Battling High Silver Prices

Two years after her Makeover, a jewelry supplier perseveres in tough times.

Brian O'Reilly

(FORTUNE Small Business) -- FEW BUSINESS OWNERS WOULD BE SATISFIED with flat earnings growth. But Nina Cooper, whose Bay Area jewelry supply business received an FSB Makeover nearly two years ago, has proudly held her own even while the price of silver, her primary raw material, has shot through the roof.

Our consultants advised Cooper to boost her online marketing efforts. She invested in search optimization, seeding the text of her website (ninadesigns.com) with relevant keywords and losing a site design that blocked search engines from finding those keywords. Online orders rose to 75% from 35%. After one consultant warned that Cooper's inventory was turning over too slowly, she installed inventory software that helps her place orders before stocks deplete. "It keeps clients happy," she told FSB in December. "I've really seen a difference this holiday season, which is a time when we've usually had a long list of sold-out items."

Cooper has one complaint about her Makeover. She asked about hedging the silver market against rising prices. One consultant dismissed the idea. "You're in the crafts business, not the commodity business," he said. Cooper retorts: "I wish I'd ignored him. If I'd bought silver futures I could have retired by now."

To give feedback, please write to fsb_mail@timeinc.com. Top of page

Could your business use a makeover? In general, successful Makeover candidates are profitable small companies with at least $1 million in annual gross revenues. To submit your firm for consideration, e-mail the FSB makeover editor here. Please describe your business briefly, provide your most recent and projected revenues, and explain why you think your company would benefit from a Makeover.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.