Meeting with Caroline Lessard, founder and owner of Bijoux L’ESCARGOT
Caroline Lessard is the founder of the online jewellery shop Bijoux L’ESCARGOT, a business specialized in bridal jewellery.
This solopreneur is bright and down to earth, just like the jewelry she sells. In just a few years, this mom of three founded her business and made it grow to worldwide notoriety while staying true to her values.
Meet this woman of heart and character…
Putting her heart into her work
Caroline Lessard has never been intimidated by work. Having graduated in hotel management, she was active for many years in many Quebec City area restaurants and hotels, and though time-consuming, she loved her job.
After giving birth to her daughter, Caroline tries likes many Moms to balance family life and work. Until her second pregnancy when she learns that her unborn child has a severe heart defect which will require interventions and lifelong care…
Only a few months after her son’s birth, many of which are spent at the hospital, she is forced to go back to working nights, reluctant and worried.
In the past, Caroline had created jewellery, but making a living out of it had never occurred to her…
When she becomes pregnant with her third child, she must face the facts: she needs a job tailored to her situation, a job which will allow her time for her family. This job, she will create for herself.
Caroline grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, she is not the type to let life rule over her.
Already studying to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management, she decides to shift towards a Bachelor in Business Administration which she successfully completes.
Slowly but surely, her vision takes shape: she will build her own online shop. And it will be a success, she is determined.
And so Bijoux L’ESCARGOT is born.
One gem at a time
At first, Caroline sells her own creations, but she eventually decides to deal with suppliers and better target her customers: brides and grooms.
Her strength? She is always on the lookout for new ideas, and there are only solutions out there.
“I succeeded in my business when no one believed in it”, she explains. “Now I am a part of the market and my work is known in this segment; for this I am particularly proud.”
And so she should be:
Her shop Bijoux L’ESCARGOT has 2,000 products online, 55,000 Facebook fans and customers in more than 12 countries.
A down to earth entrepreneur
While tenacity and determination are Caroline’s strengths, her secret weapon lies in managing her social media well.
Early on she understood the importance of human connections in building her brand – getting to know people and creating bonds.
She is very active on Facebook, posting photos and videos, giving tips, creating contacts with brides and grooms, all with a touch of humour and most of all, staying accessible!
For her, a personalized service is critical in order to stand out. Whether through Facebook, by email or by phone, she is always available to give custom advice to her customers.
There aren’t that many French-speaking bridal specialists out there, so Caroline quickly builds a loyal customer base that just keeps on growing.
Bijoux L’ESCARGOT not only has a beautiful selection of jewellery, its prices are competitive et shipping costs low.
“No matter their budget, I want my customers to find what they are looking for”, she explains. That is really important to her. Stainless, silver, 10 K gold, 14 K, diamonds, Bijoux L’ESCARGOT has something for everyone’s taste, whether simple or sophisticated.
“I don’t just want them buying jewellery. I am also there to give advice.”
To that end, she quickly sets up a blog on her website.
“The guidance is good for all brides and grooms, whether or not they end up purchasing on my site. I want people to feel that I am an expert in the domain.”
And what is here greatest wish? To become a point of reference in weddings in Quebec.
And she is on the right track…
In spite of sales continuing to grow and her being very active on her blog and social media, Caroline is always striving to do more.
Recently, she started her own YouTube channel where she showcases her products but also takes the stage to give advice to brides and grooms in a humorous tone.
She has also started working on a new project with experts in different areas of the wedding industry (wedding planners, photographers, travel agents, fashion consultants, and so on) to regularly publish articles and videos addressed to brides and grooms.
In short, many gems to be added in her thriving business!
When I asked Caroline, what would be her best advice to a young entrepreneur, she says TRAINING.
Personally, she always strived to surround herself with professionals of all backgrounds in order to improve her marketing and entrepreneurship abilities, but also to work on herself and her self-esteem.
She has taken online training from Amy Porterfield and Melanie Duncan, but her favorites are in Quebec: Mélissa Normandin-Roberge, Martin Latulippe, and Guillaume Bareil, with whom she has and continues to work with.
“You have to surround yourself with the right people, seek advice, find mentors that will push you to out-do yourself”, she says. “You also have to create a network, find ways to connect with other entrepreneurs through Facebook groups, workshops or training.”
I can only agree: networking gives birth to new projects, develops the individual, and takes the business forward.
The joys and challenges of entrepreneurship
Customizing your own work gives you liberty, of course. But mostly, it’s non-stop work, I can’t stress this enough. And Caroline confirms it too:
“Many people think all you have to do is place a couple of products on a website for sales to take off, but really, that is only the beginning.” She adds: “After that, it’s a lot of work to stay active, visible, find new ideas, reach your customers and keep them happy.”
You have to find your niche, and work hard to keep improving. That requires a lot of organization and self-discipline.
Caroline admits she struggles to delegate: “My business is like my fourth child.” And you don’t leave your child to just any sitter!
Gradually though, she’s been able to build great collaborations and she now has a few people subcontracting for her.
The Buster Fetcher bonus
Buster Fetcher has been a great find, one that has only benefited her business. And this time, Caroline is happy to delegate!
When asked to sum up the Buster Fetcher advantage in one word, she gives me three: EASE, SIMPLICITY, AFFORDABILITY.
“Buster Fetcher saves me time and money. By myself, I would never have filed a claim just to get $10 back. It’s a pretty boring chore and I don’t have time to take care of it. But if someone does it for me, I’ll take the money.”
With more than 150 parcels a week, knowing that up to 20% of shipments made are delivered late to customers, we are sure to get back some of the shipping fees, without paying at all!
And Bijoux L’ESCARGOT is not done shipping. Next projects: penetrate Europe, enter the English market, and become the #1 reference in the wedding industry.
If you ask me, I am convinced this heart and soul business which sells diamonds has a bright future!
Surround yourself with the right people, seek advice, find mentors that will push you to out-do yourself, create a network, find ways to connect with other entrepreneurs
Business in numbers
2,000: number of products online
55,000: number of Facebook fans
12: number of countries where Bijoux L’ESCARGOT ships to
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