Honest Ecommerce

220 | Focusing on Community and Niche Markets | with Tiffany Joachim

Episode Summary

On this podcast, we talk about the growing trend of livestream selling, the market power of Latin-Hispanic audiences in the US, having the message and target audience as Celeste Sol’s USP, and so much more!

Episode Notes

Tiffany Joachim is the Owner and Co-Founder of Celeste Sol Jewelry. 

She began her career as a Buyer, working in Dallas and New York City for big box retailers such as, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, and Ross Stores for 10 years. 

When needing to relocate to Miami for her husband’s work, she decided to take the opportunity to use her knowledge as a merchant to revive and rebrand a 60+ year old family owned jewelry store located in Puerto Rico. 

Launched in 2019, Celeste Sol is a fashion jewelry brand that strives to connect community, culture, and fashion, all at affordable price points. 

As a first generation Dominican, Tiffany’s deep commitment to supporting and empowering Women of Color is visible in Celeste Sol, with a portion of all sales going towards their charitable partners that share in her mission.

In This Conversation We Discuss: 


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Episode Transcription

Tiffany Joachim  

We're really seeing an emergence of the consumer gravitating to live stream shopping. It represents 70% of retail sales in China. Right now in the US, it's only 2%.

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, a podcast dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And I believe running a direct-to-consumer brand does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

On this podcast, we interview founders and experts who are putting in the work and creating  real results. 

I also share my own insights from running our top Shopify consultancy, Electric Eye. We cut the fluff in favor of facts to help you grow your Ecommerce business.

Let's get on with the show.

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. 

And today we're welcoming to the show, Tiffany Joachim. She comes to us from Celeste Sol

They are an amazing jewelry fashion brand committed to bridging the gap between culture and fashion. Welcome to the show.

Tiffany Joachim  

Thanks so much Chase for having me. 

Chase Clymer  

Alright. So quickly, what are the actual types of products that you guys are selling over there so people can wrap their head around that as we get into it?

Tiffany Joachim  

Absolutely. It's all fashion jewelry. It's all stainless steel base and 925 sterling silver base, 18 karat gold-plated.

So it's all under $100 and [it's] a really sharp price point, and hypoallergenic, and water and wear resistant. 

We do some apparel that we're dipping our toes into and we'll see where that goes. 

But yeah, that's predominantly jewelry. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. So take me back in time. When did you realize that you wanted to start selling jewelry? What's that journey like?

Tiffany Joachim  

Well, the journey started as an assistant buyer in 2008 with the financial crisis, which was a tough time to start your career. But I was an assistant buyer at Neiman Marcus for 3 years. 

Decided to sell everything and roll the dice on New York City. So I moved there with no job. 

I was able to get a couple job offers, thank god, within a couple of weeks of moving. So I was with Macy's for a couple years as a financial analyst. 

And then after that I was with Ross Stores as a buyer. So I had a lot of experience within the retail category, within retail in general, all women's categories. 

And within one of those places, I had a very interesting experience where I... 

I ran a $100 million denim business. And within that I grew from scratch a $30 million subset of that business that was catered just to the Latin consumer. 

So we're talking about bilingual packaging, we're talking about adding Colombian flags, and it was wildly successful. 

And I did that by myself. It was one of my coastal strengths because there was a buyer on the East Coast, there's a buyer on the West Coast, and I owned that business. 

So I was really seeing for the first time that this consumer was really, really interested in having something that quite literally spoke to them. So fast forward to 2018. My husband and I were pregnant, he needed to relocate to Miami. 

And so I quit my big girl job with my office and assistant and decided to take my experience and launch my own brand. Why jewelry? My family was in the jewelry business 65 years ago. 

My grandmother Celeste [is] the namesake of the brand. Ran it in San Juan, Puerto Rico. So we have a long history with that. 

And we really just wanted to use that story to make the business modern, taking my experience with the Latin consumer as a first generation Dominican as well. I am that consumer. 

So it really, all those pieces put together, I knew that there was a white space in the market, I knew how to develop products, so I just ran.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Awesome. Alright. So I got a million questions.

Tiffany Joachim  


Chase Clymer  

First, obviously reviving the family brand. Was it still around? Was it still like a brick and mortar? Or was this more of just reviving that soul, the heart and soul of the business?

Tiffany Joachim  

It was the heart and soul. My grandmother and grandfather had long passed away. And so it was a brick and mortar in old San Juan. And my uncle still dabbles in the jewelry business. 

So it was really just taking the roots and honoring the culture and the community and building upon that.

Chase Clymer  

Now was the inception of this business... 

Was it always like "Let's try direct-to-consumer." or was it like a more old school play with... 

Not old school, I guess, but more of what you were used to interacting more with traditional buyers... 

Tiffany Joachim  


Chase Clymer  

What was... 

What were the first steps to going from "I'm launching a jewelry brand" to "I have a jewelry brand." 

I feel there's a few things in the middle.

Tiffany Joachim  

(laughs) There's a couple. There was a couple including having a baby. 

In 2018, that was like the height of D2C. So it was Glossier and it was Away and it was all these crazy valuations of these D2C brands

So we initially launched as, "Let's take a crack at it, okay?"As time went on and throughout COVID and all of the craziness the past 3 years have been, we have shifted focus into pivoting into not just D2C, which a lot of DTC brands have. 

Glossier just opened up a location here right in my neighborhood. Warby Parker is down my street too. 

So, these D2C traditional brands are now brick and mortar as well. So with my experience in department stores, I wanted to be in as many touch points as possible. I think that it's best to... 

The consumers want a more 360 degree experience.They want to be able to touch you in store, shop you on Ecom, see you on social media, so you got to be omnipresent.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. I know that some of our listeners would be curious as to... 

What was the process like figuring out your first line and that first go-to-market strategy? How are you guys trying to get your first set of customers?

Tiffany Joachim  

Yeah. We really focused on the family story. So the first collection I developed in New York. We found suppliers the old fashioned way, just like literally going to the Jewelry District and pounding the pavement. 

And we really just wanted to emphasize the word "Sol". For non Spanish speaking listeners, Sol means sun. So we wanted to really drive that message home. So the whole first collection was a variation of different sun styles. 

And so we had our producer in New York, do the CADs and the casting and all of that. We got the product. And it took about a year, a year and a half... 

Also again, I was having a baby in that time period, so it probably would have gone faster had I just devoted full-time to that. But I did take a traditional maternity leave. 

And so yeah, so we really focused on taking that product and introducing it on social media. 

We had hired some PR which were really just friends and family helping us out. I'm sure a lot of entrepreneurs can relate to that. We had cousins modeling the jewelry. It was very bootstrapped. 

So we really just started on social media with the website and wanted to learn from... 

And also from my experience, what was the customer telling us? Where did we need to go from here? We offered the product. 

We were speaking to them in a tone that they may appreciate more than our competitors like a Kendra Scott like an Uncommon James where it is very... 

It's very, middle America, white women selling the jewelry. So we learned very quickly after that what she wanted and so the assortment grew from there.

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Chase Clymer  

Go back to the timeline a little.So you move to Miami and then you launch... What year did you move to Miami as you launched this in 2019?

Tiffany Joachim  

We moved in 2018. And then... We moved May 2018, I launched March 2019.

Chase Clymer  

Gotcha. So just under a year of product development with also having a child 

Tiffany Joachim  

With a newborn. Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Alrighty. So you're launching your [brand], calling in as many favorites as you can. 

How did you really start to get those first group of customers that weren't people that you physically knew through the grapevine. That's always, I think, a struggle of all of our listeners is...

Tiffany Joachim  


Chase Clymer  

 [It's] finding that sales strategy that works to really help get you off the ground.

Tiffany Joachim  

Right. And I always tell everyone, we're not reinventing the wheel with du jour. We have... 

Nothing is earth shattering, which is hard to come by in fashion. In terms of... 

Everything is just being recycled off with one another. Inspiration is everywhere. So what we really wanted to focus on was community and niche markets. 

We wanted to super serve our niche. So we really focus on working exclusively with Latina creators. 

And that really was the magic ticket to finding our customers, because we could have very easily given it to every Suzie Q on the internet and we probably would have grown faster, to be very honest with you. 

But I had been so mindful and cognizant that I wanted the people that we worked with to not only represent the brand, but be able to speak to the consumers we want to speak to. 

So that has been really something that has been offered a slow and steady growth but it has taken more time because we have wanted to super serve this niche. 

And I really took a lot of inspiration from Daymond John and his FUBU collection. I've read his books. I'm a huge fan. I met him right before lock down COVID. 

He was doing a book signing on Books & Books here in Miami. And he really disrupted the industry [but] the apparel wasn't groundbreaking. It wasn't necessarily... 

These were t-shirts, but the fact that it was "for us, by us", Fubu, and he super served that niche customer was everything.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. And I love your honesty of "This is just jewelry. But the way I'm packaging it up and marketing it is the differentiator that is allowing us to make a winning business here." 

And I've had multiple guests on the podcast just be like, "You can find this same thing on the internet somewhere else." 

But it's the way that you approach the marketing, the way that you are talking about it to your ideal customer. And that's what changes the game. And it's always... 

I think an entrepreneur fallacy that you have is like, you have to think of the next Facebook to make something successful. 

And it's like, "No, you just got to take something and do it better than someone else: Either a new angle or improve upon the product just a little bit." It can be... 

It's not that simple but it's that simple.

Tiffany Joachim  

Right. And the Latin consumer... 

Business of Fashion had an article back in 2018 that really just blew my mind open.. $1.7 trillion were the spending power and they do not feel that they have brands that can quite literally speak to them. 

So that coupled with the most recent US census in 2020, the biggest driver in our population was the Latin-Hispanic populations. 

So that coupled with my experience developing denim for Latinas, adding just a little Colombian flag, adding the darts in the back pocket that really enhanced the butt, putting the bilingual packaging…

I'm like, "Oh, holy shit." Sorry, I don't know if I'm allowed to cuss. (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

You're okay.

Tiffany Joachim  

I'm like, "This is... I have the story. I have product development experience. Vamo! Let's go! This is... There's this white space. Let's fill it!"

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Yeah. I read your onboarding information. I was like, "Oh, this is a homerun product. I can't wait to listen to this story." Alright, so is there... 

Was there a moment to you as you're building this where you're like, "Oh yeah, we're onto something here." Is there anything that stands out?

Tiffany Joachim  

For sure. For sure. I think, really, it is the authenticity of the community. I think that when people are sharing their Celeste Sol product on Instagram or Facebook, or sending me pictures... 

And they're speaking in Spanish, they're talking about their first generation story like myself. Some of these stories are unlike myself. 

As a first generation, I think it's a very unique upbringing. And your parents have to hustle a little bit harder, they're a little more scrappy. 

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, because they didn't have the opportunity to get the formal education and what they needed. My family fled a civil war in the Dominican Republic. That's shit's legit. You gotta hustle. So it's a really unique upbringing. 

And just hearing those stories, people truly, truly have a connection with the brand because they're like, "Wow, I see myself in that." Because growing up for me, I was always... 

Growing up in Texas, I was always the only brown girl that always was like, "Oh, Tiffany is the token brown girl." 

And I didn't have a lot of things that looked or sounded like me that ate the same foods at holidays, like I did. 

And this, for me, has also been like a self-discovery journey, and really honoring things that I may have not honored when I was younger. [I've] been too scared to.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Now, if a listener... This is like... They're interested in learning more about the brand. This is really speaking to them. Where should they go? What should they do?

Tiffany Joachim  

Yeah, absolutely. We would love to have you at celestesol.com. That's our ecom site. 

And then follow us at @celestesoljewelry on Instagram. Those are where we're like the loudest and proudest. 

And you want to check us out on the website. You can use promo code, HONEST25 for 25% off your first purchase.

Chase Clymer  

Oh, that's fantastic. I'll make sure we get all that stuff put in the show notes. Is there anything I forgot to ask you about today that you want to share with our audience?

Tiffany Joachim  

Oh my gosh. Well, live streaming has been such a huge part of our growth engine. I've spoken so much about D2C. 

But, to circle back briefly about our earlier conversation was, we're really seeing an emergence of the consumer gravitating to livestream shopping

It represents 70% of retail sales in China. Right now in the US, it's only 2%. So a lot of people are trying to get in the game. 

But we have found that the conversion rate is so phenomenal, because that is where you really understand and connect the brand story. 

So that is where we're getting people messaging me in real time in Spanish, in Spanglish, we're connecting in real time, I'm getting real-time customer reviews. It's incredible. 

It's really incredible. So that has been a big focus of our growth as well.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Is there a kind of like a favorite solution that you use for live streaming? All of our listeners are nerds. And they like the tools?

Tiffany Joachim  

I think right now we're really loving the ShopShops app. I think if anybody wants to check that out, it's really user friendly. And it's just got a great array of different hosts, like myself.

But it's great. It's extremely interactive. It combines the personalization of brick and mortar with the convenience that you come.

Chase Clymer  

That's fantastic. Tiffany, thank you so much for coming on our show today.

Tiffany Joachim  

Thank you for having me. This was fun.

Chase Clymer  

We can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their knowledge and journey with us. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add into our own business. You can find all the links in the show notes. 

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Until next time!