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Lifelong Art

Submitted by: Jocelyn Stoody
Business Website: http://lifelongart.com
State: Montana
City: BOZEMAN

Business Description

I work solo, creating pure silver jewelry and keepsakes containing the cremated remains of loved ones.

What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?

I've gone old school! My business is not generated through internet connections. I go to individual funeral homes, sit down with people, and if it's a good match I install a handmade display featuring my work. Even though I am an individual artist, competing with big jewelry producers, I'm thriving on having found a special niche market. I am in my late 50s, and while I am comfortable with computers, internet is not my favorite mode of connection. I thoroughly enjoy meeting and connecting with funeral directors, as they tend to be kind, compassionate people who are more interested in caring for others than in making sales. I am thrilled to have found a business that suits my personality, my age, my desire for personal connection with clients, and a way to let my creative pursuits fly. I'm doing it MY way.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

People grieving the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences we encounter in a lifetime. For some, having a memento can help ease the transition of going forward without the presence of the person one has lost. I make each piece individually and put care and love into each one.

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

The best thing about going to a Score mentor was that he gave me tools to succeed financially in the business. If I don't succeed financially, then I can't offer my services to people! He showed me the many ways I need to look at the business through the lens of profit and loss, to factor in all aspects of my time and materials, including travel, shipping, etc., and to then set price points which are fair to both myself and my clients. Now that my business is picking up I would definitely go back for more tools to continue growth. I would use the gift card to purchase items that would make it easier to do my business. I could do with better office supplies.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

If I hadn't had a SCORE mentor, I wouldn't have known how to look at my business idea from the perspectives of profit and loss, cash flow, or true cost of goods and services. Without the tools I gained I am sure I would have come up with prices that didn't cover my cost of operations.

Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?

As a sole proprietor with no employees I have to wear all of the hats. There have been some learning curves that have been trickier than others. This is why having a SCORE mentor was absolutely priceless, because he helped fill in the gaps where I had weaknesses.

How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?

I will continue to grow my business honestly, with integrity, and in a way that makes my life a better place for me.
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