Liliana Olmos loves to travel and meet her customers on the road. It’s why she doesn’t have a brick and mortar location for her store, Olmox Jewelry.
Prior to the pandemic, Olmos had her 2020 calendar filled up and planned to be on the road for most of the year. But by March, events she was scheduled to appear at, like the Bayou City Art Festival’s Memorial Park event, got canceled or postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fortunately for Olmos, an anonymous donor gifted $1,500 to every artist who was supposed to participate in the art festival.
Olmos utilized those funds to purchase materials to keep working and change her packaging. She was also inspired by the donor’s gesture that she created pairs of heart earrings and gave them to frontline health care workers. Additionally, Olmos spent her increased free time to boost Olmox Jewelry’s line by creating a new collection.
Olmos started making jewelry as a hobby in her hometown of Bogotá, Colombia, where she learned how to work precious metals with the filigree technique. Her hobby turned into a business when she moved to Houston in 2011.
Now, after nearly a year off the highway, Olmos is itching to get back on the road to display her collection and meet her customers.
Tell me about when you first started the company.
I think it was easy to make it here. The laws here encourage you to have your own idea and set up a business. It wasn’t complicated at all compared to other countries, like Colombia, where it’s very complicated.
I met people that encouraged me to apply to events. I met great people that had been guiding me through the journey.
It was hard initially, but I was having so much fun that it was like a dream come true for me. Over the years, people started recognizing me.
In Houston, a lot of people were organizing events, so I started applying to shows with a bigger audience. In the beginning, I just went to churches and farmer’s markets, but now I go to the Bayou City Arts Festival — one of Houston’s biggest shows that support artists. I’ve also been to Chicago for the One of a Kind Show.
This year I was really excited because I got accepted into the American Craft Show, which is one of the biggest nationwide events and has a lot of recognition.
Unfortunately, I was able only to go to Baltimore in February, which was my last show.
What makes your company unique compared to what’s already out there?
That’s a really good question because there’s so much on the market right now.
I would say what make my pieces different is that they are handmade and I use the best materials on the market, which are sterling silver and solid gold.
When people look at my pieces and see the work that goes into it, they love it. They really appreciate it and they know they are getting a very special, one-of-a-kind piece.
How have you used social media for your business?
I have Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, and I manage them myself. I’ve noticed people are spending more time on social media with the pandemic, even me — especially Instagram.
Social media is a great tool. Now you can buy directly from Instagram, so they’ve also been coming up with different tools to help the businesses. You just have to stay updated and start using all the tools.
But many of my customers are people who don’t use social media, unfortunately. That part has been hard for me. It’s quite challenging for many businesses.
How do you think the pandemic has changed the jewelry industry?
It has changed a lot. Normally, a person buys jewelry when they see it, when they can touch it and when they can feel it to try it on.
Now it’s virtual, so you have to have a really good website and be really good at photography. Maybe a picture from afar and then one photo of the person wearing it and perhaps even a video, so that it’s a very specific description of the item. That’s how I feel it has changed.
Before the pandemic, many people who work in this industry didn’t even have a website. They had to come up with a website and create the whole thing from scratch.
How do you plan to expand your business in the future?
What I want to start doing is wholesale. But to do wholesale, I need to find people who will help me with my designs. That’s the main goal — to do wholesale and maybe have a store, even though I’m not excited by stores.
My uncle in Colombia has a store, so I know how much hard work goes into that. The way I operate now, I have a little more freedom to go and do my shows.
Liliana Olmos, owner and artist, Olmox Jewelry
Hometown: Bogotá, Colombia
Education: Bachelor’s, finance, Universidad Sergio Arboleda
Favorite Houston spot: Tiny Boxwoods
Favorite Houston restaurant: Oporto Fooding House & Wine
Last book read: "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance" by Angela Duckworth
Note: This article was written by Sara Samora, I just can't get rid of the note below where my name shows, because is predeterminate with my website, platform, sorry.