Meet Trish Kozub from iDazz Jewelry
My business got its start 20 years ago while living in LaJolla, CA. I brought a babysitter to a bead store and that was the beginning of a lifelong addiction. I went back every day while my oldest was in school. I would bring my other 2 children with me...my 4 year old played at a table sequencing beads and my 1.5 year would take his daily nap in his stroller. My original intention was to just make holiday gifts but soon my stash was overflowing. We moved back to MA and I started wearing my creations around town. I would get stopped by people asking where I got the necklace/bracelet/earrings. At that time there weren't many people making jewelry so it gave me an "idea".
I decided to "start" a business..whatever that meant at the time. My original company name was Beadazzled. My husband said it was a poor choice since it was a trademarked name. I didn't listen to him because my intentions at the time were to just make holiday gifts and sell at a few home shows. Only 2 short years later I changed and incorporated my name when I decided to go online and start doing lots of artisan markets. If I were to do it again, I would not use the name iDazz. My husband named it and I was lackadaisical. Oh well...too late to change it again :-)
18 years ago I decided to give up home shows and dive head first into artisan markets. I fell in love with the energy of these shows...being around amazingly talented artisans prompted me to up my design game and I also loved meeting so many interesting and wonderful customers. Side note here...my career before being a stay at home mom was a sales engineer with IBM. The training I received there is known to be the best in the industry. I learned how important it is to keep a customer for life. I carried that motto forward in my small business. I really believe this to my core and I always make business decisions with that in mind.
I am so incredibly blessed that my business has grown every year. It takes lots of hard work and dedication to your art form.
In a typical year I do about 80 days of shows. I love every minute of it and hope my aging body can keep up with my ambitions :-)
I honestly don't focus too much on what I want my business to become. I never dreamt that this little hobby would morph into a company that could support my family, be a wonderful role model for my daughter (she has started her own accessory business) and give me so much satisfaction, joy and happiness.
pro.found: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur? What are you most proud of?
Trish: The biggest challenge I face is that I am primarily a one woman show. I am so grateful that my husband manages the mechanics of my website. If it weren't for him, I truly don't think I would have the bandwidth to do it. My daughter and a couple of friends help me out at larger shows. Other than that I do it all. I source my raw materials (vintage pieces are very time consuming to curate the perfect pieces), design, make, sell, ship, do social media posts, paperwork and customer support. My least favorite piece is paperwork....I much prefer to be working with customers or product.
I am most proud of my loyal customer base. As I noted above, it is a core belief of mine to keep a customer for life. I have so many that have been with me for years, and for that I am grateful, humbled, and blessed.
pro.found: What keeps you going?
Trish: Thankfully I absolutely LOVE what I do. When you love what you do, 80 hours a week is easy to do :-)
What sets your products/business apart?
I think what sets iDazz apart from other jewelry companies is that I curate only the finest quality gemstones, pearls and vintage parts. I design pieces that are wearable and sustainable. I also feel as though my customer service is not to be surpassed. The customer is always right and I will do what it takes to keep them for life.
pro.found: What is one thing essential to your success?
Trish: I was able to build a successful business because I had the support of my family. When my kids were younger, my weekend markets meant that I unfortunately missed out on games and other activities . My husband was very supportive and did all the supervising and shuttling.
pro.found: What is one thing you cannot live without (personally or professionally)?
Trish: Family means everything to me.
pro.found: There’s a common theme with family values among our vendors. What were you like growing up? Interests, personality, etc?
Trish: I grew up in Upstate NY and am the youngest of 6. I was incredibly blessed to be adopted into a loving family. I couldn't have chosen a more amazing family! My mom always saw a creative streak in me and because of that I was always enrolled in clay, dance and jewelry making classes at a local art institute. I thought of it as a hobby and never dreamt that I would be doing something creative in my life. I went to Union College and graduated with a BS in Engineering. Did I mention that I also LOVE math....
pro.found: What advice do you have for aspiring creative entrepreneurs?
Trish: Don't overthink every decision. Analysis can sometimes be paralyzing. Follow your gut, be the best you can be, prepare to work harder than you ever have in your life and enjoy the ride!
pro.found: Why do you choose to participate in the pro.found market? What does being pro.found mean to you?
Trish: Flashback 3.5 years ago. Many a night after dinner I enjoy a glass of wine while strolling through Facebook. I kept seeing ads for this market called Pro.Found. Eventually after seeing it numerous times I clicked on the link to see what it was all about. I saw it was in Lancaster. I had never heard of that town so I googled how far it was from my house (I lived in Hopkinton MA at the time). 20 minutes. Hmmmm. I love to buy vintage and I incorporate lots of vintage in my product. I thought why not? At a minimum I will shop. Oh.my.God....that first market was amazing. The vibe was like nothing I had ever experienced. I was smitten! Not only did I sell a ton, I met lots of new people and felt like I had discovered the best little secret. Thankfully I have been able to participate in all subsequent ones and they never disappoint. In fact, they have pretty much grown to be my favorite shows of the year! I am proud to be a part of this amazing market and I am soooooo grateful that I clicked on that original ad. Being Pro.Found means being the best you can be!
pro.found: We are so glad you took a chance on us! Where can our followers find you when you’re not a part of our show?
Trish: You can shop my website idazz.com. I’m on Instagram @idazzjewelry and my Facebook group iDazz Custom Designs VIP is where I alert my fans with new items, pop ups, giveaways and promotions.
pro.found: Thank you so much for sharing about your business. We look forward to getting back on the field soon!
All that 'dazz': Hopkinton company sparkles with home and Internet sales of jewelry
By Bob Tremblay / News Business Writer
HOPKINTON -- For jewelry designer Trish Kozub, what began as a pastime turned into a passion that turned into a business that now turns a pretty profit.
In a metamorphosis that would shame a butterfly, Kozub has transformed a hobby into a business that annually sells more than 1,000 pieces of homemade, custom-designed jewelry from homes and, since June, on the Internet.
Her company, iDazz, as in "I dazzle," has been doing just that to its clientele with its wide array of baubles, bangles and beads ever since its opening in 2000. Customers now number more than 1,500 and business has experienced double-digit growth every year, she says.
What they come for are Kozub's creative designs and quality materials.
"What people comment on is they like my color combinations," says Kozub. "They also love the clasps I use. I don't spare any money when I buy clasps. To me, that's what makes the piece."
Customer service is a key component as well. "I have a policy that if you lose an earring, I'll replace it free of charge," says Kozub. "I'll re-string items -- make them bigger or smaller -- free of charge. If anything goes wrong, I'm there to take care of it. I stand behind the product 100 percent. It should last for a long, long time."
Kozub says she's never had to advertise her business. Home parties, the Internet and particularly word of mouth do the trick. For that reason, she has adopted a sales philosophy where simply selling a piece of jewelry to a client isn't enough. Selling the right piece of jewelry is.
"I don't mislead people," she says. "If someone puts something on and I don't think it's the right color for them, I'll be very honest.... My business grows because people wear my jewelry. The last thing I want for them to do is buy something that doesn't look good on them, that they're not going to wear. They're going to get home, look in the mirror and realize it isn't working. It's going to sit in a jewelry box. People aren't going to see it and your business doesn't grow that way."
The origins of iDazz began when Kozub and her family moved from Hopkinton to La Jolla, Calif., in January 2000. She went to a beads store there and got to know the manager who taught her how to make jewelry.
"It became an addiction," says Kozub, describing her foray into jewelry making. "I just couldn't stop. That was four years ago, and I'm still beading every day. I rarely stop."
When her family returned to Hopkinton six months later, Kozub started wearing the jewelry she had made in California. She also started to receive compliments about it. "People kept asking me, 'Where did you get that?' And when I said I made it, they'd ask, 'Can you make one for me?' And they kept asking, and I thought, 'Well, maybe I'll do just a little open house.' I made a bunch of things and invited 100 friends and I sold everything I made. So I thought I'd do another one and it just kept growing. Another person said, 'Can you do a home party in my house?' It grew that way."
While Kozub still does home parties, she sees the Internet as a tool to further boost the company's sales. "We started iDazz.com because it was getting hard to keep up with the demand of the home parties. I was doing about one a week," she says. "Also, a lot of my customers who had moved to other parts of the country were asking me to send them things. This (Web site) gives more access to more people. To order online is another dimension."
iDazz.com includes such features as HusbandAlert, where wives fill out a wish list, which is sent to their husbands who then order from the list; iDazz Zoom, where potential customers get a very close picture of the jewelry for sale; and Virtual House Parties, where interested individuals choose and buy a package of items, host their own home show and receive a percentage of the sales.
With the Web site, potential clients can buy iDazz jewelry without booking an appointment for a party. Kozub credits her husband, Mike, for the Internet push.
What iDazz offers are watches, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rosary beads, cross necklaces, ankle bracelets and rings. Materials include sterling silver, abalone shells, freshwater pearls, rubies, sapphires and hand-blown glass beads. Kozub acquires these at gem shows, over the Internet and from vendors and artisans.
One of iDazz' hottest items is its mother's bracelet. It includes the names of the owner's children in sterling silver letters with up to five strands possible. The bracelet also contains Swarovski crystals and can be made with 14-karat gold fill. Kozub wears one herself, showcasing the names of her children -- Caroline, Michael and Andrew, aka Drew, aka Drewsie.
Prices range from $18 for earrings to $158 for a four-strand mother's bracelet. The average cost for iDazz jewelry is $68.
For Kozub, iDazz represents an ideal situation. She can operate a business and remain a stay-at-home mom. A mechanical engineer who graduated first in her class at Union College, she worked as a sales engineer at IBM before launching her career as a mom.
"I find this very relaxing," she says of the creative process. "When I buy my raw materials, I don't have any preconceived notion of what I'm going to make. I'll like the ure and the color. Then I'll come home and spread it all out on the table and just start playing around with combinations. I love seeing things together with different ures.
"As a stay-at-home mom, I tend to wear black turtlenecks and jeans or khaki shorts and a white top so this jewelry you can wear as your stay-at-home uniform and put on a fun necklace or bracelet to feel updated. A lot of people in the working world wear it, too. It goes from very casual to very dressy."
Kozub describes the jewelry as "sassy, fun and affordable."
For the the future, in addition to solidifying its Internet presence, iDazz is in the process of adding to its staff of one.
"I'm training two people right now in the hopes of having more in 2004," she says. "I'd like to start some manufacturing by teaching others to put the jewelry together based on my designs. They can take the materials home and work there."
Consider it just another example of iDazz spreading its wings.
The company holds its fourth open house at Hopkinton Country Club, 204 Saddle Hill Road, Dec. 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Owner and founder: Trish Kozub
Company background: Based in Hopkinton, iDazz designs, creates and sells handmade jewelry. Its Web site is www.idazz.com.
Local mother finds time to dazzle
Wednesday, November 26
In early 2000 Trish Kozub of Hopkinton had no idea that agreeing to move her family to La Lolla, California would lead her into a double life.
Yet, today the mother of three is a jewelry maven, designing custom jewelry under the iDazz(tm) label for clients across Eastern Massachusetts and, increasingly across the US.
The company offers custom creations including watches, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, anklets and pendants crafted from sterling silver, fresh water pearls, Swarovski crystal, Lampwork glass beads and semi-precious stones.
In January 2000 Trish reluctantly agreed to her husband's plan to move to LaJolla but only on the condition they not sell their Hopkinton home of almost 10 years.
In La Jolla Trish quickly adjusted to every-day sun and 70 degree weather. Between daily trips to the beach with her children, golf, and frequent visits to LegoLand, Seaworld, and the San Diego Zoo, Trish managed to spend increasing amounts of time in the local bead store.
When visiting family and friends asked where she bought the creations she was wearing, they were floored to learn Trish made them herself. Soon Trish was giving jewelry as gifts. Not long after, they were offering to pay for the items.
Six months later the internet bubble burst and so did the Kozub's La Jolla "vacation". Back home in Massachusetts, Trish found it near impossible to say no to requests for more "creations".
By fall of 2000, her business had grown by word of mouth and ever-increasing home parties all over eastern Massachusetts.
As customers moved to other parts of the country, they brought Tricia's creations with them. Trish's products were moving to Tampa, Chicago, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and countless other communities.
Soon, demand was so high, she and her husband turned to the internet to help keep up. They named their new Website iDazz.com.
The site allows people across the country to host "jewelry parties" where women browse the Website for jewelry and place their orders online.