August 10 2017

Doing Good With GoodBeads

GoodBeads jewelry was founded by this amazing girl boss Monika Normand in January 2015. Her jewelry is handcrafted with love for help raise funds towards wildlife & environmental conservation efforts and to support ethical & sustainable community development initiatives around the globe. All of the jewelry is handmade by Monika, using natural materials including stones, shells, wood, hemp, and recycled glass. To read all about GoodBeads and Monika keep reading below!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure! My name is Monika Normand, I’m 25 and currently live in Dallas, TX (originally from Belchertown, MA). I am a wedding & portrait photographer, and of course own GoodBeads as well. I love animals, being outdoors, traveling, photography, food, and trying new things.

What exactly is Goodbeads?

GoodBeads is a handmade jewelry brand which sells jewelry for men and women with the goal of raising funds for wildlife and environmental conservation efforts with every item sold. GoodBeads donates $5.00 of every sale to nonprofits who share in our vision.

What is your mission?

Our mission is to raise funds towards wildlife & environmental conservation efforts and to support ethical & sustainable community development initiatives around the globe. We do so by making a $5.00 donation with each item sold to nonprofits who fall into the following categories: rainforest, wildlife, and oceans.

What inspired you to start Goodbeads?

There were a bunch of pieces that came together when I started GoodBeads. I had a BS in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology and volunteered on several really awesome projects during and after college, but struggled to find consistent, paid work in the field. And although I went to school for science, I always really loved art and being creative. So, I combined the two by creating a jewelry brand that allowed me to work creatively while also raising funds for what I was most passionate about. I wanted to also be sure that the brand would be as ecofriendly and sustainable as possible, so I sought after compostable shipping packages, recycled glass beads, recycled jewelry boxes, etc. to have minimal impact on the environment. In a nutshell, I was able to create something I enjoyed doing that had a positive impact on the planet- even if I wasn’t out working in the field as a wildlife biologist myself.

How did you come up with the name of your company?

GoodBeads is pretty simple. I wanted a name that was easy to remember and explained what the business was about- beads for a good cause!

Are your products sold in store? Is there a favorite product?

GoodBeads are sold primarily online at goodbeads.org. We also participate in a few vendor fairs in Massachusetts. We’re working on finding vendors to carry our products in store, so hopefully sometime soon! I’d say my favorite product is one we recently released for the summer– the Birthstone Collection bracelets. We use matte white recycled glass beads for the bracelet which is adorned with a Swarovski crystal charm (representing your month’s birthstone) and the GoodBeads tag. It’s a very simple and classy everyday bracelet, and I just LOVE the recycled glass beads.

What is the hardest part about running Goodbeads?

What a good question! There’s a lot of challenging parts to running GoodBeads. I had to teach myself marketing and basic business practices, since I never went to school for either of those things. Marketing is fun- yet I think the most challenging. Determining your target audience and their interests, and then marketing the correct products at the right time is difficult. I’m constantly asking myself questions like- Will my audience like this type of bead? Will they respond to this style? When should I launch these products? Etc. It’s a learning process that’s for sure!

How do you spread the word about your company?

I have 3 main avenues for spreading word about GoodBeads. The first is social media– Facebook & Instagram. Instagram is my primary way of building brand awareness and a following. Facebook is also helpful in building awareness starting from a more personal side- your friends and family, then their friends, and outwards from there. Secondly, I launched an Ambassador Program this year which is designed to build content for Instagram as well as promote new products. Our Ambassadors receive free jewelry when we launch new products and receive a discount code to share with their friends to encourage them to shop at GoodBeads.org. The Ambassadors also post photos of their GoodBeads which helps generate content for our feed. And our third way of spreading brand awareness is old-fashioned, but works well. I give out jewelry to my friends and family to wear and show off and spread the word. It’s fun for me because I love giving gifts, and they are always super excited about sharing GoodBeads and its mission with people who compliment their jewelry.

You donate with every purchase; can you tell us about that?

We donate $5.00 with every item sold. Our donation recipients are nonprofits who work in the environmental realm, with a few others on occasion (Relay for Life/American Cancer Society for example). The nonprofits range from very small grassroots organizations like Grupo Ecologista Antares in Mexico to much larger groups like the Wildlife Conservation Society. All of our donation recipients are grouped into 3 categories- Rainforests, Wildlife, and Oceans, and the customer can choose which conservation effort they’d like to support.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a young woman who wants to start her own company?

I’d say don’t be afraid of trial and error, and don’t wait to start. I can’t tell you how many products, materials, marketing efforts, etc. that I tried and didn’t work out the way I had planned, and that’s okay. All of the trial and error has lead me to procure better supplies and make better products, and learn from my early mistakes in marketing. Also, I just wish I had started GoodBeads sooner. It’s very easy to come up with reasons not to start a business (too little money, too little time, not enough x, I don’t know y)- but all you really need is an idea you’re passionate about and start from there.

GoodBeads Handmade Jewelry

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