Day in the Life of Marrin CostelloJanuary 23, 2020 - Holly Cardew
This month, we’re bringing back our Day in the Life series, starting with none other than Marrin Costello.
Marrin Costello is the founder and designer behind Marrin Costello, a global luxury lifestyle brand headquartered in Los Angeles that primarily focuses on jewelry. With humble beginnings that stretch back to Costello receiving a bead kit for Christmas at the age of seven, Costello’s collection has appeared on American Idol and featured in iconic magazines like Vogue, In Style, Huffington Post, and in US Weekly.
Thanks to Costello’s unique vision and fashion sense, she has been recognized as a lifestyle influencer, tastemaker and a style icon.
Let’s get to know more about Marrin Costello.
“I didn’t choose jewelry, jewelry chose me.”
Built With: Shopify
Founder(s): Marrin Costello
Location: Los Angeles, California
Industry: Luxury lifestyle brand, mostly jewelry
What was it like getting your first sale? Did you think you would be where you are today or did you envision something different?
While I don’t remember the exact moment of my first sale, I do know that it was at my hometown’s annual summer art and craft fair. I’m sure it was a family member or friend of the family who paid a quarter or two for a piece of jewelry made from my beloved FAO Schwartz bead kit. Little did I know where that would lead…
My role as a designer has blossomed into a CEO and leader of the brand. While designing still brings me *so* much joy, there is a heightened responsibility to make sure the company is performing and delivering against its business objectives.
Tell me a little about your eCommerce journey.
Having a jewelry business and building an ecommerce brand was not something I initially sought out to do. Though I had been creating jewelry as a hobby for over a decade, it wasn’t until receiving national press from the American Idol red carpet that I finally viewed my hobby as having business potential. Now, my former hobby has transformed into a global luxury accessories brand with distribution channels in wholesale, direct to consumer, and custom jewelry.
One of the first steps was to build my online brand presence and generate cross-channel name recognition, so potential customers could find and buy my jewelry. I quickly grabbed all of the social media handles with my first and last name, created a sole proprietorship, and built a website on Shopify. And it grew from there.
What sets your brand/product apart from others on the market?
Simply put: we care.
We have an unwavering commitment to excellence, product quality, and exceptional customer service — and make all three known to our customers often.
What’s more, I live the brand and design from a combined stylish and practical perspective. All Marrin Costello jewels are handcrafted with love in Los Angeles, using hypoallergenic and water-resistant materials to stand the test of time.
Have you noticed a difference in online shoppers since you first opened your online store? What strategies have you used to grow your online store; what has worked, and what hasn’t?
Yes — there’s lots more of them! 🙂
I will also say that customers are more willing to purchase jewelry online, as it is a luxury item that people often like to see in person before the purchase.
The online store has been through so many different evolution. We are constantly improving both the quality of content that we add to the site, as well as the user experience from our customers’ perspective.
The relationship we have with our customers is priceless to us, and something in which we take great pride. With that, the entire business, both wholesale and eCommerce, has been built organically and through word of mouth thus far — and we are impossibly grateful for its continued success.
How did you define your branding and website layout?
Crisp glamour — with a hint of vintage and edge. Our brand colors (white, black, gold, and silver) give us a luxurious and classic foundation, which lets the jewelry and styling do the talking.
How do you manage and optimize your content?
I consider every social media and marketing platform to be a space to share all of our content. And as our culture continues to get busier and busier, it is important for us to utilize all of these channels to ensure that our audience is able to view and keep up with the brand on the platform that they most prefer.
How important are good product images for your brand?
They are crucial. The moment we started investing in our product photography, not only did sales increase, but there was also an influx of both press and brand opportunities.
What’s more, when we leveled-up our product photography, the company’s success finally aligned with the brand’s visuals.
I would say that was a key lesson for me as an entrepreneur: making sure that the brand identity and vision is reflected in the product images helps customers know who you are and what you stand for in an instant.
I am so proud of our online presence, and that has so much to do with the product photography speaking to the luxe quality of our product in 2D.
What is your main area of focus right now?
To be quite honest, everything is a focus. That is the blessing of running a business with a small but mighty team. Everything is important — no matter how big or small.
From expanding the team, to rolling out new content, to improving product quality, to building systems, to continuing to push boundaries with product design — we are all hands on deck — especially over Christmas, the happiest (and busiest) time of the year.
Where do you see the future of eCommerce over the next 5-10 years?
While I don’t have a crystal ball to tell the future of eCommerce, I can tell you about the future of Marrin Costello. We plan to continue to create luxury products at an affordable price point with a moral compass.
We plan to continue improving our eCommerce and in-person experiences to bring our clients only the best. We plan to add other product categories to our online and wholesale catalogues.
And finally, we plan to build out the lifestyle portion of the brand by sharing the behind the scenes of both the company, as well as my personal life across many different platforms. There are *so* many exciting projects in the pipeline that I cannot wait to launch.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS 🚀
Favorite holiday destination?
Paris or the Bahamas — it’s a tie 🙂
Must read blog or podcast?
Podcasts — Pia’s Pod, Off The Record with Annie Tevelin, Second Life, Churchome, and the Gary Vee Experience.
3 Apps you can’t live without
Planoly, WeekCal, Audible
Best memory on your eCommerce journey?
Anytime we do a major overhaul or add a meaningful component to the site, it becomes one of the favorites. Recently, we added a Store Finder function which allows our customers to see where the collection is carried throughout the United States. We are just shy of 60 stores statewide — and seeing that list of retail partners was quite a proud moment.
Biggest lesson you’ve learnt along the way
To breathe and take care of my physical health — body, mind and soul. I believe that we are spiritual beings engaged in a human experience. So while I am extremely ambitious in an occupational sense, I also understand that most everything we experience is contrived by humans. With that, it has been (and continues to be) an emphasis in my personal life to breathe, put my health before anything, treat others with kindness, to not take things too seriously, and to have FUN!
Your source of inspiration?
My future self. The woman I am becoming is a constant source of inspiration. I reflect daily on what I want to accomplish, how I want to feel, who I want to be surrounded by, what I want my life to look like — all the while being extremely grateful for every blessing that I already have in this moment. It is the relationship between my ambitions and the present moment that both keep me grounded and keep me inspired. And for visual aids, there’s always my saved photos from Pinterest and Instagram.
Goals for the next two years
10X sales, 10X our retail partners, and launch all of the projects previously mentioned above.
Top take-aways for entrepreneurs
Marrin Costello successfully turned a hobby into a global lifestyle brand thanks to a clear strategic vision backed up with strong visual identity. One of her first steps in achieving that goal was unifying her brand platforms and channels under the same name to give the brand name recognition. People knew what she was about and wanted to be part of it.
But that doesn’t mean she stopped experimenting. By revisiting her brand photography, she was able to amplify the company’s success and drastically increase sales. Product photography is a huge part of accomplishing your brand vision.
At the core, Marrin Costello – both the brand and person – are focused on delivering a quality product and service to the customer.