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Jun 1, 2010
by Brian Solomon
A family jewelry business, Solid Silver Inc. was established back in 1986 Los Angeles by Voravudh Vorasuvin, then a recent émigré from Thailand. He had started the manufacturing end of the company in Thailand already, but brought it to the states as a strictly wholesale business. Once his sister and brother came on board to help with the manufacturing side of the business, he was able to move to the States and set up shop. "This was long before the Internet existed," recalls his daughter, Sirikaan Thompson, who was only a child at the time. "Back then, business was just trade shows and our showroom. We only sold casted pieces of jewelry. Now, the big difference is that we've incorporated hand-wire wrapping, which is labor-intensive. It is very detailed, and you have to learn the skill. The look is very different-more dangly, quite delicate-as opposed to the chunkier casted pieces from before."
Thompson became involved in the business in 1997, after finishing college. First involved in sales, then design, she now runs the entire U.S. end of operations for her parents, who moved back to their native Thailand to oversee the manufacturing six years ago. After joining the company, Thompson immediately became a force for change and growth. "I saw the need to communicate to Thailand," she says. "So we moved on to email, which was faster than faxing-and free- and then incorporated a website. Originally, this site was just a catalogue, with company information and pictures of the line. We used to mail out our catalogues, and postcards about our trade shows-we still do that, but a lot of people will say, 'Just email me.' Plus, we added a shopping cart to the site about six years ago."
Thompson's parents were content to just pick up the phone and communicate the more traditional way, but Sirikaan, along with her sister, who joined a little later, were adamant that email had become an indispensable tool, particularly for sending photos. Instead of just faxing black and white images, they could now snap a picture, email and price it right then and there. It was also a quicker way to communicate with the manufacturers in Thailand. Thompson knew her customers wanted to move to online shopping as well. The web presence represented a quick way to update customers on what was new in the product line, such as colors, styles and different stones being incorporated in the jewelry. Plus, it was simply a faster means of communication with the customer.
"The visitors to our website are buyers we already know from trade shows," says Thompson. "I can see the shift now from customers who used to use our traditional print catalogue. They want to see all the current updates, so I tell them to just go to the site. There's a 'New' section. We've added a shopping cart, because they've already seen the line at the trade shows, so it's just easier for them to go back in, search for the item they want to replenish, and shop in between the trade shows."
With the green movement being all the rage these days, Thompson sees Solid Silver's hottest products right now to be organic-themed jewelry that depicts flowers, leaves and things of that sort. Initial letters are also popular. And then there is the very successful Sosi B. line of jewelry. A brand created by Solid Silver, Sosi B. is meant to be something of a play on designer lines, offering a little more than previous Solid Silver offerings. Created with trendiness in mind, the forward-thinking brand was introduced, according to Thompson, to help make it a bit more acceptable to those loyal customers who might be resistant to change. Wire-wrapped, using pearls and natural gemstones, the items in the Sosi. B line are unlike the casted pieces traditionally seen from Solid Silver.
Solid Silver has also distinguished itself online by incorporating a blog into its online presence. Used mainly to let customers know about upcoming designs and trade shows, the blog is a general way of keeping customers well informed. "A lot of buyers who shop with us ask a lot of questions about what's coming out, strong sellers, etc.," Thompson explains, "So this is a way for us to share it with a lot of people at the same time."
For more information:
Solid Silver Inc.
2054 Kildaire Farm Rd., #424
Cary, NC 27518
Topic: Company Profiles
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