In the summer of 2010, I began thinking it might be really fun to build an internet business. Naturally, since I had worked part and full time in jewelry for 30 years, I decided on an internet jewelry business that would focus exclusively on hoop earrings, because it seems every woman everywhere wears hoop earrings.
I asked Ethan, this really bright, naturally entrepreneurial college student of mine from a class I taught on Entrepreneurship, if he wanted to partner with me on it. He seemed to have just as keen an interest in marketing as I did, but he knew more about marketing on the internet and setting up a website. He said yes and we started the planning for the business in February 2011.
In February, I enlisted a business partner, Ethan, and we began planning for our new business. Ethan was this really bright, naturally entrepreneurial college student of mine from a class I taught on Entrepreneurship, who had just as keen an interest in marketing as I did, as well as a sharp eye for website design. In the early days of LooptyHoops, Ethan and I would often meet in a coffee shop to develop our strategy for the company and review our results.
In June, the LooptyHoops website was officially born, and it has been growing ever since. Our mission: Adorning people everywhere with beautiful fine jewelry.
Also in June, we had our first customer: Kathi Clayton. I’ll always appreciate her support, as well as every customer since then! Back in those days, I wrote a thank you sign for each customer that I would attach to my emailed thank you. Now, each customer gets a non-personalized thank you sign photo with their personalized thank you note from someone on my staff or me. We so appreciate every time someone finds us on the web and chooses our jewelry to be theirs. It means the world to us.
In October, I attended the New York Jewelry Show, where I met the man who continues to be one of our sterling silver suppliers; here I am modeling one of the styles I chose (right). It was challenging to attend the show because I had broken my foot and was in a cast.
In December, we were featured on Corporette, a very well-read blog on fashion for professionals and "overachieving chicks," which gave us a spike in business and closed out the year on a high note.
In February, I again attended the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, as I had for many years when I had retail jewelry stores in Newport Beach and Irvine, CA, and in Scottsdale, AZ. I didn’t find many new suppliers of hoops because mostly what is sold there are loose gemstones. But look who I ran into! My jeweler from my Irvine store many years ago, Thomas Boyajian.
In June, we celebrated our first year in business!
In April, we began selling on Amazon.com. A few months later, we switched to Fulfillment by Amazon. That meant that we shipped our inventory to Amazon where it was stored in their warehouse until someone ordered it, and then they shipped it to the customer - or fulfilled it.
Coastal Living Magazine found us on the web and asked to showcase our hoops in their Thanksgiving issue that October. We received orders from it up to a year later! Many customers became repeat customers.
In July, I took the bus up to the 2014 New York Jewelers of America show for the day to find new styles to offer on our site and on Amazon.
In July, my artist nephew Adam Smith drew an illustration for us to include in our packaging, helping our customers know how to put on very small endless hoops.
By 2015, our at-home office had begun to spill over to my living spaces. Hillary was posting on Facebook and shipping from my dining room table, while Kristin and Grace were squeezed into my office. So a business colleague of mine offered to rent us much larger space for a really good price...
So in November it was time to pack it all up. Katie and Hillary helped fit everything into two cars and headed over from my home in Center City...
To our new offices in West Philadelphia! Everybody now had their own cubicle, and there were three offices for administration and shipping. Here’s Maria (left) on a rare in-office appearance helping out with the shipping since it was the Christmas season. She normally works from home emailing our Amazon customers.
We also began shipping through Amazon to Canada. Our first shipment leaves our office in November on its way to the Amazon warehouse in Canada so that we could sell on Amazon.ca to our neighbors above our border. Here I am sending our first Canadian orders on their way...
In the spring, my brother Oliver and I journeyed to Bangkok, Thailand, to attend an international jewelry show and visit with individual manufacturers to order custom-designed jewelry. One morning, I enjoyed breakfast at the Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok (right), getting inspired for the long trade show days looking for new jewelry.
From there we flew to Hong Kong for another international show, where I met one of my favorite sterling silver hoop suppliers. He makes a hinged continuous hoop earring which is so easy to put on and stay on!
In June, we celebrated our five-year anniversary!
That summer, my nephew Riley and his girlfriend Alexa came to the LooptyHoops office for a photo shoot. One of my male customers had suggested that we include photos of men wearing hoops on our site, so we began to do that about a year before this. Alexa became one of our favorite models because she’s beautiful and does a great job!
This was a big year for LooptyHoops - we packed up our Philadelphia office and moved to the suburbs. I had been wanting to live on my family's farm, and I decided that it would be best if the company came with me! We relocated to a small office in Lansdale, about an hour outside of Philadelphia. There were only a few of us squeezed into a one room office, but it was a welcome change.
I attended the Vicenza Oro jewelry show in Italy in the spring. It was my first time at this show, and I had such fun!
In June, we headed west to JCK Las Vegas, the largest jewelry trade show in the country, on the hunt for new products to showcase. We found new suppliers from Spain and beyond.
This year presented us with several unique challenges - as we continued to expand, we had to adapt and hone in on what was most important to LooptyHoops. As always, the customer experience remained at the forefront.
Towards the end of 2018, we realized that our growth meant we would need a bigger office. In March of 2019, we moved into a bigger office that gave us the opportunity to include more staff and house more of our incredible inventory. We even had the layout designed just for LooptyHoops!
After the move, I attended the Jewelers of America show in New York City. I love traveling for this event; it is a great opportunity to meet new and existing suppliers, and to choose more jewelry.
I try to attend the International Jewelry Show Oro Arezzo in Italy each year, and this year was truly one to remember. In addition to finding lots of beautiful new hoops, I also met a wonderful new vendor, and we have been collaborating ever since!
In the fall of 2019 we were able to participate in a fundraiser for a local K-12 school in our area. This was our first time taking part in an event like this and it was so much fun! We met new members of our community and introduced them to our company, and we helped raise funds for the school - a win-win. My niece Lilly helped me that day.
What a year! Everyone has their own story about how COViD-19 has affected their lives, and ours has been a bit of a rollercoaster. We are located in Pennsylvania, and our governor instituted a lockdown in mid-March. This meant all of our operations had to be done from home. We began to communicate with each other by phone, email, and Zoom calls.
When the pandemic began, sales came crashing down because of all the uncertainty. In April, however, people began buying online more and more, and because we are an online-only business, our sales began to increase. One of the more difficult aspects of these shutdowns has been working with our suppliers; we work with suppliers all over the world, and each of them has had to shut down their factories this year at one time or another. Fortunately, we acted quickly and were able to secure enough inventory to satisfy our customers' needs.
We have streamlined how we do business by focusing on the buyer's experience, and we have been taking a closer look at how we can best support our loyal customers. We have been busy forecasting for Christmas and are doing everything we can to meet the demand. All of the trade shows I had hoped to attend have been cancelled or postponed until further notice. Throughout it all, the LooptyHoops team has become stronger and more determined than ever before.
LooptyHoops was launched in June 2011 and has been growing ever since. We have been expanding our inventory to include other jewelry items such as pendants and charms. We want to know your thoughts and ideas on how we can continue to improve and fulfill our mission - adorning people everywhere with beautiful fine jewelry. Thank you.
As the pandemic continued into this year causing so much angst and challenges for so many people, our customers brought us so much joy and positivity! This year our amazing customers continued to count on us to provide them with beautiful jewelry and we aimed to do that with the personalized service they deserve. Even though there were overall global production delays and unstable shipping times, by planning ahead, we were able to avoid any stock issues and provided all the varieties of hoops our customers desired. LooptyHoops continued to thrive and build off of 2020 to have great success this year.
Susan and Jason were able to attend the JA New York Fine Jewelry Trade Show in August, and we continued our search to find the latest trends in jewelry that we know our customers will love.
We found the new “paperclip” necklaces, bangle and chain bracelets, as well as expanded our selection of our customer favorite Huggie Hoops! Our Huggie Hoops have become some of our best selling styles for both Men and Women. With that in mind, we found new styles that we are thrilled to share with everyone this year and into 2022!
We can not wait to see what the future holds, and are excited to provide our customers with fine jewelry for many years to come!
After an amazing 2021, we have started 2022 with excitement and optimism as we continue to strive for our goal of adorning people everywhere with beautiful fine jewelry and even better customer service! As the world continues with many uncertainties, we always hope to provide an easy shopping experience and we work hard to continue to build trust with every customer.