APPLE PODCASTS | SPOTIFY | STITCHER Jessica Peddicord: Launching a Successful Ecommerce Shop From gorgeous watercolor crests and custom invitations to portraits and holiday-themed coffee mugs, Jessica Peddicord has done a bit of everything in the art world. Now a decade into running her heirloom artwork business, Jessica has found a way to strategically scale […]
From gorgeous watercolor crests and custom invitations to portraits and holiday-themed coffee mugs, Jessica Peddicord has done a bit of everything in the art world.
Now a decade into running her heirloom artwork business, Jessica has found a way to strategically scale her product line, picking up features in Southern Living and Veranda along the way. Her latest passion is helping other artists start and grow shops of their own.
In today’s episode, we get a behind-the-scenes look at how Jessica pairs her love for art with strategic data to grow her business, consistently creating products she enjoys making and her audience loves to buy.
Keep reading to hear Jessica’s story and how she broke free of the cycle of trading time for money!
Jessica has been an artist her whole life. “There’s this really cute photo of me sitting in my highchair covered in paint with my little paint brushes,” she says.
In college, she studied event planning with the hopes of becoming a wedding planner. Between internships and planning events for her sorority’s philanthropy group, she also started a blog to showcase her work.
The blog soon grew into an Etsy shop and the business side of Simply Jessica Marie was born.
Jessica launched her ecommerce business in 2013 with a few simple products. Although it was slow going at first, she made the most of every order and experimented with marketing her products on Instagram.
“Finding creative ways to set my brand apart through lifestyle photoshoots has been almost as fun as creating the actual products themselves.”
Aside from blogging and posting beautiful photos, Jessica also hosted giveaways, attended conferences, and partnered with other small businesses to get the word out. A college internship at Southern Weddings led to more connections in the industry.
Just a year and a half after launching, Jessica took her ecommerce business full-time.
Although Jessica had a great group of mentors to help her navigate business, those early years of entrepreneurship weren’t without challenges.
“As a new artist, you tend to undervalue your work. I had some emotional pricing issues that I had to work through for the first few years.”
On the advice of fellow creatives, Jessica took a ladder approach, raising her prices each time she booked a new client. She also learned to source wholesale elements for her products when she realized how much the retail price was cutting into her profits.
Those lessons are now the basis for Jessica’s Vendor’s Guide, which helps artists understand the operations side of running an ecommerce business.
From her first year in business, Jessica dipped her toe into lots of different areas. She offered custom paintings, portraits, social stationery, and even brand design. She also branched into education and taught calligraphy workshops.
In the end, her expansive product line and too many custom orders led to burnout. Taking The Blueprint Model helped her see that she needed to get strategic about her offers.
After taking inventory of which products sold the best and took the least amount of time to produce, Jessica scaled back her offers and implemented a new pricing structure.
For any entrepreneurs with an overwhelming product suite, Jessica’s advice is to focus on a few key offers.
“Figure out which products and services are the ones that you need to hone in on to grow your overall brand, instead of just being a one-stop shop for anything someone comes to you for.”
“That’s when things start to become a little bit easier – when you can find that sweet spot of what you love offering and what your customers love coming to you for. If there’s something that strikes a chord between the two, then you’ve found your golden point.”
As for her signature watercolor crests, Jessica found a way to make the process scalable with Crest Bar, a library of over 200 hand-painted icons, ready to be assembled with a variety of florals and monograms.
The result is that the customer receives a unique product and Jessica no longer needs to spend hours painting everything from scratch.
With so many ideas and limited time, Jessica often finds it difficult to narrow down her options. “It does frustrate me sometimes that I can’t just crank out all of the ideas that are in my head.”
Her solution is to look at the data, rather than pursuing every idea that interests her. Each year, Jessica sends out an audience survey to see what her customers are looking for and uses that to inform decisions about what to include in each collection.
In addition to asking her audience, Jessica also looks at which collections performed the best in terms of sales. Instead of just accepting that some months are slower than others, she aims to understand why. For example:
“Holiday sales are astronomically better than any other time of year. Is it because everyone’s shopping for gifts? Because there are big Black Friday sales? Are influencers sharing more? Is it because we’re featured in more gift guides?”
Once you understand what made one season so successful, you can capitalize on those marketing strategies for future launches.
Jessica’s biggest pinch-me moment in business was hiring her sister full-time, and she’s since added a studio assistant to the team as well.
“There are certain things that I feel like I was holding so close to my chest for the longest time that I really didn’t need to be continuing to do myself.”
One of the reasons why hiring a team is so important is because it allows your business to keep running even when you take time off.
At the time of our interview, Jessica was 34 weeks pregnant and planning her maternity leave. While she enjoys some time off with her new baby girl, her team will be working to keep business flowing smoothly.
Instead of making herself available around the clock, Jessica wants to empower her team to make their own decisions. They’ll collect questions throughout the week and check in during dedicated times when Jessica can address them all at once.
After a decade in business, Jessica would go back and tell her younger self, “You probably won’t have a clear path for where you’re going to end up.”
Trialing so many different offers helped Jessica find her sweet spot, creating products both she and her customers love. Once you find that sweet spot, Jessica says, “Lean into it and hire help so you’re not shouldering the weight of it all yourself. And then have fun building your unique business!”
To hear the rest of the story and what Shay is up to now, press play on the player above for the full interview or click here to download the transcript.
Filling homes with color and whimsy, Simply Jessica Marie offers classic prints and florals, personality-packed heirloom family crests and thoughtful watercolor gifts. Founded in August 2013, Simply Jessica Marie’s Lifestyle Shop provides charming, high-quality products that fill each day with breathtaking beauty, ranging from watercolor art prints to tea towels, wrapping paper, calendars and more.
The creative business also features the Crest Bar, bringing the stories of couples, families and businesses to life through cherished crests personalized with hand-created floral, color, monogram and icon selections and transformed into investment pieces that last a lifetime.
A family-owned and operated small business, Simply Jessica Marie is founded and owned by Jessica Peddicord, a Grand Millennial watercolor artist, crest designer and educator who is dedicated to preserving family memories and decorating intentionally. Passionate about teaching other small business owners, Jessica also offers online courses and her student-favorite vendor guide to help each student hone their craft, grow their own product shops and navigate their industry.
February 16, 2023