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The rapid growth of Hello Adorn, an Eau Claire small business giving back

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 11:04 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - “I mean there is a lot happening in Eau Claire to put itself on the map. I’m just happy we get to be one of the things that are mentioned,” said Jess Gardner, owner of Hello Adorn.

Hello Adorn--an Eau Claire small business whose sales are anything but small.

“We get to experience being in a small town, being in Eau Claire’s community, but really take advantage of the whole internet,” explained Adam Gardner, owner of Hello Adorn. “Primarily we are online. Like 90 percent of our sales are done online direct to consumer.”

A jewelry business with 21 on staff, shipping out on average 2,000 orders per week.

Hello Adorn officially kicked off in 2016, but was in the work’s long before that.

Owner Jess Gardner originally started a clothing store, Isabelle and Company, in 2008.

“I just wanted to make really simple jewelry to dress our mannequins,” Jess Gardner reflected. “They were definitely supposed to be the supporting actress so to speak to help sell the clothing that we dressed the mannequins with.”

Through a series of events, though, those pieces are now center stage.

Gardner taught herself how to make jewelry through trial and error.

When her boutique switched from a brick and mortar to ecommerce, so did her sales strategy.

“If online is the new course of direction of the business, then jewelry is what makes the most sense,” Jess added.

Five years ago, Gardner and her husband Adam made the plunge moving from Adorn Designs at Isabelle and Company to Hello Adorn, exclusively selling jewelry.

For Adam it meant walking away from a successful insurance career.

“It was terrifying in a way, but we had a lot of confidence,” Adam said. “Jess already had proof of concept.”

Back then business was done in their house, but they weren’t there for too long.

“To ‘17 to ‘18 to ‘19 we almost doubled sales every year. We actually did three times the amount of sales in 2020 that we had done in 2019.”

Moving the shop from a basement eventually landing at its newest 6,700 hundred square foot makers space.

“We love Eau Claire and we love downtown Eau Claire and we love the energy that it has,” Adam mentioned. “We love that we have a business where if our employees feel like they need a break they have places to get coffee, there’s places to walk.”

All the space in the new headquarters also allows the shop to stock pieces which streamlines the shipping process.

Jess and Adam kept their first downtown makers studio turning that small space into a retail store for those near the Chippewa Valley.

“We wanted to have a spot... one more destination for people to come to to support the business community down here in downtown.”

Both online and in-store their top seller is the same.

“We make these earrings called tiny twists,” Jess said. “They look like two little hoops, but they just go in one single piercing and that’s like for sure our number one design.”

Already selling 60,000 pairs of tiny twists in 2021 alone.

Online orders are shipped across the nation from the Badger State, even internationally as far as Australia and Iceland.

Jess, a Rice Lake native, say’s it’s important her staff has a fun work environment where they enjoy themselves.

“What they do is very physical,” Jess explained of her makers. “Even though making jewelry wouldn’t seem very physical It gets to be very physical, very tedious. We do a lot of volume, so we expect work to be cranked out all the time.”

Hello Adorn has adopted an Eau Claire highway and created pieces where all proceeds benefit nonprofits such as The Body Positive, Black Lives Matter and Breast Cancer Research.

Most recently hosting a coat drive to give back to Eau Claire, a place the couple truly loves.

“I just feel like so fortunate to to live in a city like this where I don’t feel deprived from what big cities have, but I feel all the pros and benefits of what a small town has,” Jess added.

While Hello Adorn has grown more than either owner could have dreamed, one thing has yet to change.

“Anytime someone says to me ‘Oh I’m wearing your earrings’ I definitely just.... glow.”

Hello Adorn is open in downtown Eau Claire Thursday-Sunday.

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