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Cecilia's Steel Success Story

How This Designer Created Wearable Art and Turned Her Passion into a Business

7 min read

Pop quiz: What’s the best Saturday in November?

Answer: it’s the last one (obviously!).

Commonly known as Small Business Saturday. A day that encourages shopping at small and local businesses instead of large retail corporations.

To celebrate our love for small businesses, we’re spotlighting a different Ecwid merchant every Saturday this month.

You might’ve already read about Atlas46, a manufacturer of workwear that turned a family-operated store to a seven-figure business. Or, checked out Kissed by a Bee, a cosmetics brand that has mastered multiple ways to sell at the same time: on a website, through social media, and in-person.

Today we’re delighted to feature a jewelry brand Cecilia’s Steel run by Cecilia Taibo Rahban, a designer and an early Ecwid adopter.

Cecilia Taibo Rahban

Meet Cecilia Taibo Rahban!

Wearable Art as a Form of Artistic Expression

With her background in visual arts, it’s no surprise that Cecilia turned to jewelry making as a way to express herself. In her exploration of different materials, she has created something incredibly special: jewelry that is more like wearable art.

Cecilia’s husband encouraged her to branch out and work with new materials, including chain maille. Cecilia believes this dramatic material perfectly embodies the qualities she wishes to inspire in its wearer: elegance and boldness, fluidity and strength. Her pieces are grounding yet airy — delicate jewelry pieces that happen to be as strong as steel (literally).

A Designer and a Solopreneur

Cecilia first presented her creations at a networking event — where she knew she had interest in her designs — followed by a variety of art exhibitions and other events. She also put her jewelry up on her website and created an online store, opening the doors to online sales.

The Cecilia's Steel website

The Cecilia’s Steel website

Her signature design, Steel Pearl, was introduced at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach as part of its Women’s Day Festival: Empowerment through the Arts. It was then featured along with her art story on the National Endowment for the Arts website.

Steel Pearl™ Bow Tie Necklace

Steel Pearl™ Bow Tie Necklace

Her Steel Pearl Bow Tie design, pictured above, has been showcased at local and international art exhibitions, including: Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, World Art Dubai, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, and M.A.D. (Moda Arte Design) Gallery Milano in Milan.

Cecilia's Steel at Art Share L.A.

Cecilia’s Steel at Art Share L.A. during Los Angeles Fashion Week

Cecilia’s customers have a true appreciation for her work, and her pieces have caught the eye of a wide range of demographics. People buy her jewelry for themselves, but her pieces also work well as gifts: about half of customers have purchased one as a present.

Cecilia still runs all her online store operations by herself. Her two main challenges have historically been creating effective marketing strategies, and figuring out the ever-changing logistics of supply, demand, and the timing of orders.  She overcame these challenges through a commitment to research, and applying what she learned; experimenting with different ways of operating and assessing what worked best for her particular situation.

While I am grateful to the amazing talent that creates most of the photographs I showcase on my website, at the moment I am the only team member in the function of my store. It gives me complete insight on every order and knowledge of each customer’s inquiries and requests, and assures them my personal attention.Cecilia, founder of Cecilia’s Steel

Working on her own didn’t prevent Cecilia from reaching major milestones for her business: from forming a corporation, to having her work highlighted at the National Endowment for the Arts website, to making her first 200 sales at an in-person event.

Selling Online with Ecwid

One of the most interesting things about Cecilia’s online selling journey is that she started researching e-commerce platforms even before her jewelry was ready to be sold.

Cecilia did her research and eventually decided on Ecwid E-commerce as her platform. She was drawn to Ecwid’s ability to add an online store to her chosen website host, as well as the ease of showcase products on selected pages.

I’m an Ecwid early adopter… I appreciated all its features, especially being able to embed the store in my own website.Cecilia, founder of Cecilia’s Steel

Her other favorite features are email notifications and the ability to display an online store in multiple languages.

The Cecilia's Steel Jewelry

The Cecilia’s Steel Jewelry

To promote her online store, Cecilia uses a combination of networking and social media. She used to promote her store at in-person events, but, for obvious reasons, hasn’t done them for months.

Cecilia is also a fan of Ecwid’s ability to add promotional offers: she has used them to offer free shipping, and has set it up as a conditional offer, based on different variables. Those offers helped her double her store sales.

Cecilia’s Formula for Success

Cecilia says that Ecwid has made it possible for her to turn her passion into a business. However, making it profitable and popular wouldn’t have been possible without building a personal brand around her artwork:

I believe that it’s the combination of having a unique product and me being my brand. People appreciate connecting to the person behind the brand, knowing that I design and handcraft each piece myself.Cecilia, founder of Cecilia’s Steel

Check out the Success Stories section on our blog to read more about Ecwid merchants and their stories. And don’t forget to give a shout out to an Ecwid store you know and love with a couple of words about them in the comments!

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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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