Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Hi, my name is Alexander, I am engaged in the manufacture of handmade goods from genuine leather. I have tried many times to go about my business, in a variety of industries. Something turned out to be good, some did not work at all. But I constantly caught myself thinking the more you try, the more chances you have of reaching your goal. Do not forget at what stage of development and involvement in the creation process you are. In my opinion, the best motivation is when you understand that other people have succeeded, and you ask yourself the question, why am I worse, I didn’t even try, after that you are motivated to succeed. I’m tired of being a hired employee, I’ve always wanted independence. I began to take an interest in the topic of leather goods, watch a video on leather processing, find out what tools are needed to organize the production process, then I made a plan and began to follow the goal. Of course, in the first stages, not everything was good, since I did not have enough experience and knowledge, but over time, I mastered this profession quite well.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
My responsibilities as a store owner are, first of all, to organize the process of manufacturing leather goods, on time, to monitor the quality, to meet the stated standards, and to provide constant service for the customers of my store at a very high level. I personally carry on correspondence with clients, inform them about the sending of the parcel, I make sure that the client always receives feedback from me.
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?
How I understood what I need to make in order for my products to be sold. It’s simple, in search sites, I entered the name of the things that I thought to make, after, I checked the frequency of requests, if the number in the search is large, then this is my option. Next, I was designing, producing a couple of new things. After that, I definitely showed potential customers new samples, and only after receiving positive feedback, I started production and further implementation. The best selling products are covers for tablets and mini PCs. The materials from which they are made are natural cowhide, waxed thread, metal fittings. Of course, my products differ from other, the same manufacturers, first of all, it is the color scale, the color of the skin itself, the personalization that I do, engraving, embossing, individual orders.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
The most difficult thing in entrepreneurship is that the market is too large, with quite a lot of competition, some manufacturers can collapse the market very strongly, at a very low price. Most of all I like entrepreneurship, it is a constant process of self-realization, development of yourself and your brand, this is involved in what you create, a constant search for something new.
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 the target audience, to everyone who wants to express themselves, or to those who love comfort and reliability, practicality in things, who appreciate handicrafts. Often I use advertising both inside the site and outside, it can be anything, social networks, or custom articles, why I do this because I want to develop, and constantly scale my business. I am not always happy with the result, since the expected result may not justify itself, and sometimes, and vice versa, the forecasts may be overfulfilled.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
The formula for success for me is persistence, an iron will achieve the goal, and the principle, Take it and do it.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
The world crisis, which has made its own adjustments. This is a difficult time for an entrepreneur, when the rate jumps, buying opportunity falls. The most difficult thing is to lose the level of the state of affairs and prosperity at which you are as if you were pulled out of your comfort zone. You begin to do everything possible to restore your position. I think this is the most difficult in my practice, and the recipe is this, you shouldn’t give up, you need to gather all your will into a fist, concentrate as much as possible on the result and look for a way out, or do whatever depends on you. This approach will bear fruit. This is how I went through the most difficult times.
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 am inspired by nature, fishing, when you are on a pond, in a picturesque place, and your goal is sport fishing, in your mind you forget all problems and worries, and are at one with nature. This is a very good emotional release. As a rule, after relaxing in nature, good thoughts and inspiration come. The best tool for creativity is reading a book, imagine a novel that you have read, while reading, you visualize what is happening. And even doing analysis, asking yourself questions about what the author wanted to convey, what will happen to the hero of the novel, or what kind of culmination awaits me. Books nourish the imagination, and usually creativity, which is at our core.
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?
The product that I am sending is a parcel calculated by weight and dimensions, which has a standard shipping cost, it is very important to calculate the packaging correctly so as not to overpay to the postal operator. I advise the cost of delivery to be included in the cost of the parcel, why it is important because the buyer who wants to purchase your product does not want to pay twice for the goods and shipping, this is inconvenient for the buyer, a waste of time, this is a fact, I personally know from myself. On average, it takes me three days to manufacture and ship, delivery to the buyer from 10 to 30 days, this is due to the work of the postal operator, which, unfortunately, I cannot influence. I pack the products according to the requirements of the postal operator, and I treat the packaging very carefully since a difference of 10 grams can increase the shipping cost by 50%.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Understanding the structure of the site where you are going to sell, knowing the trends for which there is demand, marketing, and traffic that will ensure the growth of your store.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Before you start, collect data about the specific industry in which you want to try yourself, catch yourself thinking that you are really interested in it, conduct an in-depth analysis of the market and competitors. Take an example from successful stores or companies, if they succeed, you will definitely succeed.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
This is Money and Freedom. I will explain that without money you cannot realize your ambitions, fly to rest, buy yourself some cherished item, and much more, having money, this is freedom of action, and the possibility of self-realization in everything, this is freedom.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I work hard enough to get more. I get up early and stay up late, this is my responsibility to my family and a direct obligation. My job is to organize the manufacturing process of products, personnel management, purchase of products, sales of goods, financial monitoring, and much more, while I manage, and do not even think to delegate my powers, because, participating in all processes, at any time I can replace an employee when he gets sick or goes on vacation. The rest of the time from work, I do housework, often go to the forest, to fish. Now I have bought garden trees, and I will plant them.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
Without fail, I will increase the traffic to my store, this is the most important thing, now I am preparing a new assortment for the sale of goods. Also now I am considering new color options for the leather, this is important, since fashion does not stand still, and every year the trend changes.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
First of all, I turned on ads on Etsy, then created an account on Pinterest, and created pins for my products. I am also engaged in the manufacture of new designs for vische.
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