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Made in the Ozarks: Onie and Sky

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Being diagnosed with malignant melanoma last summer was a sign Emily Laurie needed to start a business. After eight years leading marketing at Hogan Land Title Co., she says she was ready to be her own boss. The jewelry company, Onie and Sky LLC, is a combination of her daughter’s nicknames and was launched on her son’s first birthday. Laurie uses gold-filled and heishi beads to build her bracelets. The company’s now in 30 boutiques across six states, and Laurie has a goal to sell $1,000 worth of product every day in 2021.

SBJ: When did you know the business would be a success?
Emily Laurie: I went to Touchstone Beads and started just playing around and finally made my first bracelet. That got me hooked. Two days later, my future sister-in-law found out she had cancer again. I made her a bracelet that said Slone Strength. She reshared it on her Facebook page, and I had 100 orders in 24 hours. That’s when I knew. Then about two weeks later, James River Church contacted me, and I made 900 bracelets for their women’s conference. I thought: I need an LLC. I knew I loved it. I would go to sleep at night and think, this is what I want to do. Since I started, there’s never a day that goes by where someone doesn’t order.

SBJ: How many colors and design combinations?
Laurie: I have close to 80 colors and 20 different types of letters, and we have spacers galore. That’s probably a downfall of mine. I have option overload. I did have a couple people with feedback say it would be great if I did a good neutral starter set.

SBJ: How have you leveraged social media and influencers?
Laurie: There’s been a few bloggers that have found my stuff. [Singer] Lauren Daigle, I’ve been able to make stuff for her. Baylee Rayl is a local CrossFit girl and has over 100,000 followers [on Instagram]. I messaged her, and she was all about it. We do a commission-based program on anyone that orders under her code. After I saw that work, there were a couple influencers on social media I reached out to as well. Gabrielle Moses, she has 600,000 followers from Springfield. I did an Us Against the World bracelet collection with her, and it went crazy. What I’m really passionate about is working with people that have causes. I’ve been able to work with people that have cancer. I donate a percentage of proceeds to melanoma research for everything I do.

SBJ: What lessons have you learned while building the business?
Laurie: Slow down. I’ve sent out orders that have been misspelled, simple names. Luckily, everyone is pretty gracious and understands. Also, not being too quick to say yes. I’ve turned down some wholesalers because they weren’t able to meet my minimum quantity.

SBJ: Where do you source materials?
Laurie: I buy a lot of my stuff at Touchstone Beads, which is in Springfield Leather Co. I’m actually getting ready to work with a supplier to try to come up with my own bead designs. I buy a ton of stuff on Etsy, as well.

SBJ: What are your goals for the business?
Laurie: I would love to obviously expand into other markets. I would love eventually to either create a foundation or be a part of a foundation for melanoma or skin cancer. It’s just one day at a time right now. But I am a visionary.


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