FAIRBORN — Coyne’s Crystals owners Frances Coyne and Crystal Gibson make 99 percent of their jewelry by hand. In fact, if one were to purchase a gemstone or rare mineral from their shop on Main Street, odds are that Coyne mined the piece from the earth herself.
Coyne refers to herself as a “rock hound,” a colloquial term for rock collectors and geology enthusiasts, who often mine their own rare stones and minerals. Coyne started initially as a hobbyist, making gifts of jewelry for family and friends out of her garage. Eventually, Gibson and the rest of her family pushed her to turn her passion into a business.
“I knew we had something we could grow,” Gibson said.
Coyne’s Crystals opened at its current location in Fairborn in 2019. When the lockdown first began in March 2020, Coyne was certain that, as a fairly new business, they weren’t going to make it through the year. Gibson, however, was unperturbed.
“What we do is so unusual,” Gibson said. “Nobody does what we do, and we hustle. Nobody will ever out-work any of us.”
And hustle they did.
Gibson picked up a second job, and the two spent the early part of lockdown putting nearly all of their rock, mineral and jewelry inventory online. Gibson, Coyne and their partners delivered their products to customers across the area. Coyne conducts online rock and jewelry shows via Facebook Live, and Gibson manages the shop’s posts across their social media pages. The two also conduct jewelry classes online, teaching participants to make their own jewelry.
Coyne’s specialty is street sales. Before opening her storefront, Coyne was a street vendor primarily out of Yellow Springs. In addition to having their store in downtown Fairborn, Coyne continues to participate in street fairs in Yellow Springs during the summer months. This includes in 2020, while in compliance with the village’s mask mandate.
Coyne and Gibson estimate that the Yellow Springs street fairs and sales from social media combined account for approximately 90 percent of their 2020 revenue.
“All of us have this particular skill we’re good at. We wouldn’t be successful without the skills that we each have,” Coyne said. “We complement each other perfectly.”
The duo found an unlikely tool in the meteoric rise of the platform TikTok.
“I’d say 10 to 20 percent of our new business from 2020 to this year is from TikTok,” Gibson said. “I have young kids coming here and I’m like ‘how are you into crystals?’ The answer: TikTok.”
Coyne and Gibson’s primary personal interest in the stones they collect is in the geological qualities. Coyne originally became interested in geology as a rock hound in Arizona. However, many of their customers, particularly on social media, have interest in the astrological aspects of their product as well.
“People really like the metaphysical stuff, so I put it in there,” Gibson said. “For me though it’s been helpful because I’m learning stuff I didn’t know.”
“We’re also creative. We try to tackle every end of the gem and mineral market there is,” Coyne added.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Coyne says that she expects 2021 to be better than the last year. For both Coyne and Gibson, much of their success – and success in 2021 – comes down to their mindset.
“I’m optimistic, I really am,” Coyne said. “Once everybody gets vaccinated and once we get through this it’s going to be such a comeback. So many people lost their loved ones this year, and we’re grateful we didn’t have to go through that. But we’re optimistic, because that’s the only way you can be,” Coyne said.
“I’m not competing with anyone,” Gibson said, speaking from a business perspective. “I’m not worried about anything outside of this. Do I worry? Yes. But then I take that worry and I think, ‘Is this benefiting me? No.’ So I think about the things I can control.”
“It’s easier to wake up with a smile,” Gibson added. “We’re a tiny little snowball and we’re going to become an avalanche.”
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.