SmallTownNews
Online business success for Del. resident

By Molly MacMillan

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

Sandy Bodeau said she didn't know what she was in for when she started selling her jewelry designs online.

A former political staffer, full-time student and wife, Bodeau convinced a retired fashion designer in Spain - her mother to get involved, and the pair created two online jewelry stores.

As news spread through tweets and social media, the business began to take on a life of its own, she said.

"It just happened by chance really; we didn't mean to create the business," Bodeau said. "I had been working in politics for years, and I took a year off. I've always been into fashion. My mom is a fashion designer in Spain, and I found myself with all this free time, and so I started making some jewelry."

The jewelry drew the interest of friends, and after she taught her mother to make a couple of her designs, Bodeau, a Smyrna resident, said the team decided for fun they would launch an online business in Spain: www.siraymaraspain.com.

"At first we thought it was going to be kind of a fun thing to do and make a few bracelets for some friends, but in a month we couldn't keep up," she said.

Keeping potential shoppers updated through Facebook fan posts and tweets, Bodeau said, she was able to continue growing the online jewelry store and soon launched another business: www.siramarausa.com.

With jewelry designs tailored to American tastes, she said, a majority of the business' exposure now stems from the websites such as Pintrest and the support of fashion bloggers like Tara Kucker, the central New Jersey writer behind www.mixandmatchfashion.com.

Kucker said she launched her blog nearly two-and-a-half years ago after she started reading fashion blogs and decided she should launch her own. The blogger said she started her personal style blog to show women they can have fun with their wardrobe at home and in many business environments as well.

Kucker said she likes to incorporate Sira & Mara jewelry into outfits she shows on her blog, and the partnership with Bodeau has been mutually beneficial to both websites.

"I love Sira & Mara jewelry because it is on trend, beautiful, and most of all, extremely affordable," Kucker said. "They are also constantly coming out with new designs, which keeps things interesting."

As one of nearly 25 bloggers that feature Sira & Mara jewelry, Kucker's blog feeds traffic to Sira & Mara daily. With two to three features in fashion blogs each week plus other exposure in social networks, the designer said business has grown from 150 orders each month to nearly 600.

"We just taught ourselves and got ideas from the web; I didn't study this for sure. My mom has the vision for creating, anft she knows how to draw very well. We put our heads together, and we just did it," Bodeau said. "It was a creative process. It was not a result of formal training."

With so much volume, the mother-daughter team that formerly ran the entire business from manufacturing to promotion and marketing online was recently forced to hire out for manufacturing and readjust their lives to the unexpected twist of fate.

While she started the business when she returned to school after taking time off from politics, Boudeau said with the newfound success of her business, it may be more than a year before she can return.

"It was very unexpected. It was not intentional; it was more of a thing to do with my mom. It was not to make money," she said. "My plan was not that. I was wanting to return to politics, but I think not now. I may return, but for now, this is my full-time job." Sira & Mara USA Jewelry is available at www.siramara usa.com, and Spanish selections are available at wwwsiraymaras-pain.com.



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