Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
My name is Alexis, and I am obsessed with all things magical and celestial. That is how I also found my niche, jewelry for the astrophile and wanderer.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
I design, order in parts, and make our pieces. I have been doing this all on my own until very recently. But now, I have a team of makers that are helping me with fulfilling all of our dear customers’ orders. And so now, I have a new responsibility, which is to take care of my wonderful team!
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 ones are definitely the ones with celestial designs. I use gold, rose gold, and silver metal finishes to cater to different styles and tastes, and love using gemstones as well, to make things more unique and special.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I enjoy being my own boss, but that’s also the hardest part. You can end up being so harsh on yourself. And you have only yourself to blame for any difficulties that you come across. And there’s really no work and life balance. Your life ends up being the work entirely. I’m slowly learning to find the right balance, but it’s taken me years and I’m still learning.
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 have been selling to customers on Etsy, quite organically. I have not been using any outside marketing for my Etsy shop, purely because I already had enough orders coming in to keep me busy all day. I’m looking to learn to use other marketing tools now, with our growing team of makers!
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
Yes! Mine is to just keep doing. Once you reach 1 year, 2 years, 3 years of business and so on, you will naturally have an established presence.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
When my daily, monthly, yearly revenue ends up being lower than those of last year. To get over that, it’s hard. But you need to accept that many of the reasons would be under your control. You have to take the time to accept, and analyze, and plan strategically.
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 get inspired by what revolves around my world. And so I try to make designs that would reflect other people’s worlds. From celestial designs, to personalizable essentials, my products are made to represent the wearers.
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, I do ship internationally. Postage pricing depends on what USPS charges us, and it’s already so expensive that we can’t make any margin off of shipping and it’s almost impossible for a small business like ours to offer free shipping. It can take anywhere from 1 week to 6 weeks for international shipping, and that mostly depends on where the country is. We package the products in bubble mailers with necessary customs info attached along with the shipping label.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
I would say having the right skills. It pays to be computer savvy, a good photographer and writer, and to know things like seo, social media, etc.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
I would say to just start, and let your business grow on its own. You would be surprised to see how people actually find your shop and place an order. When I opened my Etsy store, I wasn’t expecting anyone to place an order anytime soon, but I got an order on the first week of launch. But don’t have too much expectation from the beginning. Let it sit, grow on its own, and once it’s ready for you, you can really then start to dedicate yourself more.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I would say it was creative expression. At the time of launch, there weren’t many celestial design jewelry products. And with the start of my business, out of pure luck however, celestial designs started to be a trend. And I think if I wasn’t able to express my creative vision, I would not have had the opportunity to catch that luck.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Everyday, I help make and ship out our orders. In the afternoon, I work on new designs, new product listings, take pictures, edit pictures, and publish the listings!
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I have actually started to grow my business outside Etsy. It has actually incurred in loss, but I have a vision that it would be very successful. I wanted to grow my little Etsy shop to a brand that has its own story and identity. And even if it may not be profitable for some time, I know it would resonate with a much bigger audience in time.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I paid a lot of attention to photography and making sure it catches clear image of the features of the products. For example, if it comes with engraving, making sure to get a clear shot of the engraved message, etc. As for the lesson I learned the hard way was that there’s a lot of copycats on Etsy and other sites like Wish or Alibaba that try to pretend like they are you and to divert your customers away. That’s why I started using watermarks on my pictures too. It was a very sickening experience. We are not on any of those sites like Wish or Alibaba, so if you ever see anyone using our name and pictures there, please know they are fake.