- Charlotte Alden is the founder of jewelry company lottie, which she started after losing her job last year.
- Models and celebrities are already sporting her handmade designs.
- To Insider, Alden gives a behind-the-scenes look at running a jewelry brand as the category heats up.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Charlotte Alden was working as an art specialist at an auction house when COVID-19 reached the US and shuttered roughly 200,000 businesses. She lost her job and struggled to find another, so she bought a bead kit on Amazon and launched her own jewelry company in October.
“It’s never been more feasible to start an e-commerce company,” said Alden, founder of fine jewelry startup lottie, which already counts model Nina Agdal and “The Bachelor’s” Hannah Goodwin as fans. Alden crafts all the jewelry, including $US150 ($AU204) body chains and $US70 ($AU95) bracelets.
Alden is one of 4 million people who started businesses in 2020, a 24% increase from the year prior. What’s more, she entered a thriving market: The global jewelry market is growing and expected to reach a value of $US292 ($AU398) billion by 2025. Despite just getting started, lottie is on track to book nearly six figures in revenue within the next year and Alden said average monthly revenue has risen 50% year-to-date, according to documents viewed by Insider.
Alden said practicing discipline was vital when turning her hobby into a thriving business. This includes running every morning and going to bed at the same time every night. For Insider, Alden breaks down how she structures her day so she can execute on her ideas and find balance in her life.
“It’s a bad habit, I know,” said Alden, who shuffles between her parents’ house on Martha’s Vineyard, where she keeps her inventory, and her boyfriend’s apartment in Manhattan to save money.
Phone still in hand, she makes herself a double espresso and checks Shopify to see if the company made any new sales since the day before. That wouldn’t be unrealistic for lottie: In the past 90 days, lottie’s web traffic increased by 129%.
Alden is lottie’s sole employee but she’s still able to plan a new collection and collaborations, including ones with significant properties like Palm Beach Historic Inn and Hudson Chatham Winery.
“lottie’s success and failure is my responsibility,” she said. “But another aspect of maintaining balance is never getting too high, and never getting too low.”
“If I don’t get out the orders first thing, I never end up making it to the post office that day,” she said, noting that she’ll get consumed by her inbox.
Once she’s home, she begins working on lottie’s social media strategy, using Instagram management app UNUM to plan posts weeks in advance. Around 10 a.m., she’ll start taking phone calls and chatting with suppliers, customers, and potential brand collaborators.
Before breaking for lunch, she meets with a consultant to plan other brand collaborations. In addition to the partnerships with physical properties, Alden is making a tennis bracelet for the Adidas-backed sports company Break the Love.
Alden is also planning to open lottie pop-up locations this summer. Previous versions were in Brooklyn, Miami, and East Hampton; future ones will be in Manhattan, Palm Beach, and on Martha’s Vineyard.
“Every little bead or crimp can get so expensive,” she said. “It’s important to stay organized and not lose anything.”
Alden taught herself how to make jewelry through trial and error, learning about semi-precious gemstones and the difference between gold-plated and gold-filled, she said. “There’s a lot more that goes into it besides stringing beads,” she added.
When she completes a piece, she photographs it for Instagram. She’ll also send press boxes to celebrities, like Charli D’Amelio and Emma Chamberlain, in the hopes that they will share them with their followers.
Despite the change in scenery, she’ll continue crafting jewelry, making social content, and packaging the orders she’ll send the following morning.
Even if she’s not tired, she’ll stop working at 10 p.m. and tuck herself into bed. “Getting a good night’s sleep can determine my entire day,” she said.
Then she wakes up and does it all again tomorrow.