I have been getting tons of requests to do an insider post on my ring company, Everly. It has really consumed my life (in the best way possible). One of our founding principles (as well as me personally) is transparency. I love being raw and real with you all. So today, I am sharing everything. The office space, how I manage my business while I travel full-time, the best parts and the most challenging ones. All a part of the crazy ride of being an entrepreneur. I have never put so much of myself into any project before and it is the most gratifying thing to see it grow before my very eyes.
To be honest, when I started my dream of creating Everly, I could have never fathomed how big it would become so fast. Every entrepreneur hopes for it, but I don’t think anyone can be fully prepared. I know I wasn’t, but like with anything else, you figure it out along the way, problem-solve, celebrate and innovate as much as you can.
Shown stacked: Lettie, Zahara, Honor, Zahara, Lettie
I technically started Everly in October of 2015. But really, until October 2016, it was a hobby and not truly a business. It was right after our wedding that Everly went through a complete pivot of strategy, a re-brand and I truly focused in on what I wanted it to become and where it was going long-term.
I started Everly because, being honest, we had spent a lot of my engagement ring. When we were shopping around for my wedding band, it was simply too much. Side note, I almost went to get my Gemology degree and I always had a passion for diamond-alternative stones that were conflict and eco-friendly. So the first Everly ring was actually my wedding band, that I still wear today.
Fast forward to now, not even one year after, we have expanded to a team of seven and a true office space. This is coming from where we were at a year ago: just me, in my Seattle apartment, signing emails as “The Everly Team.” I signed it as that, even though it was just me, because I knew someday there would there would be a bunch of us, all working towards the same goal.
I founded Everly with a simple, yet powerful mission:
“To inspire and heighten the style and spirit of both our customers and team alike, through dream rings and unparalleled service that stems from the desire to truly enhance lives and innovate beyond the norm.”
Now, on to some of your most asked questions:
How did you start Everly?
Honestly, this is what I tell everyone: you don’t need a ton of money, you don’t need employees and you don’t need to have a degree. What you need is grit, an unparalleled determination and offering something that is needed in the market place.
I started Everly when we were 100% broke. I had $99, a dream and a WIX site (for $199 for the entire year), which at the time, I had to put on a credit card.
I ran it out of our Seattle apartment and in the beginning, only bought one of each ring. I did this to quality test and take pictures. I couldn’t afford to sit on inventory. I found a manufacturer and made an unconventional agreement: when I got an order for a ring, they would ship it to me and I would pay for rings only once they sold. They agreed to do this, because I promised, that within two years, I would buy a (read: terrifyingly) large quantity.
I kept my promise and now we have a rather large inventory that takes up an entire wall, floor to ceiling. Honestly, I get emotional every time I am in the offices and see that. Because even back in February, we only had two ring trays (so crazy!)
How did you figure out packaging, shipping, designing, etc.?
Once again, I’m going to be 100% honest with you. When you start a business, you don’t go for perfection, you go for continuous improvement and innovation, day after day.
Some call it resourcefulness or just being scrappy, but I call it Google University. You can figure out or find anyone or anything you need. Like most things, it is trial and error. You find what works, do more of that and very quickly, you figure out what doesn’t and avoid that.
For Everly, I asked a ton of my male friends and acquaintances of all ages, what they would want in a company that they would buy their wife or girlfriend gifts from. It came down to ease, free shipping, gift-ready packaging and great exchange policies. That’s exactly what we did.
For our designs (my absolute favorite part of running this company), I get inspired from a lot of places. But truth be told, I love crowd-sourcing our designs and really catering to what our customers want. This summer, so many of you said we needed asscher cuts (which is the center stone on my personal engagement ring) so for fall, we have some absolutely incredible pieces with asschers coming in. I absolutely love being able to take a $50,000 dream ring and then making it available in sterling silver and simulated diamonds for $99 or less.
How do you manage an office and employees (we call them team members) when you travel full-time?
This is where our innovative approach comes in. I have been in all sides of the fashion industry, so I felt like I had a really good comprehension of what is possible and what can work. I’ve worked floor-level retail, been in the buying department, been management, worked for online-only businesses as well as brick-and-mortar mom and pap shops and just about everything in between. So when I started Everly, I knew I wanted to shake things up a bit and disrupt how things are currently done.
Absolutely every aspect of our business has two parts: the online and the in-person piece. We keep track of absolutely everything in an online system. That way any of us can access it anytime and anywhere. That is crucial with me traveling full-time and rarely being at the office. This also allows our team to work from home, in a car or really anywhere and get back to each and every customer quicker and offer them an experience that we feel they can only get with us.
I feel it is imperative to make your team and customers equally happy. So our team works when they want. Yes, I am not kidding. They work when (and a lot of times where) it is convenient for them as long as our customers are taken care of to the best of our ability and packages are sent out each day. It is up to the six of them to coordinate and optimize their time so it is a win for them, our customers and the business.
In addition, they get a weekly ring allowance. They get to create their own Everly collections (which makes them really great at creating stacks) and that in turns helps us style and take care of our customers better. It is really fun because everyone on the team definitely has their own style and we try to match our customers to the team member that has a similar style. Grace is our glam girl, Kourtnie is edgier and I am a mix of both.
I am obsessed with our Jessie Kuruc water painted gemstones we have framed around the office. She is beyond talented.
What do you do that sets Everly apart?
We have a saying at Everly: we do things other companies won’t, so we can go places no other company has ever been.
We are by no means perfect but we strive for the Everly experience to be a personal one. A real person, real pictures of your stack before you buy, gift-ready packaging and someone that cares on the other side. This means all of us working at almost literally all hours of the day but we can do it together, as a united team. If you have ever got an email from our team way past work hours, that is why.
Below is a picture of Grace taking a picture of a customers stack request (one of our favorite parts of the job!)
On the wall behind the desk, you can get a glimpse of how we plan our collections. We are beyond excited for our Fall Collection, “The New Basics” to launch on September 15th!
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Enter below to win a 3-stack or an engagement ring + band of your choice. Giveaway starts today and closes Tuesday, August 15th. Please note that backordered styles can not be selected. US only.
Comment below with what 3 bands (or engagement ring + a band) you would choose if you won!
As always, thank you for reading and being so amazingly supportive always. I am constantly in awe.
See all of the Everly rings here
Get 15% off your purchase + free shipping in the US with code ‘CHICSTREET’