Anyone can create or discover a genius product; an idea no one has heard of, an item yet to be made, or even just a higher quality version of an existing product. However, not everyone can sell their product.
Julian Plouffe, co-founder of Moonglow Jewelry, is one of the lucky ones who created a genius product and knew how to effectively sell it to their target audience. And what’s more, Plouffe’s product held a special meaning …
Together with his business partner, Aurelie Dudziak, Plouffe began his business with a vision in mind: being alive on earth is a gift meant to be celebrated. “By being reminded of the most memorable moments in life we share, gives us a unique opportunity to connect more deeply with one other,” write the co-founders on their company’s backstory page.
As their signature trademark states: “Every moon has a moment.”
Plouffe and Dudziak sought to develop a product that captured those valuable moments. Thus began the idea for Moonglow: jewelry products that feature a moon from the date of the customer’s choice. Whether it be a birthday, an anniversary, or another significant date, a customer can capture a memorable moment in a wearable product.
But in the words of Plouffe himself, “Things go up, they go down, they go sideways, no day is ever the same,” and there were some challenges Plouffe and Dudziak had to learn …
Here’s Moonglow’s story:
A Risk-Taking Entrepreneur
As an enthusiast of high-risk activities like speed car racing, surfing, and snowboarding, Plouffe never placed much of an emphasis on school, nor did he have any interest in classroom-type settings.
Instead, Plouffe preferred to learn from personal experience. At age 16 — and at the recommendation of his own high school principal — he dropped out of school to work for his father.
“My father had a pitch business selling infomercial-type products in fairs across the United States, but most products I sold were either passing trends or did not hold my interest, at least not until Moonglow,” Plouffe tells Starter Story in 2018.
In 2011, at age 23, Plouffe began to place more of a focus on developing his idea for Moonglow.
“I was selling Moonglow for the first time and the sales were great. People loved the idea, the concept, and I knew this was the product I wanted to focus on and could really build a brand.”
Two years late, Plouffe officially broke away from his father’s business to start Moonglow.
Almost immediately, the company attracted attention. Plouffe joined up with Dudziak to sell their jewelry items at fairs, markets, and other social conventions. Using the money they made from these events, Plouffe and Dudziak launched Moonglow’s website, where customers could place orders online.
It wasn’t long before Moonglow had a team of four members traveling the country, selling products at other nationwide events. While they were no doubt successful in their venture, Plouffe wanted to find a more efficient way to sell his products and grow beyond just fair and market events.
Selling Products While Scaling Business
After attending a trade show in New York, Plouffe decided it was time to scale the business. By hiring a Director of Sales, Plouffe could turn his focus to finding boutiques to partner with. By setting up an in-store line of jewelry, Plouffe knew his company could reach new heights.
And that’s exactly what happened. With increasing sales, Plouffe was forced to expand business operations from his tiny Miami condo to a warehouse located in a suburb of Miami. Moonglow quickly went from generating $200,000 in annual revenue to $7 million in 2018. Plouffe continued to add on to the business team, hiring 12 employees and seven contractors.
Plouffe now had more than enough revenue to revisit its early website designs. “It was terrible, pictures were horrible, the branding colors were not consistent, the flow was off,” recalls Plouffe.
“But it was 2012 and we were focused on fairs and events and less so on internet sales.”
Now, Plouffe could focus on growing and developing the business internally. He hired an SEO agency, contacted a photographer, and brought on a conversion rate expert to ensure Moonglow’s new website was of the highest quality.
Then, Plouffe realized that if he wanted Moonglow to continue in its growth, he needed to utilize the power of social media to transform the company into a lifestyle mainstream brand.
Turning to Social Media to Increase Sales
In 2014, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were the end-all and be-all. If your brand didn’t have a stance on either one of these platforms, you were rendered virtually nonexistent. So, Plouffe hired a social media marketing agency to create engaging visual content for the brand.
Fortunately, it didn’t take much for Moonglow to gather a following. Influencers quickly reached out to Plouffe, asking to partner up with the brand. Facebook campaigns and Instagram ads helped the company reach a new level of growth. Then, with the rise of TikTok, Plouffe utilized another perfect marketing strategy.
While Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter were contributing greatly to the company’s growth, Plouffe saw an even bigger opportunity with TikTok. Now, followers can see customer reviews, witness the live reaction to products, and stay informed on company launches and events.
When COVID hit, Moonglow maintained a steady following on social media — and even saw an increase in sales. Plouffe states that the decision to use these platforms has become one of the biggest reasons why the company has continued its success.
“We always try and make things better and never stay complacent. If you don’t innovate, you’ll get left in the dust as the bar gets higher every day.”
‘Moving Up’ With Moonglow
Today, Moonglow has been featured in Buzzfeed, made the Inc. 5000 list, and secured a spot in Entrepreneur’s 40 Under 40. Referred to by Forbes as “personalized jewelry with a cosmic touch,” there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down for Moonglow.
As the company continues to reach new milestones, Plouffe attributes much of Moonglow’s success to its adaptability. By staying open to new and different marketing strategies, branding, and selling techniques, the business has grown far beyond what Plouffe imagined when he started back in 2011.