There’s no need to look into our crystal ball to make this prediction: mysticism and “New Age” items are part of the mainstream. As Ruby Warrington, founder of the mystical online destination “The Numinous” puts it: the New Age is actually the Now Age.
To be clear: Healing crystals aren’t a trend, they are a movement. And what was once considered a “woo-woo juju” practice, previously relegated to hippies and covens, has now entered the daily conversation. Healing crystals and gemstones such as rose quartz can likely be spotted on your colleague’s desk and shamans are now part of people’s roster of healing experts. Even celebrities are wearing their crystals loud and proud: Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow (whose Goop lifestyle and wellness site features resources about all things mystical) to Katy Perry and Adele are singing their crystals’ praises.
Crystals By Nature, an online purveyor of crystals, rocks, gemstones, as well as jewelry, home decor, and even metaphysical items, is experiencing retail success thanks to its vast array of stones and supplies — for whatever “crystal or healing prescription” you’re looking for.
Launched in November of 2015 (on a different platform and with a different domain name), Crystals By Nature relaunched in April of 2016 on Shopify. Today, founder Karen Richards and Operations Manager Jeff Gray have set out to spread the good vibes to everyone — and their timing couldn’t be better.
We just want everyone to have good vibes; we send them out daily and we get them in return from our customers.” — Operations Manager Jeff Gray
Discover how Crystals By Nature is experiencing success by buying key cosmic merchandise at trade shows, leveraging the right SEO keywords, and showcasing rich content on their site’s blog.
How Crystals By Nature (Naturally) Came To Be
Its launch story is pretty organic.
Karen Richards is the Founder and Owner of Texas-based Nature’s Treasures, the country’s largest metaphysical crystal and rock shop. Richards asked Jeff Gray to join her in launching the online division of Nature’s Treasures of Texas, in order to “bring the healing energy of crystals to people in small towns across the U.S. and around the world,” as Gray puts it. Launching an online store was the most logical way to expand, and as Gray explains, “To contribute to that mission.”
The rest is crystal magic.
As it turns out, Richards made a wise choice in offering the opportunity to Gray, who boasts a business and technical background. After some time in investor services with companies like Charles Schwab and Janus Mutual Funds, Gray left finance and pursued his true passion: computers. He landed a job at Apple, where he worked for five years. Gray always loved designing websites for local businesses in his spare time, so he was excited when the opportunity to develop and launch Crystals By Nature came his way.
When Richards and Gray first launched online, they worked with a local company who designed a custom site for them, but then soon realized (post launch) that the site design was static and therefore they couldn’t make any changes to it. According to Gray, “Even changing a banner or font was a major ordeal.” So he quickly researched alternatives — Shopify being one of them. In his words, “Shopify makes it so easy to build a successful store with virtually no experience needed.”
And they right to follow their instincts: Three months after re-launching on Shopify’s platform, they received positive feedback from customers.
According to Gray, “Customers thanked us for being there and providing not just rocks, but the information and tools on how to use them.”
Riding The Mystic Trend: Best Sellers
While Crystals By Nature’s target audience is described as a broad range of men and women of all ages “who understand the importance of bringing nature into their lives, and who love crystals and minerals and the energy surrounding them,” it’s crystal clear that the recent cosmic wave is positively influencing the interest in gemstones and mystical decor.
According to a May 2017 Fast Company article about the gemstone industry boom, there has been a 40% increase in Google searches for “crystal healing” in the last four years. This helps explain why this industry is now considered a billion-dollar one.
As shaman and “spiritual influencer” Colleen McCann of Style Rituals puts it in the Fast Company piece: “As a collective, we’re starting to reawaken to practices that have been here for thousands of years.”
Several factors are contributing to the industry’s recent spike in popularity: For starters, there is a “back to nature” movement occurring, which stems from a general urge to feel grounded with the earth as a way of “detoxing” from our highly digital lives.
There is also a trending (and welcome!) notion of creating daily rituals to help add calm and intention to our busy, anxiety-filled lifestyles, which is why practices like mindfulness, energy cleansing, and smudging (according to MindBodyGreen, smudging your home or office with sage is like doing a deep metaphysical cleansing) are gaining traction in mainstream magazines.
And here are just a couple of categories seeing major sales as this industry continues to blossom.
1. Home Decor
People are looking for ways to get rid of bad energy in their homes, which explains why home decor is Crystals By Nature’s top category.
“People love the Amethyst Tea Light Holders, Quartz Lamps, and Agate Bookends. Bringing nature into your home is really taking off around the globe,” Gray explains.
Speaking of energy cleansing in the home, Crystals By Nature’s Himalayan Salt Lamps are currently sold out. Himalayan Salt Lamps are everywhere right now; fashion and lifestyle website COVETEUR did a recent story on the trend, in which Heather Askinosie, crystal expert and holistic healer, explains that “Himalayan salt is a powerful tool to absorb negative energy from your home or office. Salt itself has a reputation as a powerful cleansing, purifying, and detoxifying energy.”
It also helps that staying home and making your home a cozy sanctuary of sorts is a key decor and lifestyle trend!
Jewelry is the second best-selling category at Crystals By Nature, because according to Gray, “People want to bring the crystals and minerals into their lives, wear them, and enjoy having the beauty and healing energy with them, throughout the day.”
We have an uptrend in this area and we really welcome it. People are attracted to [crystals] and to their energies, and once they discover them and learn how to use them, then crystals become a part of their life journey.” — Jeff Gray
Where does the Crystals By Nature team find its merchandise?
At least 90% of its product assortment hails from trade shows: “Attending trade shows really allows us to get out, and see and feel the products before we purchase them. We get to meet new customers and see what is really shaking up the market and the industry.”
(On that note, they just launched the Adrienne Goff Collection and hope to launch The Melody Collection later this year.)
Advice To Aspiring Entrepreneurs
The Crystals By Nature team recognizes that nothing happens overnight — no matter how much one might try to manifest success.
Even with Gray’s technical skills, they experienced challenges such as mastering SEO and learning how to market a brand in the digital world.
“In the end, I had to just take the time to study and learn SEO,” Gray explains. “It has certainly paid off and I would highly recommend to anyone starting an online store that they take the time to fully learn and understand it.”
The SEO component is especially critical for Crystals By Nature to leverage, as there are two distinctly different markets they’re trying to attract:
- The die-hard rock collectors; and
- The metaphysical/healing crystals fan base.
The brick-and-mortar store marries the two segments wonderfully, but online has remained more challenging.
By experimenting with digital marketing channels like Google AdWords, eBay promoted listings, email, and social media marketing (Instagram and Facebook), they have found their sweet spot.
Gray explains: “We have found Google AdWords and eBay promoted listings to be the most effective paid marketing campaigns. Perhaps our most effective pure marketing tactic is our email marketing, which we try to do regularly. We have an amazingly high readership on our blog, so we try to make sure posts are sent to customers bi-weekly.”
Gray’s top advice for other entrepreneurs?
“Don’t stress yourself out. It took us 10 times longer than expected to get where we wanted to be, but it happened.”
As for marketing and merchandising, Gray suggests create a marketing plan in advance and starting out with simple inventory.
More Healing Crystals: What Does The Future Hold For Crystals By Nature?
While the mystical “high vibe” trend will likely become even more common, this will translate into more opportunities for Crystals By Nature. For starters, they hope to launch their mobile app and move to the Shopify Plus platform. They are also expanding their brick-and-mortar footprint by the end of 2017, with a second store location in Texas called Austin Agates (which focuses on collector agate pieces).
One thing’s for sure: Crystals By Nature believes in good karma. At the time of writing this, Hurricane Harvey was in the midst of devastating Crystal By Nature’s home base of Austin, which is why they are donating 10% of all proceeds to the Central and South Texas Region of the American Red Cross for hurricane relief.
And we’re sending only good vibes their way.
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