Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Thatcher.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Retrograde.Shop is a handcrafted brand based out of Boulder, CO. Founded in August 2018, we’re all about love and light, being positive, and manifesting your true intentions in life. We’re not just a brand, we’re a tribe. We pick each other up and move forward together in strides.
Retorgrade.Shop can primarily be found online, but we recently launched our wholesale division and can also be found locally and nationally across 35 boutiques in the United States and we are growing that number each and every day.
I had originally launched my brand by offering only handcrafted crystal and copper necklace, rings, bracelets, and earrings. However, over the last 6 months, I have really made it a point to invest in myself and my business by bringing in new equipment and machinery. Because of this, I have been able to grow my product offering to all things metaphysical to help my goddess friends throughout their spiritual healing journey.
When shopping the Retrograde.Shop boutique, you can find chakra balancing jewelry, energy cleansing Palo Santo, crystal home decor items such as agate lamps and coasters, as well as leather-bound manifestation journals and even one of a kind leather clutches.
Creating genuine relationships with my client base has been the biggest blessing from this journey and has opened the door for me to feel comfortable in being true to myself, my aesthetic, and goals with this brand.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As much as I wish I could say it’s been smooth sailing since the start, it most certainly has not – which I’m 1000% okay with because it’s forced me to learn a whole lot more about running a successful business.
When I originally launched Retrograde.Shop, I made sure to pay off all my debt, bring my monthly bills down to as little as I possibly could, sold my car, and I quit my full-time job. It was very important for me to put all my focus and energy into my business because I’m doing it completely alone.
Expenses are never-ending when you own a business and that was clear very quickly. I didn’t always have the money to buy necklace chains or crystals for new collections I was working on. I needed to pay for ads to get the word out about my business, but I needed sales to pay for those ads. So I side hustled by re-selling goodwill furniture, I built websites for friends, I picked up a lot of little side things to get extra money flowing in to cover all of these little things that come along with keeping a business open and moving forward.
I heavily underestimated the power of relationships when it comes to any sort of business. I come from a background of sales so one would think I would have known that if I just become this person’s friend and gain their trust they will want to buy from me. For some reason, I threw that logic out, and I was overly salesy in my social posts and it was off-putting and did not equal sales.
What made me open my eyes and have that “Aha” moment, was when I surrounded myself with similar makers that were on the same journey as I was. I’m a huge fan of Facebook groups, there are literally groups for everything. I joined all the groups that were in my niche and started engaging with the community. I met about 20 women that make the same thing as I, we started a group chat, and all we do is bounce ideas back and forth to each other. This community helped me realize that no one actually wants to be sold. However, people love supporting and standing behind people or causes they believe in.
Since then, I have become extremely personable in my social platforms. I open up and talk about things that I’m facing because chances are I’m not alone. I make it a point to direct message every new follower and welcome them to my page. I start real conversations within the comments of my posts. I make sure my customers know how much I appreciate them and try to show as much love as I possibly can to each person I come in contact with. This has helped turn my once jewelry brand, into now a Goddess Tribe with support spewing from every direction. It’s the best feeling in the world.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Retrograde.Shop – what should we know?
As I mentioned before, Retrograde.Shop started as a jewelry business. The type of jewelry I make is made with a process called electroforming. Essentially, I grow copper over crystals through electricity (que mad scientist laugh here)
I recently invested in a laser engraving/cutting machine as well as a Circuit explore air 2 machine. This has allowed me to expand my product offering to custom items such as engraved agate coasters, affirmation engraved Palo Santo sticks, unique leather-bound manifestation journals, leather and wood earrings, leather clutches and so much more.
As a maker, I am most proud of the level of design and quality my work as morphed into over the last year and a half. I can clearly see the progression in skill level and can feel my confidence growing which is making my curiosity to try new things grow.
I think what sets Retorgrade.Shop apart from others is I am only in competition with myself. What I mean by that is once I stopped trying to compete with like brands and base my style, product offerings, or price of goods around what my competition was doing, and I started focusing on just topping what I did yesterday has allowed my customers to watch my personal & brand growth which kind of makes them feel like they are part of the brand as well. I will straight up ask my customers if they love or hate something new that I made. If they hate it, it’s never to be seen again. If they love it, we work together to perfect the design until we have a finished product. My customers are essentially my creative team and I love that.
We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
I think the biggest barrier today in female leadership is honestly our own personal insecurities. I’ve found that when my insecurities are at the forefront of my demeanor that can be sniffed out and taken advantage of faster than I can write this sentence.
When we are confident in who we are, what we do and what we know we can offer, then “No” is not an option we will take. I believe Female Leadership requires the ability to be headstrong and to stand up for what we believe in. Speak with confidence, demand your worth, and speaking with respect and integrity can cast a ray of light over all other women watching you.