Are you searching for one-of-a-kind jewelry that’s inspirational, whimsical, elegant, and heartfelt? Your first stop should be the Rosemarie Collections website. The site is not only selling trendy costume jewelry; they have accessories for all occasions including cashmere scarves, watches, and religious medals for men and women.
This Ohio based small business had humble beginnings but has blossomed into a successful venture co-owned by Jubal Douglass and Rosemarie Bauer.
We spoke with Jubal to learn how the pair is prepping for a busy 4th quarter and their plans to expand.
Jubal and Rosemarie not only have a strong business relationship, they’re family. Rosemarie is Jubal’s mother-in-law and their complementary skills have translated into a successful business.
Both women came from the fashion industry with an eye for design and an understanding of the power of personal style. “I was a textile designer for almost 20 years,” says Jubal. “I’ve worked with large brands like Lane Bryant and Abercrombie & Fitch so I know my way around the industry.” Rosemarie also has related fashion experience and has owned her own business. Jubal says, “In addition to a degree in Fine Art, she’s owned a bridal shop and has experience working in the jewelry business. We have the perfect background to work together.”
The business didn’t start out as a partnership. Rosemarie’s children were all out of the house and she was exploring the next chapter of her life. “She started making bracelets and selling them online through sites like Etsy. Then her husband got her on Amazon,” says Jubal. The orders picked up and Rosemarie realized that she couldn’t make enough jewelry to fulfill all of the orders.
Meanwhile, Jubal had recently been laid off from a fashion design job and was searching for her next move. At this time, Rosemarie had embraced the increased business from Amazon and was buying product from online whole sellers. She asked Jubal if she wanted to come on board. In 2014, the women formed an LLC as 50/50 partners.
The business was originally based in a spare room before moving to the basement of Rosemarie’s home.
Rosemarie Collections now has a separate office and storage space, six employees, and over 2,600 items for sale. In 2018, the business sold and shipped over 46,000 items and sells in 7 countries across the world.
“I think we’re successful because we have a wide range of customers,” says Jubal. “Our collections appeal to different audiences from teenagers through senior citizens. We have over 3,000 styles from fashion forward to bridal to inspirational and religious.”
The pair travels together to trade shows where they see the newest trends and buy in bulk for the next year.
“It’s important to buy and react early in this business,” says Jubal. “Rosemarie and I have different tastes and that works. She likes classic styles and I’m more fashion forward.”
In the beginning, the business ran lean and mean. Jubal and Rosemary didn’t pay themselves much and put most of the profits back into the business. After the pair formed their LLC, they used a business credit card for expenses but eventually needed more funding to keep up with 4th quarter demand. “We never have enough for the 4th quarter so we took out short term loan from with a 6-month payback term. I knew I needed something better.”
During this time, tragedy struck. Rosemarie was hit by a car and suffered a brain injury. She survived and is thriving but it took time. “It was a big challenge and took a year or two to get through that,” says Jubal.
Once Rosemarie’s health was stable again, Jubal revisited the idea of applying for a small business loan as they were maxing out their business credit card to keep up with demand. She approached her local bank but the rates and terms weren’t any better than she was getting. She explored SBA loans and connected with SmartBiz Loans to start an application. Jubal worked closely with SmartBiz Relationship Manager Manish.
“He was just great–very helpful and supportive throughout the entire process.”
Manish says, “Working with Rosemarie Collections LLC was a great experience all around! It was very obvious from the beginning that Jubal and Rosemarie have a strong passion for what they do and have dedicated years into growing their business. Rosemarie Collections had consistent year-over-year revenue growth. However, the owners both wanted to surpass historical growth level. In order to support the scaling business, the guarantors reached out to SmartBiz for their financing needs. This business is now set up to have record high sales for the remainder of the year, setting them up for a strong 2020. I can't wait to see how far Rosemarie Collections goes!”
Jubal took the lead when it came to completing the SBA loan application. “I’m the financial person for the business. I keep the books and work with our accountant. The SmartBiz platform was simple and I love that I could upload documents online and didn’t have to scan and fax.” Rosemarie Collections secured a low-cost SBA loan for $100,000 with a ten-year term and low monthly payments from a SmartBiz marketplace bank.
The loan funded at the right time to stock up for the 4th quarter. “We’re mostly using the funds for merchandise,” reports Jubal. “We’re also going to upgrade a laptop and printer. Our Instagram and Facebook posts are sporadic so we’re looking for some social media support in the spring.” Because of the wide demographics of their customers, the pair is also interested in creating separate websites for better target marketing. “We want to brand our products in different ways. For example, have one website for inspirational jewelry, one that’s focused on fashion.”
As the business expands, Jubal says time management is a challenge. “Turning it off at night is tough.” The partners put in a lot of hours but it’s the perfect fit for Jubal. “I don’t get many days off but the best thing about having a business is that I can stay home with my kids. I have a 15-month-old and a 4-year-old that keep me busy.”
Jubal and Rosemarie are grateful for the opportunity to own their own business. “We truly realize how lucky we are and like to give back,” says Jubal. “A portion of sales of selected products is donated different charities. We are thankful for the opportunity to work in a business that we love and have true passion for.”