Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
My name is Yaakov Artzy. I own a t-shirt printing company and I distribute my product in the Caribbean islands. Since my regular business relies 100% on a truism, my business came to a standstill due to the pandemic. During regular business days, I export more than 20,000 t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, tie-dye t-shirt, and a bunch of other blanks that I have access to. As far as my business niche, have 3 basic rules: A) I buy everything here in the USA,(I do not import anything) B) I sell only items that I have on my shelves. C) Whatever other sellers do, I try to do the opposite.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
Due to my original business, I am fortunate to have access to almost unlimited types of blanks and prints. I own a sublimation printer along with 9 heat press machines. I advertise same-day shipping because I have the blanks and I have the prints in stock so every order receive will take 12 seconds to print and all I need is to print a shipping label. As an online consumer myself I know that speed is the key and when a person places an order, he wants it yesterday. I try to give the best customer service that I can offer.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
The most challenging aspect of this type of business is visibility on the web, and with Etsy ads, I saw a big change. Getting the product is the easy part.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I came to the U.S. when I was 22 after immigrating from Israel, I never graduated, and I dropped out of school when I was 17. Everything I achieved in my life was a trial, error, and self-taught .the hardest thing about it is finding time to maximize my ideas. As far as I concern Entrepreneurship is another word for doing the opposite of what other people do, and for me, this is a principal.
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
My biggest mistake was not knowing about Etsy Adds, had I knew about the ads from the beginning I could have multiplied my sales 10 folds.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
even though I was not born in this country, I am absolutely fascinated with the history of this country. I traveled the USA on wheels and visited many states while traveling I noticed that the Flag is displayed randomly on houses, cars, businesses, clothes, etc, I think this is my biggest influence .the history is rich and people love to show their love for this country.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I have no online background prior to the pandemic, it is just long hours of trial and error and simply experimenting .the product is on my shelves, all I need is to display it in the right way.
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
I am trying to target a certain age group that I assume would like my product. based on what I wrote on the preview questions, I had the chance to meet and see the type of cliental I am targeting. All though I never met them personally I think I have an idea regarding their fashion state.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
One must know where to get his product before selling it. once you are setting a standard of selling only items that you have direct access to, you are developing a good habit that will gateway your business for growth. Although it is the hardest part of the business, it is the most essential part.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
For me personally, freedom is business success. The rest will line up in time. If you can be creative your expression will lead to innovation and ultimately will lead to money and freedom. The only influence I care for is to influence my kids to be original and not to follow. If there is a word I despise is the word “everybody”, I can honestly say that this word literally irritates me.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I wake up daily at 4:30 Am, I am a member at a Crossfit box where I exercise daily from 6-7 am. I arrive at my office at around 8:30 and come home around 8 or 9 pm. My wife owns her law firm and my kid’s grown-ups.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I think adding more listings is key to growth and profitability. I am lucky that I am not relying on this business as my main income so it gives me more freedom to invest in more products that I can offer online.
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I received orders from Australia Ireland and Belgium, something I never thought possible. Etsy answers almost all aspects of online selling.