Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
My business name, MJ’s Kraze, says it all. I don’t have a niche since I sell everything from greeting cards, planner accessories, pet toys, etc. I first opened up MJ’s Kraze to sell durable dog toys because I was sure I wasn’t the only one who hated throwing away their dog’s toys with minutes of buying them. That is why I started to sew my own dog’s toys out of two layers of fabric. It soon branched out to other items, which I expand every year.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
Now my produce list might seem long and everything can be found in one shop. I sell the following: greeting cards, planner covers, traveler’s notebook covers and inserts, bookmarks, pet apparel, pet toys, holiday ornaments, and face masks. The manufacturing is all done in my home studio. From the start of the creating process to the packaging, it is all done by me. There are some late night cutting materials or hand-stitching close toys.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
At the moment, like most businesses a large challenge is locating materials. I do a lot of online research of looking at items and when I find something I know will be used often I go for bulk order.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I love being my own boss. The hardest thing is being your own boss. All your successes and failures are all on you. You have to spend your time wisely but making sure you do it with 100% effort.
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
The biggest mistake for a newbie is pricing wrong, I have been there. After a while, you get the feel of the time, cost, and fees it takes to do an order. Do get to concern if your prices are a little more than the competitors. You want to build your business on quality.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
Follow the trends but do your own twist to them so you stand out. Every once in a while when looking at fabric and think to myself I would love to have this as a piece I would wear I will buy extra for my shop for products. It usually turns out to be popular. In other words, follow your instincts.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
Trial and error on products always do prototypes. Behind the scenes of running a business were taught to me by my father who had been running his own business for 30+ years.
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
Word of mouth is your best marketing tool. try sharing customer’s reviews, To keep customers coming ba
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Accept criticism and use it as a building block to improve the way you sell. Another big thing learns all about SEO, without great SEO you will not get found. Write item titles and descriptions like a buyer will search for. No long cute wordy be short but precise. Another thing you need to have a good camera for taking pictures of products and spend time on editing. Get those pictures clear and bright because that is your first impression on a customer.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Business success in my eyes is making a profit after all the bills are paid but you have to be doing something you 100% enjoy.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
My day starts out doing shop work online. I check on orders that have shipped, respond to messages, and then do a little social media. In the afternoon, it comes to staring creating items. Throughout that process, I will stop and do more online work for a few moments. At night time is when I will do the packaging of orders that will be going out the next morning.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
My main focus in growth is to stick with what I know (sewing and papercrafts) but keep improving items and growing the product range. Always listen to your customers. I was given some great ideas by them which turned out to some of my most popular items. The biggest impact on the profits it advertising. Keep adjusting the budget. and try to only advertise one item from each item category.