000, I think this was 14. Nobody was doing it, that the science has been around since the 18 hundreds, but very, very few people were doing it in a hobby typesetting, electric forming was happening, but in general, in parts for like airplanes and automobiles and things like that. So it’s really more of a commercial setting and not very many people were doing it as jewelry or especially in a home situation like you know handmade craft.
Jeana Rushton (19:52):
It was definitely more commercial application, but I found one tutorial instructor that kind of said, here’s the things that you’ll need. And then like have fun figuring it out. The instructable was that really like five instructions long. And it was like, try plugging this into here and then good luck. And that kind of challenge really excites me. So I ordered the things and I plugged them in and I started trying and I fell in love with that medium. It’s so organic it’s really, it fits me a hundred percent because nothing about it is set in stone. It allowed me to work with incredibly raw gemstones, which is what I had been sort of wanting to do more with my wire and I couldn’t. So I just found, I found my home when I found opals and I found electric forming. The funny end to that story is that I never spoke to that woman again. I had her phone number. I called her a couple of times. She never responded. And then at one point her phone number about two weeks later, her phone number just went dead. It was like, this phone number has been disconnected and I didn’t know who she was or anything more about her, but I call her my business angel because she just dropped into my life, pointed me in an entirely new direction, and disappeared.
Erin Alexander (21:08):
That’s really awesome. But it really transformed your business at that point.
Jeana Rushton (21:12):
Oh yeah. So this was a point in my business where I was really nervous because I had for the past eight or nine years, been really established and created a name for myself, doing wire wrap dreams. Actually, at all the shows that I was at, people would come back to look for me year after year at some of the holiday shows and the summer shows, you know, I, and I thought, “Oh my gosh if I completely changed the style of jewelry I’m doing, nobody’s gonna follow me”. You know, and I’m, I’m gonna lose my customer base, but I have to tell you, that’s one of the biggest lies that you can tell yourself. If you have established a rapport with your customer, if you have created a relationship with the people, especially if you’re doing this in person, you’re going to create those relationships. And they are more drawn to you and your style than what you’re making at that particular moment in time, they will follow you. And they did. And that was really cool.
Erin Alexander (22:07):
Yeah. And you’ve completely exploded since then. You’ve been featured on Buzzfeed, you were featured on Etsy, you were featured on Amazon handmade. You’ve really grown into this throughout this. I’m wondering what are some of the lessons you had to learn the hard way throughout your business?
Jeana Rushton (22:20):
Oh, so so many. Lessons I learned the hard way, I have, I have always been a risk-taker with business. Like, I mean about accepting challenges that I don’t even know how to do yet, but I know that I’ll learn how to do. For the most part, I have learned how to do them and that that has been a success. But there are sometimes when I’ve really wanted to try a new product or for the most part, the lessons that I’ve learned that have gone wrong are all because I tried to listen to someone else tell me what they thought I should do with my business. And I didn’t listen to my instinct and follow my own heart in terms of where I wanted to take it. And so this is why, this is why I really, really highly encourage, if you are someone that gets a lot of, uh, you grow from listening to a lot of coaches or from a lot of mentorship, you know, if you’re someone that just likes to take in lots of information. And then you’re very good at filtering out exactly what you need to take from that, then I encourage you to do that. But if you’re someone who gets a little bit lost in the noise and you don’t absolutely a hundred percent know who you are and who your business is. And you’re just looking for like tidbits to glean, then really try and focus on only listening to a very, very small handful of the people who are in line with your instincts, in line with what you want your business to be, in line with your philosophy for business. Because too much noise can really lead you astray. And that’s most of the time that’s what’s happened.
Erin Alexander (24:02):
I can really relate to that. A couple of years ago, I was, I have always been like an information, ‘taker inner’. Like I like to listen, I like to learn. A couple of years ago, I found myself listening to all the, all the business gurus and all the self-help and all the self-development. And it started to feel like anxiety, like every book was this another thing I added to the list that I was doing wrong. And I was just like, “Whoa, you have to stop listening”. And I completely quit listening to anyone who was like telling people what to do. And actually I started just listening to fiction books or whatever, and really get back into that creative side. Because even listening to an audiobook that’s fiction can help you feel creative. That has been something I’ve pulled through. Like I don’t sign up for all the freebies. I don’t listen to all the webinars because I will get those, I will get this feeling of inadequacy because I can’t do all the things. So I can really relate to what you have to say. There that’s a really cool insight.
Jeana Rushton (25:00):
Imposter syndrome is one of the biggest things that creatives battle against feeling like you’re not really worthy enough to be in the space that you’re in or you’re just an imposter in this space. I don’t really fit. I don’t, you know, I, nobody should trust me to do this, you know, or there’s other people doing it so much better. And I think there’s a benefit and harm that can be done when you’re reading all those books and you’re, and you’re listening to those podcasts. I still listen to podcasts and I still read, I don’t read very many books. I’ll be honest. I don’t read very many self-help books. I’m huge into the fiction, cause it feeds my creativity. But there’s certain people I listen to when they speak. I listen because I have found that their advice is both worthwhile, precise.
Jeana Rushton (25:48):
You know, it’s not, it’s not 50 hours of listening. Well, it’s not like it’s not a 10-hour audiobook where you gleaned like one sentence of worthwhileness, you want to be listening to somebody who has something worthy of your time. They’re saying something worthy of your time. And that’s, so the lessons that I’ve learned have all come from that. I had somebody telling me at one point, ”Oh, you should really do subscription boxes. I think they would benefit your business”. And you know, my husband and I always sat down and we really looked at it. We thought, yeah, I think this really will work for our business. We went all in. So that’s the other thing. Don’t half-ass anything. If you’re gonna do something, go for it. If it works, it will be amazing. If it doesn’t, you move on. You learn, you learn and you go, that didn’t work, oh well you didn’t fail. Personally, if a business idea doesn’t work, it is not a personal failure. It is simply that your customers were not in the right space or they weren’t the right customers for the idea you tried to throw it to them. It doesn’t mean it’ll never work. So whatever the business idea is, ours, as an example, we tried subscription boxes. We discovered that I don’t have the time or the energy to put into promoting them. They probably would work because the very first one that we did was a massive success. It was way better than we thought it was going to be. And then every box subsequent to that, I just got so caught up with the rest of the business. I didn’t put the time and the effort in. So they failed. That was a business failure on our part.
Jeana Rushton (27:25):
And I don’t take it personally. I realized that it was completely my fault that it failed. And now we just go, you know, we look at things and we go, okay, how can we rework the product that we have for these boxes? How can we make it into something else? What can we do with it? We recover, we move on. But again, that was because I was sort of listening to voices around me doing, “Oh, you should try this, you should try this”. When, if I had, if I paused and really listened to where our business was going, I would have realized that it would take too much time. And I just didn’t listen to myself. I listened to voices around me. So be very careful about the voices around you that you’re listening to. And sometimes they’ll steer you in the wrong direction and sometimes they’ll steer you in the right direction. Even the right voices will lead you astray. And that’s okay. Because the times that you fail, you learn even more than the times that you succeed.
Erin Alexander (28:15):
Yeah, that’s so true. I always, I really liked what you had to say about your business. Failures are not personal failures. Like you can make a mistake in business and it says nothing about who you are as a person. I think that that’s a lot of something that a lot of entrepreneurs tie into their self worth is their how well their business is doing. I know I’m completely guilty of this, but it doesn’t, they’re not the same thing. You are not your business, but you, you know, it could be a part of your personality and who you are, but they’re not the same thing. So that was a really great advice.
Jeana Rushton (28:47):
I hope you all hear that. I hope that resonates you. Your business failures are not personal failures period. You’re not,
Erin Alexander (28:58):
I would love to hear what’s next for your company.
Jeana Rushton (29:02):
Oh man, what’s next? I don’t know. I mean, I do now. I have an idea. We’ll see if it works or not. We, our, our business has a really, really transitioned heavily in the last year. We still are incredibly big on Instagram and Instagram and social media is a massive part of our business, but social media is a fickle beast. And I didn’t necessarily want my entire business relying on social media. So a couple of years ago, gosh, I don’t even remember when now I hired Aaron to overhaul my website. I have had a website several years. It was not fantastic, but it did its job. And I think last year or the year before I hired Aaron to overhaul the SEO, to just make sure that like the backend of my was attracting the people I needed it to effectively. And like almost overnight, our online conversion rate went from like 0.2% to like 1.2% or 1.4% or something like that.
Jeana Rushton (30:09):
It was, it was jaw droppingly. Amazing. and thanks to her, working with us, our website is now the main source of our income. We still get a lot of referrals from social media. I’m still incredibly active on social media. But when I try it on social media for our business to being reliant on our website, I got to have a little bit more control over the types of things. I want to point customers towards. For instance I love doing custom engagement rings and wedding jewelry, or just custom jewelry period. For whatever reason you want it for. I love working with clients of every size, shape, color, sexual orientation, you name it. My business is inclusive. If you’re an alien, I’ll probably make you a ring, but that’s going to be an extra shipping charge. I mean, maybe less, they decided to come get it themselves. I don’t know. You see a UFO hovering over my farm. You’ll know what it’s for.
Jeana Rushton (31:11):
I love, I wanted to build a business that was incredibly inclusive because I feel a love should have no borders that should have no boundaries. And you should be able to feel like designing your wedding ring or your pieces of jewelry is one of the happiest moments of your life. It should be an exciting process. It should be amazing. It should be cool. And so that’s really what I wanted our website to speak to. And I love doing custom. So when we were able to really boost the website, we started seeing this influx of people coming from Google, who just happened to find us a Pinterest who just happened to find us and all over the web. And so that has been a really, really big shift. The next big shift for our company is I am hoping to take us even further into doing custom jewelry.
Jeana Rushton (32:01):
And then we are also transitioning to a lifestyle brand rather than just a jewelry brand. So I am currently in the process of starting to design a clothing line. We are going to start bringing in a few more home decor items. I’m a little bit of a Jack of all trades in the sense that I just like making things with my hands. So I’ve started doing some reclaimed pallet wood furniture and home decor designs, things like that. So that’s going to be something coming out. And then I’m so screening all of my clothing. Cause I like doing that. I also like doing carved block printing. So some of my clothing is going to be walk printed and things like that. I don’t know. I need to work with my hands and I, I can’t seem to say no to my creativity. So we’ll see where life takes us. Honestly, I don’t know if this is going to be a business success or business failure, but I don’t want all of my business only in jewelry. I’d like to diversify a little bit and I feel like I have something to offer in the world of other clothing and home decor. And so honestly, we’ll see who knows where it’s going to take us.
Erin Alexander (33:10):
That’s really incredible. I’m excited to see where things take you. I know, I know it’ll be fantastic. So on this podcast, we have a segment at the end of each interview where we ask you to tell us the truth about what’s going on in your business. We don’t want to paint a picture of that business is all rosy and there are no problems with dehisce or an income level or follower account. We want the honest truth from shop owners like you. So can you tell us where something isn’t going perfectly right now, maybe somewhere where you’re struggling or where you’re having to learn something new to keep your business growing at this rate, you would like,
Jeana Rushton (33:45):
Yeah. Oh man. Well, let me reiterate that. It doesn’t matter what level of business you’re at. Things are not all rosy. Don’t listen to social media and the, I mean, well you can, if you follow me on Instagram, you will know things are not always rosy. That’s something I’m really insanely honest with my followers. And if I am like a couple of months ago or not even a couple months ago, a couple of weeks ago I went online and just was like, guys, I’m depressed. I’m really depressed. Hit me up out of the blue, had no idea that this was coming. This is why I haven’t been online lately. So that’s, I mean, I’m, I’m always open about that, but I will say one thing that we are really struggling with at the moment is as we start to take on higher and higher dollar amount commissions, I want to increase the level of customer service that we give our customers customer service.
Jeana Rushton (34:40):
And I want to increase their experience. So I’m trying to find ways to maintain and increase the service that they’re getting, the time that I’m spending with each client while still managing to homeschool my kids. Cause we do that and have time for them and balance all of the plates. And I had somebody tell me one time that life is not a balance. It’s a pendulum. And if you’re trying to balance everything at once, you’re going to lose focus on more than one of those things. So if you imagine having, you know, one of those old plate jugglers, and he has like five plates in the air, one of them is going to fall because you’re not, you can’t focus on five of them at once. But if you think about life as a pendulum, like an old clock and it’s swinging from focus to focus, and while you’re on a high, on one end, you’re solely focused on that.
Jeana Rushton (35:34):
And then you let it go to focus on something else. And we have been shifting and trying to embrace more of that pendulum style life, where in the mornings, I don’t even look at my phone. I am focused on homeschooling my kids. And when I walk out to the office, they know that for a couple hours, I’m focused on office work. And I mean, obviously if they’re hurt or something, I’m going to shift my focus. But trying to not juggle everything at once, trying to not balance life. But instead focus on each individual section at a time so that I’m giving everything, I’m giving my all to whatever I’m looking at at the moment. And that is working. It’s working well for us, but it is a struggle. It’s not going perfectly. I don’t think it has a bill if it’s ever at a point where you’re like, this is the most amazing, everything is exactly where I want it to be like this isn’t like that. But and business isn’t like that, but that’s, that’s where we’re at. It’s not working, but it’s working better than what we were trying to do before. So there’s a plus and a negative, I guess.
Erin Alexander (36:39):
Yeah. I think that that’s going to be so relatable for everyone listening because a lot of, a lot of us women business owners are also mothers. And especially right now it’s may, it’s June 20, 20, and coronavirus is still very present. Our schools were shut down for two and a half months. We don’t know what the future is going to look like. We don’t know how to do it all. You know, this is something I personally struggle with. So I feel like so many people are going to be able to relate to that, that it’s okay to compartmentalize and focus on one thing at a time, instead of feeling like you have to do all the things at one time.
Jeana Rushton (37:16):
You know, I will say as, as a mom in business since we kind of switched, trying to balance everything at once and we switched to being a little more focused at a time, my kids have been so much better behaved because they’re getting our undivided attention for an hour and a half in the morning. And I walk away from business at four 30 in the afternoon, I leave it behind. And we have like, we set aside Fridays or family Fridays. And every Friday night we either play games together or we watch a movie together and we have pizza or we make pizza or we do some things, but they know absolutely every Friday we are going to spend it as a family and they can count on that. And that kind of stability spending time solely focused on them in the morning gives them a little more reassurance when we walk away.
Jeana Rushton (38:13):
When we say, okay, I have to go to the office. Now I spent an hour and a half with you. We did this. Now you need to honor that I’m walking away because I need to do this so that I can come back this evening. So we can do that. They are much better about letting us work and not interrupting because I fed into that time with them in the morning we fed that space and they felt they felt full and then we were able to walk away and then we’re back. So if you’re struggling, I have friends. You’re not my only, I mean, you’re a business owner that I know who’s also a mom. I have, I have the advantage of, I was already homeschooling before coronavirus hits. And so I have been struggling with this and attempting to find a solution for a year now.
Jeana Rushton (38:56):
And this is it’s working well. So I would encourage, I would encourage you moms, if you feel that way also, please reach out to me on social media. I am more than happy to just be there or to talk through anything with you guys to give you suggestions or ideas as a homeschooling mom. Like I said, I’m not perfect, but I’m just, I’ve just been doing it at least for a little bit. But if you just need support, if you just need another fellow mom, that’s out there. Obviously this podcast is a great home for you, but you can also reach out to me on social any time. I will just be there as a support, as a backup, as a cheerleader for you and your business.
Erin Alexander (39:30):
That’s awesome. Thank you. Okay. So let’s tell our listeners where they can find you, where can they hang out with you?
Jeana Rushton (39:36):
You can hang out with me all across the web. It doesn’t matter where I am. The Fox and stone, those four words. My website is the Fox and stone.com. I’m on Pinterest. I don’t know. I’m everywhere I can be, but I really spend most of my time on Instagram and Facebook.
Erin Alexander (39:56):
Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much for being here today. Gina, this is a really great conversation.
Jeana Rushton (40:01):
I’m excited. I love talking business. I really do this excites me. I’m glad to be a part of something so amazing. And Aaron, you are a massive part of why we’re at where we’re at today. So I’m honored to be invited on your, on your podcast. Thank you. That’s very kind
Erin Alexander (40:19):
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Erin Alexander (41:14):
Thank you for listening to the product powerhouse podcast. If you’re ready to dig a little deeper into this episode, come join us in the product powerhouse community on Facebook. It’s the best place to go to find the perfect partner for your next collaboration. Get additional support and trainings and just hang out with other shop owners. You can be a part of our circle by visiting Alexander design code.com/community or search for product powerhouse community on Facebook. And if you really love this episode, open up your podcast app and leave a rating and review each review makes it that much easier for other shop owners to find us and get in on this action.
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