Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
My name is Annelies, a few years ago my husband and I started our webshop Bughouse. Since we are both very fascinated by insects and butterflies and there was a need for a reliable supplier of these insects throughout the Benelux, we started to import them from all over the world. You should know how many people prepare butterflies and insects as a hobby. When we were also asked to deliver a finished product (in a frame or in a glass bell jar), we expanded our activities. One day my husband saw the Etsy website appear on the Internet. After a few days of studying and researching, we decided to officially go online with our finished products at the end of 2019.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
Bughousedeco is specialized in the realization of beautifully finished entomology products. This ranges from frames with butterflies or insects to large glass cloches. Everything is manufactured in our own workshop, the insects are prepared by us, the wooden bowl under the glass bell jar is made in our own workshop. And all insects are fixed by us in the frames or glass cloches. Quality is our top priority.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge is to deliver quality. No cheap frames that discolor or disintegrate after a few years, etc. We only work with sustainable materials and make every piece with precision and love.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
The best thing about doing business is the happy response of the customers after receiving their orders. It gives you the satisfaction and strength to continue and grow in something you love to do!
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
Every entrepreneur makes mistakes at the beginning from which you can learn. Because our products are extremely fragile, it sometimes happened that something broken arrived at the customer. By immersing ourselves in the types of packaging materials and testing them, we can now say that our products arrive at the customer 99% intact. And this from Belgium to all over the world.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
Every day is a different day. In my view, I try to make as many unique pieces as possible that I also like. Not everyone has the same taste in the interior, but through the use of different colors and different insects, I can offer something for everyone.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
You cannot actually learn entomology (in Belgium anyway). It is an interest you have or not. The love for nature and insects were the main reason for me to do what I do now. There are so many beautiful things about nature that people overlook in everyday life. We try to show that in our creations!
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
Go with the time of year, anticipate holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, etc … By adding colors in your designs that match the holidays you will stand out!
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
To be patient! You have to grow among the other players, social media can help you enormously, create advertisements, have a good policy, and well-balanced shipping!
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
When working in a company under a boss, you are always clustered by the number of hours you have to perform. As an independent entrepreneur, you choose your hours yourself. When I have no inspiration, I play with the children, I do the housework and suddenly you have an idea again and you go to work.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Most of my time is spent preparing the insects. This is quite a process. The design and composition of the items we make are usually done in the afternoon. My husband takes care of processing the orders and packing.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
Every entrepreneur wants to grow! But getting too big isn’t always good either. We try to grow step by step, but only by sticking to our quality and customer satisfaction.