Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Hey! My name is Aleona Maximova and I’m from Rybinsk, Russia. I’m a freelance artist and decorator, a little in my bubble:) I really love hand-painted wood, this is my hobby since childhood. For many years ago, hand painting on wood was only a hobby, and I was engaged in economics in a company. Three years ago (2018) I realized that this is my passion and I must follow this path. And my hobby has become a favorite job. In 2020, I decided to open my own business on Etsy. My hobby is started for AleMax (Short for my full name and surname). AleMax is a brand of hand-painted wooden products related to surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. All three of these are amazing, it will unite people from worldwide, and forever in my heart!
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
I manage my Etsy store all by myself, which can be complicated sometimes.
What are your best selling products, what type of materials are used in your creations, how do you design your products, what makes your products stand out?
My store is very new and I don’t have any sales yet. Nevertheless, I’m not stopping and sales will appear soon. Because all my products are made with love.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
The most challenging part was learning everything from the ground up. I had no prior experience in online sales. And at the beginning, it was difficult with the language, since English is not my native language, I can communicate, but I didn’t have experience in narrow areas (sales, product descriptions), I quickly fixed it.
Who do you sell to (and how do you get customers)? What marketing tools or strategies you use to boost your sales? Are you satisfied with the results?
I sell to people who love boards so much like me! I love people so much and really want to bring benefit and joy to everyone. I think my hands and my creativity will help me do this. I use Instagram and Facebook and Etsy, of course, and started to study Pinterest. My strategy is love and honesty!
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
I think there is no formula. As I said before, only love and honesty. Well, you must also have a passion for your do.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
The most difficult time was a year after the start. It was difficult to understand that not all my ideas are so interesting to the world. It was hard to believe in myself. I’m still on this path of acceptance, but I already feel very confident, I know if you love it, just do it, and success will catch up later. And only love for my work helped me always, the main motivation is to enjoy the process. And the support of close people is very important, and my boyfriend is very supportive of me. Thanks. The recipe is simple: business from the heart – enjoy the process of work – support of close people.
What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?
I really like the thought “When you’re riding on the board, you must merge into one, you must become the board”, this is so great and it’s true! While riding, I feel this connection with my board, and I feel the same when I paint on wood, me and the wooden thing are one.
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is the average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?
Yes, I ship my product all over the world. I indicate postal services separately from the price for the product and calculate them based on the mail rates + add packaging costs. I provide gift wrapping for each product, also, at the request of the buyer, I can write a message on a postcard. Shipping packaging is always very strong, it’s very important for me because my product isn’t damaged during transportation
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Everything is simple. Just do it!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Start doing what you want! Don’t wait! Now is a special moment!
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
For me, this is freedom and creative expression! Success is very different for everyone, but personally, for me it’s the freedom to be myself, to talk about everything in the world with the help of my creativity. To be understandable to different people and make their life more fun even for a moment.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I try to follow the daily routine. I work in AleMaxStore every day. I definitely take breaks during the working day. It is very important.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I plan to expand my product range and create new designs.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
You have to understand everything yourself, but at the same time be able to work in a team too.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
Don’t be afraid to do it! You are today what you dreamed about yesterday. Please don’t stop dreaming !.