Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
My name is Terry, and I live in San Diego, California. The idea behind my brand is to inspire people to improve their lifestyles through create better habits. During the global pandemic, the new norm was to go out in public wearing a mask to help stop the spread of Covid-19. When this started, it made me realize that this was a new reality now and we must adapt to it. That’s why we started our online retail, to provide customers with products we feel would help them get through their day to day of this new reality.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
With being a very small business, I hold many of the responsibilities for our day to day operations. I’ll monitor the Etsy dashboard daily for incoming orders to fulfill. This means daily visits to the Post Office to drop off customer orders. I also look out for all customer inquiries and answer any questions they may have. I manage the inventory to make sure nothing goes out of stock.
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?
Our best selling product is the Origami Mask. We use cotton fabric with the inclusion of a melt-blown non-woven filter for extra protection. We made countless prototypes to make sure we came up with the most comfortable masks while being stylish at the same time. We offer over 20 designs, consisting of solid colors to unique prints.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
What I enjoy most about being an entrepreneur is the satisfaction of seeing my customers happy with my products. The hardest part of running the business is that there were times when we had a bad batch of materials sent to us, compared to our previous orders. We want to ensure our products are made of the highest quality every time, so we had sought a vendor with fabrics up to our standards.
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?
We are currently selling through the Etsy platform exclusively. Our target market is customers who prefer a handmade stylish mask. We market our products through Etsy Ads, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. We are happy with our launch, but we know we have plenty of room to grow.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
I believe the winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur is to not ever give up. It takes building good habits along with a lot of trial and error.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
Making our products and brand stand out in the Etsy marketplace has been the toughest moment as there are many other mask sellers. We heavily focused on the designs, the SEO, addition of new products, branding, inventory, high-quality photos, and much more to help us stand out.
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?
We’re always looking for ways to improve products that are already out there. But we also try to create brand new products. We often utilize social media such as Instagram and Pinterest to get inspiration for our new products. Before we officially launch a product, we ask close family and friends to try out our prototypes.
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?
We do ship products internationally. We’ve received orders from the U.K., Ireland, Singapore, Germany, Abu Dhabi, and many more. Our customers would pay the postage fee which is automatically added during checkout on Etsy. On average, it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a week for delivery in the lower 48 states. We do offer free shipping to customers who spend $35 or more.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
It takes a lot of effort because you have to learn many different skills to run your online business. Some of these activities include market research, good product photography, writing good product descriptions, understand SEO, learning the online sales platform, and social media marketing.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
My advice would be to fail fast and fail often to learn from your mistakes and improve on the next venture as you get more experience.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I define business success as being able to provide my customers with quality products that will improve their day to day lives. At the same time, being able to support me and my team.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I utilize a planner along with Google Calendar to help me manage my team effectively for my daily activities.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
We plan to try influencer marketing and consistently add new products to our store. The biggest impact is on our profitability many times dependent on marketing.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
At the beginning, our mistake was not focusing on the SEO right off the bat, which made it hard for our shop and products to be discovered. Soon after, we did a lot of research and found the importance of it.