On October 7, Hespera founder Eric Ruyak presented to Angie Kovarik’s Personal Selling class about his experiences as a fashion jewelry entrepreneur.
Ruyak founded Hespera in 2012 after years of selling jewelry at farmer’s markets and has since grown his business into an 8-figure company. Hespera is currently sold in over 700 different department stores and is the main fashion jewelry manufacturer for Anthropologie, Nordstrom, and other stores. Hespera has also sold to celebrity clients including Nicole Kidman and has provided pieces for shows like Game of Thrones.
Along with discussing his personal journey, Ruyak emphasized three “pillars” to help form relationships with clients and customers during the personal selling process
Authenticity: being your true self; finding people who are attracted to that authentic version of yourself and who actually need your products
Honesty: being transparent; what you’re offering engenders a sense of trust, and being a salesperson shouldn’t involve telling people simply what they want to hear
Kindness: by being kind you develop a following and a reputation which is most important among people who know you
In addition to these pillars, Ruyak also noted a “trap”: ego. He explained that jealousy is ego-driven and that other people’s successes aren’t a threat to you as long as you’re confident in yourself.
Kovarik’s students were able to ask questions at the end of the presentation to gain greater insight into Ruyak’s experiences and advice for beginning a personal selling career. Guest speakers are a regular occurrence in Kovarik’s class and many students found Ruyak to be their favorite speaker thus far in the semester.
By Daltyn Lofstrom