LINK Necklaces: Trendy jewelry from New York!
Boukje started LINK Necklaces two and a half years ago, together with her business partner Heather Oldfield. We were curious how two women from completely different regions decided to start a jewelry business together, so we called Boukje.
Original interview published in Dutch in the 'Wereldwijven'. The Wereldwijven is an unique network of Dutch-speaking women living in every corner of the world! Click here for the interview in Dutch.
Boukje van den Bosch started a website for jewelry called LINK Necklaces two and a half years ago, together with her business partner Heather Oldfield from Tasmania, from Rye, New York. It quickly became a great success, not the least because each necklace can be personalized. Thanks to the circular push-in clasp, you can add and change pendants endlessly.
We were curious how two women from completely different regions decided to start a jewelry business together, LINK Necklaces, so we called Boukje.
In 2002, Boukje and her husband moved to Harrison, New York for work, where they not only lived for four years, but also had three children. The adventure then took them to Singapore, where their fourth child was born. They thought their life abroad had come to an end and returned to the Netherlands. They never expected to return to the US in 2012. Now they have been living there for over 10 years, and one by one, their children are leaving the nest.
LINK Necklaces: How it all began…
Although they moved because of her partner's work, Boukje never remained idle. Especially after their years in Singapore, she knew she wasn't cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. In the US, she worked in the business events industry. Coincidentally, she stumbled upon web design when she was annoyed with the site of the dance studio her eldest daughter attended. Out of frustration, Boukje took matters into her own hands and created a website for the studio.
A whole new world opened up for her, and she saw endless possibilities. A close friend who makes high-end jewelry wanted to open an online store, and Boukje helped her. Then, at the beginning of 2020, Boukje herself came across a great business opportunity. She found a clasp which made it possible to easily link and swap pendants. She realized that she had discovered a nice niche in the jewelry market: the birth of LINK Necklaces.
How did you meet your business partner, Heather Oldfield?
Boukje: "I met Heather through school, where my youngest and her oldest were in the same class. She's Australian and comes from Tasmania. Initially, Heather was a model for the necklaces during the first photoshoot. Even though she did not have experience modelling, she was naturally good at it. From the start she was passionate about LINK's jewelry niche, and saw lots of opportunities. It turned out she was also an amazing sales lady, so needless to say I asked her if she wanted to become the first LINK influencer. She replied that she would rather take it a step further, and on the spot we decided to continue as co-owners. That's when LINK Necklaces truly started.
Do you both have separate roles in LINK Necklaces?
"I focus on the web store and everything that comes with that, the online advertising, and the supply chain. For the web store, I use Shopify. Over the past years, I've immersed myself and have become quite an expert. In the beginning, I advertised online on Facebook and Instagram myself, but now we hired a marketing agency."
"Heather focuses on fulfillment, organic social media, sales and marketing, and new designs. She takes all the photos for our social media channels and is the face of LINK. She now manages three freelancers who help with fulfillment. Together we are building the brand and growing our company."
Playing with charms: a personal and unique design
"The great thing about LINK Necklaces," I think, "is that the consumer can design their own necklace with a choice of the length of the chain and different pendants. You can vary endlessly and it is affordable."
Where do you buy your materials for LINK Necklaces and what do you look for?
Although Boukje immediately grasped the idea of the link necklace and envisioned it, finding the right circular clasp took nearly two years. Boukje says, "We purchased from different suppliers to check the quality and mechanism. That definitely took time, because you ultimately want the clasp to last."
"We value the durability of all our products. We are transparent and make no false promises. On the page of each product you will find all the product information. Our gold pieces are gold-plated and some are made of brass, while others are made of sterling silver. The pandemic posed some challenges in the supply chain, but currently, we are working with reliable suppliers who make our designs."
How do you build the brand, or do you let LINK Necklaces grow organically?
Boukje: "We had a vision of the brand when we started, but it has changed a little along the way. We now have a clear understanding of our brand and continue to build on it. Our strength lies in great customer service, putting ourselves in their shoes, and processing orders quickly, even though we don't offer standard products. Every customer designs their own necklace, so each order is different."
"At the moment, we receive around 10 to 14 orders per day, with very few returns. Our necklaces and pendants are affordably priced, which attracts a lot of impulse buyers. And there is the temptation to come back as we keep adding new pendants to the collection. Some customers are truly hooked."
"By the way, the US is an ideal country for anyone looking to start their own online business! Due to the large population, it's possible to grow through paid online campaigns."
What do you enjoy most about running a business?
"The most enjoyable part is shaping and growing your own company. I believe in our concept and the niche we have created. After that, it’s mainly about how much risk you are willing to take to scale it."
Looking back, what was the biggest challenge with LINK Necklaces?
Boukje: "The biggest challenge was finding a supplier who could make our circular LINK clasp according to our specifications. We found them, and now our name LINK is engraved on the inside of each clasp!"