Sarah Otto is the co-founder of Linked, a jewelry school equipping female entrepreneurs to capitalize on the permanent jewelry trend and found their own businesses. As the name suggests, people wear permanent jewelry 24/7 — instead of clasps, the pieces are “zapped” into place with a unique welding process.
Customers accent these dainty sterling silver and 14K gold bracelets and necklaces with personalized gemstones and charms to accent any outfit. They come to permanent jewelers on anniversaries, bachelorette parties, and birthdays for a group experience and jewelry that symbolizes a lasting bond.
Sarah Otto’s journey to becoming a female founder
Since childhood, Otto dreamed of being her own boss. After years of success in the beauty and jewelry industry, she knew it was time to take the next step.
“Linked was born from my desire to empower other women with the same success,” Otto recalls. “Most importantly, I wanted to show my daughter an example of women doing wonderful things and seizing the endless opportunities before them. Motherhood is my inspiration.”
In addition to inspiration from her daughter, Otter has unfailing support from her fiancé. “He listened patiently and validated me every time I brought up the business,” she recalls. “He didn’t complain when our home overflowed with inventory, machinery, computers, desks, and employees. He performed quality checks on equipment until two in the morning and cooked dinner for busy employees.”
Linked launched with loads of support, spotty Wi-Fi, and gallons of cheap caffeine, but Otto managed to surpass her one-year revenue goal during her first two months. Today, Linked is a rapidly growing, multi-million-dollar business.
“Every so often, I pause to look around at everything we created,” Otto remarks. “At times like this, I feel so proud. All I can say is that, if I can do this, anyone can.”
Linked paves the way for female founders
“We need far more women founders in the world,” Otto says. “Our opinions, perspectives, and expertise are valuable. They will help businesses grow and become better. Any woman can take the leap to pursue her passion — a mother with children, a young college student, a single woman, or a woman living in a small town. We need to believe in ourselves and encourage other women to do the same.”
Otto founded a jewelry school to create a path for more women to take control of their careers. Linked shows entrepreneurs how easy joining this rising trend can be.
“Most businesses take tens of thousands in investment capital, but the entry barrier to permanent jewelry is unbelievably low,” she explains. “Some of our clients turn permanent jewelry into a portable side hustle. Others turn it into a full-time brick-and-mortar business, but the path you choose is completely up to you. I have seen college students become wildly successful simply by setting up tables, welding machines, and jewelry displays at boutiques, coffee shops, and bachelorette parties.”
According to Otto, aspiring jewelry makers can learn the craft in hours. Even with zero experience, the technique is extremely safe and easy.
“Our welding technique uses electrical current to bind the jewelry in place,” explains Otto. “This current never becomes hot. The jewelry, electrode, and customer’s skin remain cool to the touch. In addition, the electrical current only reacts to metal. Even if a person touches the ground and the electrode simultaneously, the machine will not deliver a shock to your skin.
Providing female entrepreneurs with the tools for success
Starting any business can be overwhelming, which is why Linked provides entrepreneurs with all the training courses and equipment they need to launch. The affordable package includes a welding machine, stylus, 30 feet of chain link material, jump rings, needle nose pliers, cutters, protective eyewear, tungsten needles, a diamond-plate Dremel, a magnifier, pre-made marketing materials, lifetime support, and a permanent discount on supplies. Our kits are constantly evolving and growing to best fit our students’ needs. The more successful we become as a company, the more we can do to elevate our kits.
These affordable materials and rapid product turnaround times for customers lead to phenomenal profit margins. According to the company’s website, the starting kit provides material to create around 20 bracelets. With these supplies, jewelry startups can generate over $2,100 in two and a half hours.
Linked recently celebrated the enrollment of its 1,000th student. “We are in no way a multi-level marketing company,” says Otto. “We never generate profit from our students. Once students purchase their initial supplies and online educational materials, they are free to become CEOs of their companies. We simply offer the stepping stones to mark the way for more female-owned startups.”
Otto is determined to be more than a launching pad for her students. Instead, she comes alongside them as a personal mentor. “I take time to call them and develop relationships,” she says. “I want to know each of them and their families. Linked is more than an online course. I make long-term emotional investments in my students.”
Linked’s accessible training empowers women of all backgrounds with the confidence to step forward and launch their own businesses. “The worst that can happen is not failure,” Otto explains. “Living a life of regret for missed opportunities is far worse. Founding Linked was a personal risk for my family and me, but I did not want to live a life looking back and wondering ‘what if.’ I knew that I had to pursue my passion, and I knew I could empower other women to join me and follow their hearts.”
Aspiring female founders can find more information about Linked by watching informational videos on the school’s website. They can also receive updates by following the school’s Instagram feed, @permanent.jewerly.training.