Small Business Spotlight: Charlotte Hosten
It wasn’t until she completed law school that Charlotte Beauduin, the owner and creative genius behind Charlotte Hosten, realized she had to make her passion for jewelry creation a priority in her life.
From that moment forward, she set out to make a career out of her passion by creating one-of-a-kind and custom jewelry pieces. With help from her business partners, PayPal and LemonStand, Charlotte has been able to do just that through an e-commerce website. Now, Charlotte sells jewelry and accepts payments online so she can spend more time doing what she loves most—creating and developing new items for her clients.
I chatted with Charlotte in Montreal to learn more about her journey into the e-commerce world, what advice she has for other small businesses, and how she’s attaining her business goals one adventure at a time.
PayPal (PP): What’s the story behind Charlotte Hosten? 
Charlotte Beauduin (CB):
The name Charlotte Hosten is really a gift from my grandmother. Charlotte is my first name and Hosten is my grandmother’s maiden surname. When I was very young and first experimenting with jewelry design, I decided to take her last name as my artist name.
I started making jewelry when I was just 16 years-old. I was inspired by a friend of mine. One Monday, she came to school with a bracelet she’d made over the weekend. Soon after, I was making earrings and other jewelry in class (especially during science classes) while hiding behind my lunch box.
Many years of schooling later, after I finished my law degree, I considered my future seriously and  it was clear to me that  I wouldn’t be happy unless I was able to express my creativity on a daily basis. With that ambition as my guiding light, I worked freelance for different advertising agencies and continued making jewelry on the side. In 2008, I had a breakthrough. I started using fabric and that opened up possibilities and enabled me to make truly unique pieces. Inspired by this new direction, I worked to build a brand and Charlotte Hosten was born.
PP: What’s your greatest milestone so far? 
CB: The day I could make a living out of my art. That’s huge for an artist and at times it feels almost impossible. Having an e-commerce website has helped me accomplish this milestone.  When I first started out, I thought I needed to have a physical store, so I opened one. I spent all my time and energy running the store and had no time left to create. Thanks to LemonStand and their intuitive e-commerce platform, I was able to build a completely customized website that is reflective of my brand. And what made it even more convenient was that their platform had seamlessly integrated with PayPal and I could get paid at the click of a button, all I have to do is create and share my work online (too long a sentence- cut short). There really is nothing better than receiving an email notifying me of a sale through my website.
Another key milestone for me was in 2011. Anthropologie, an internationally-known women’s clothing brand, asked me to design a jewelry line for them. Being a company I really love, I was so honoured they wanted to showcase my work in their stores and the partnership helped increase my global visibility.
PP: Do you have a favourite piece?
CB: I’m not a faithful designer. I love a piece I am working on, then I am struck with a creative thought and I totally fall in love with my next project. For now, my favourite is the Olivia necklace (as featured below). You can check out most of my past creations on the archive section of my website.
PP: Where do you see Charlotte Hosten in five years?
CB: I’d like to continue to growing my online sales and I’d like to grow the range of products I offer. One day I’d like to sell small pouches and more bridal jewelry.
I’d also like to travel more. A few years ago, I went to India and created a line totally inspired by my experiences there and using materials I gathered while on my trip. It’s my goal to do that every year.
PP: What advice would you give to other people who are thinking of starting their own business? 
CB: I would encourage all entrepreneurs to slow down.  Remember to enjoy the journey and to consider your next steps carefully. For me, everything went so quickly. I went from not really having too much work to having an enormous amount of work. I didn’t think about next steps or where I wanted to go. I did things that made sense in theory, like opening a shop, rather than considering what options made the most sense for me, like having an online store.
And, of course, I’d encourage business owners to be unique. If you are doing something that everyone else is doing, look for how you can be different. 
More on LemonStand: LemonStand's e-commerce platform helps fast growing brands and the web agencies they work with create beautiful e-commerce websites that stand out from the crowd. LemonStand combines the simplicity and low overhead of the cloud with the power and flexibility to customize the entire user experience that is usually only achievable with open source or enterprise platforms. This makes LemonStand the best choice for small and mid-sized retailers who are serious about growing their business.
A/B test your way to more eCommerce revenue! Learn how simple changes to your online store can create big increases in sales with this free eBook from LemonStand and PayPal. 

​​Deborah Raymond, SMB Engagement Marketing, PayPal Canada

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