Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I’m a full-time event and wedding photographer and when the pandemic hit, I had to quickly pivot since all of my events and weddings were either canceled or postponed to 2021. I have a passion for health and fitness and with the help of my husband, we started selling neck gaiters and masks after recognizing the need for them, during this pandemic.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
With the help of my husband, we manage it all. From beginning to end. From designing to sourcing our products in the Philippines to managing our e-commerce to finding the perfect packaging, processing, and shipping daily, answering every email and phone call that comes through, and being present and attentive to all of our customer’s needs.
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?
The number one thing that draws people to our gaiters is our unique designs, the quality, and the ease of use. Since our focus is on health and fitness, our best selling products is our neck gaiters. We have a lot of endurance athletes that love our product, but many others have also found many uses with our multi-functional gaiters. The ease of accessibility when you need a face covering is one of the major benefits of our gaiters. When you need it, pull it up, when you don’t need it, pull it down. It nests nicely around your neck – you won’t lose it, keeps it sanitized because it stays on you, and it’s stylish! Another huge benefit is gaiters work so much nicer for kids! It’s super easy for them to use and they won’t lose it 🙂 We’ve also recently released face masks! But it’s not just a mask. We took what our customers loved about our gaiters and applied it to our mask. No ear fatigue because this mask is not held up by ear loops. It’s held up by bungee cords, where you can adjust it with ease!
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
Entrepreneurship can be a tough road. In the difficult moments, how do you stay focused on moving forward and making progress? Being my own boss! I love the flexibility it gives me, but at times, I do feel like I work more than the typical 40 hour work week… Especially now, as I am building my brand and managing 2 companies. The toughest thing about being my own boss is knowing when to stop working and knowing when to ask for help. I’m finally getting the hang of work/life balance, but sometimes I must admit that I do need to be better about this.
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 health and fitness enthusiasts. I encourage the health and fitness lifestyle through my social media and blog, so I get my customers through social media and word of mouth referrals. I also do some Facebook marketing. I’m grateful for the blessings I’ve had thus far, but will always continue to work harder to get my message and brand across.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
YES. Hard work, a vision, a solid product, and developing and building a culture and an amazing CUSTOMER SERVICE!
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
That there will always be trolls. It was difficult for me to get over in the beginning because what they were saying affected me, but I quickly realized that you can’t please everyone, even in business. The ones that will be loyal will be loyal, the ones that will have something to say will always have something to say. Continue to show your authentic self and you’ll find that those that are going to support will always be there. Don’t sweat the small stuff, because, at the end of it all, it’s only the small stuff. Life’s too short, move on and focus on the positive 🙂
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?
A clear mind. Sometimes, I get inspiration out of the blue. Sometimes I get inspiration after meditation while running or biking. Some quiet time or me-time usually does the trick!
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, we do ship internationally, and there are a good handful of interests in our products internationally! Postage pricing is automatically calculated through our website. Currently, USPS is having major delays due to the pandemic with decrease flights, trucks, and staff so it’s difficult to say the length of time for delivery. Most of our customers do receive it in a timely manner. Every order we ship has a tracking number, so it’s easily trackable through the system! We do offer free shipping as an incentive and will post coupon codes on our social media 🙂 Aside from designing our products, we take pride in packaging them as well! It’s really an experience when you receive a My E Three product 🙂 As a consumer, this is one of the things I look for when I purchase products so it’s important to me to also provide this for my customers.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Focus on each part of the process and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. From design to product R&D, to product quality, to product presentation, to packaging. From website visit to placing an order, and email acknowledgments. EVERY STEP MATTERS!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
The hardest thing is starting. Once you’ve put money, time, and energy, then you’re invested. As long as we try, then all we can do is either succeed or fail. Failing is all part of the process, that’s how we learn. And at the end of the day, as long as I know that I’ve given it my all, then I’m ok with the result.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Business success is any progress from the previous day, whether it’s money, freedom, reach, creative expression, and innovation. Any step forward is progress and MUST be celebrated 🙂 Progress, not perfection is one of my mantras.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I’m a morning person. I get up pretty early in the day to get started. I meditate first thing and last thing every day, which jump-starts and ends my day so perfectly! Every day is always evolving on whatever needs to get done that day, whether it’s marketing, designing, managing orders, managing inventory. But the constant is responding to emails and social media inquiries, filling orders daily to get our products in our customer’s hands.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
Continue to build a culture around the My E Three brand. The biggest impact on my profitability is the culture behind our brand and listening to the needs of our loyal customers.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Make your Etsy store welcoming 🙂
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
My three stands for Empower, Enlighten, and Encourage – the core values that the lifestyle and wellness brand embodies. My three was born out of co-founder Michele Rivera’s passion for running and endurance training. To Michele, there is no greater sense of satisfaction than setting a personal goal and conquering it. Endurance training has helped Michele feel empowered as a woman and mother of a child with special needs. She has completed many half marathons and marathons, but when she discovered triathlons in 2017, she dreamt big and set out a huge goal of doing an Ironman triathlon which consists of 140.6 miles of swimming, biking, and running. After adjusting her diet for 1 year and training for 10 months, she completed her first full Ironman of 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2 miles run in Madison, Wisconsin in front of her family and friends in 2019. Being able to complete a full Ironman in front of her daughter was one of the proudest moments of her life. Swimming, biking, and running have been an enlightening experience for her. She has learned that the confidence and strength one gains from crossing finish lines can carry over into daily life. It has helped Michele set new challenges and get through the darkest times of her life. It is this experience that inspired Michele to start the MyEThree brand along with her husband Andy. To Michele, MyEThree is more than a business. It is a platform where she can share her journey to encourage others to persevere and follow their passions.