Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
My name is Miha and I specialize in creating unique jewelry and household products made out of wood and resin. It all started a couple of years ago when I and my girlfriend were moving into a new apartment. We couldn’t really afford to buy any good furniture, so I decided I would make some myself! I never studied art or woodworking, and when I first decided to give it a try it seemed like a very silly idea. I found myself enjoying working with wood right from the start and looking back at it now, It was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
I make primarily jewelry made out of a combination of materials. Most of the time the items are made out of epoxy resin which is combined with precious burl wood or gnarly wood that would otherwise become firewood. The entire production process is lengthy and 100% handmade. Without going into too many details, the work involves cutting wood, pouring resin, shaping the rough product, and finally polishing it into a pristine and sparkly end product.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
The most challenging part was learning everything from the ground up. I had no prior experience in online sales or even woodworking. The woodworking part was especially tough, as it involved a lot of trial and error. And also quite dangerous and times, as I was completely self-taught. The second toughest part came a year later when orders started coming in and I found myself completely overwhelmed and exhausted trying to do everything by myself. Luckily I’ve found an amazing coworker who helped me in my workshop and helped get things to get on the right track.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I do love being my own boss and the freedom that comes with it. However I also strongly appreciate my free time. Running your own business can be very time-consuming and for me personally, the hardest part is finding the right balance between work and play.
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
When I first started out I was so excited that I did not give any attention at all to safety. My biggest mistake was not taking the time to do everything by the book. I’ve made a lot of safety shortcuts that have been affecting me over the years. That and not getting help sooner. You can’t do everything by yourself. 🙂
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
I love creating in general so designing comes naturally to me. I usually draw my inspiration from nature and I love the idea of a design representing something, literally or metaphorically.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I literally had no skills just 4 years ago. I’ve read a lot of guides and material regarding sales and Etsy, which helped me immensely. Woodworking was a different story, which involved a lot of trial and error and mostly stupid ideas. 🙂
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
The reason for my business taking off early was social media. I couldn’t have done it without Instagram. But I also found SEO and Etsy Marketing to be quite effective.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
For someone with minimum online selling experience, I would say that the most important thing is the willingness to learn and adapt. Also, don’t be an asshole, be genuine, and treat your customers the way you would like to be treated.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
For me personally, success is the freedom that owning your business can provide. I’ve turned my hobby into my job, so creative expression played a huge part as well. Having a job you love will definitely make life and business success much easier.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Every day is different and it never gets boring. In general, I’ve always tried to divide the time I spend in my workshop and the time I spend sitting behind a computer by half. I usually spend the morning in my workshop while I work on the online aspect in the afternoon.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
We are working on our own website and marketing strategy which will hopefully bring us to the next level. Etsy has been great to us and we will continue to focus our effort on the platform. But having multiple sources of revenue is necessary to grow in our very niche business.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
I would love to encourage everyone to shop local, shop small, and to shop handmade products instead of mass-produced. Thank you for sharing our story and thank you for all the support!