This Startup Handmade Business Makes Little Girls’ Dresses That Last for Generations

Gene Marks

Business owner and fashion designer Elizabeth Seghezzi started hand sewing in elementary school, but she didn’t get her first sewing machine until she was 20. She studied textile design at the Savannah College of Art and Design and honed her design skills in the costume department at the Boston Ballet before starting her own company in April 2016. Based in San Francisco, Elizabeth on Jones is named for the street on which it’s located.

Elizabeth’s dresses for little girls have impeccable detail not usually found in children’s clothing and are unique because they’re made to last for generations.

Tell us about your company.

It is a girlswear brand designed for ages two to 10 years, offering limited-edition handmade collections that combine classic silhouettes with gorgeous, vibrant fabrics that come from all over the country. Each garment is designed and crafted to maintain relevance through time in both construction and style.

My inspiration comes from the mastery, focus, and dedication of European couturiers Cristóbal Balenciaga and Jeanne Lanvin. I try to mirror these traits in my work and pride myself on my attention to detail. My goal is to make dresses that appeal both to little girls and their parents. I’m excited about my new collection, which I introduced on October 8th!

Is getting new business one of your top three challenges? Why or why not?

Absolutely! I’m always looking to grow and reach my latest sales goal. When I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, it’s helpful to look back at previous growth while also planning my next approach. Lately, I’ve been working hard to figure out which digital marketing approach is most effective. There are so many approaches, which can be very overwhelming for startups like mine.

What is your biggest marketing challenge?

It’s a challenge to put out valuable, high-quality content on a regular basis. Instagram is my top priority when it comes to social media/digital marketing, but it’s time-consuming and meticulous. Not only do you need high-quality images, but your brand story is just as important. I’m proud of my account so far, but I’m not able to post as often as I’d like. My company’s Instagram is at instagram.com/elizabethonjones/.

Where do you get your leads from?

Mostly from word of mouth. A good portion of my sales are either from repeat customers or new clients who were recommended by repeat customers. With a handmade business, excellence in quality, customer service, and making sure my customers are happy are vital. Instagram and Pinterest are the top two ways clients learn about, are directed to, and purchase from my website.

If you had a $1 million marketing budget, where would you spend it?

First, on regular photo shoots with some of my favorite photographers. Photographs are how people are initially introduced to my brand. My goal is to capture their attention through these images and bring them to my website. I’d also put more money into branding. I’d love to hire a graphic designer to create a new, stand-out logo. From there, I would update shipping boxes, tissue paper, clothing tags, the lining fabric, etc. to display my logo.

I’d also invest more in marketing. I’d run consistent ads on Google, Instagram, and Pinterest. This would help me immensely in reaching a much larger audience.

How do you make sure leads don’t fall through the cracks?

By using email marketing. I put together a simple email template that has proven to be incredibly useful—something with copy and images I can easily update and then send as a friendly reminder to everyone on my mailing list. I think it’s key to stay in customers’ minds, and doing that with photographs works best.

How many leads do you estimate turn into actual sales?

I’d say that I’m able to turn two to six of every 100 leads into actual sales.

What was your biggest marketing mistake?

Doing magazine advertising. It’s very expensive but has yet to result in an increase in traffic or sales for my company. It’s so fun to see my designs in print, but digital marketing is much more affordable and effective.

What marketing advice do you have for other business owners?

Identify your ideal clients and figure out how to get in front of them! Find out which social media platforms they use, what they read, where they live, where they shop, etc. Once you’ve done this, your attention to detail and customer service will determine whether they’ll buy from you or not.

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