Elaine Unzicker’s fascination with chain mail began while she was pursuing her Master of Fine Arts Degree. She was intrigued to discover that metal could be soft. In 1993, she started her own business selling chain-metal jewelry. Ten years later, her work expanded to include clothing, purses, belts, gloves and scarves. Customers who buy these unique pieces find them strangely empowering, and enjoy wearing designs created by an artist whose work is on display at the Smithsonian, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other galleries across the country.
Unzicker started making enough money to leave her day job in 1997. Since then, she has had her work in countless juried shows. She and her husband developed a website and ecommerce business to supplement her income, and now have a marketing strategy in place to target their specific customer base. As a result, they have seen increased recognition of their brand.
Unzicker came to SCORE weary of traveling for the juried shows on which she relied for much of her income and concerned about the decline of that particular market (and thus her income) due to online sales. She and her husband attended several SCORE workshops on marketing and developed a strategy that included saving costs by maintaining their own website. She also uses email and social media marketing. Unzicker says, “The marketing workshops have helped to target a more specific customer base and given us methods to reach them.”
SCORE mentor Robert Tongen has helped Unzicker and her husband create a spreadsheet to track their finances and has held them accountable for meeting their goals. He regularly checks in to see how they are doing. Unzicker calls him “our guidance counselor mentor.”
Another SCORE mentor, James Bond, has helped them develop their brand – including their slogan, story, elevator speech, logo, hang tags and other promotional materials. Bond is now working with the couple to finalize a presentation to upscale retail stores.