Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I started doing graphic design when I went to college thinking I was going to major in computer engineering. Two months into my freshman year I realized that computer engineering was not for me. I was going to transfer schools but instead decided to see what other majors my school had. I saw they offered Communications and Information Design and transferred majors remembering I had taken a marketing class as an elective in high school my senior year and loved it. I did my 4 years and learned all the basic foundations of graphic design, which was the best thing I could’ve possibly done. After graduating from college in 2015, I had a difficult time looking for a “career.” It took me a year and a half to finally land something but it was not graphic design related just marketing. I stopped doing graphic design entirely and felt like I wasn’t “good enough” to get a graphic design job since so many other people were way more talented than me. A lot of my friends knew I did graphic design and would refer me to people asking for logos, flyers, and covers. I accepted some offers but declined many, scared that my designs wouldn’t be good enough. Graphic design has always crossed my mind and it has always brought me joy when I worked on projects. As the years passed by, I kept working my corporate job and would randomly have people ask me to do some work for them. I didn’t understand why this kept happening to me? No matter what, I always got someone to come to me asking me for designs. Finally, in 2019, I decided enough is enough and bought my domain name and launched my website for my graphic design. I also decided to blog on my site once a week. I got a few clients off the launch but ended up having a bad experience with a client. I didn’t have a contract at the time and it really brought me down. I felt like a failure and back to the “I’m not good enough” story I go. After that, a lot of personal things happened to me, from depression to a breakup, and then my grandfather passing away I gave up again. I was still blogging on my site but then stopped entirely. COVID-19 hit and I switched gears from graphic design to worrying about my health. Spent the last 8 months, eating healthy and working out consistently that I have now lost 19 pounds so far. Now that I am in a clearer mindset, I’ve been working on myself mentally and have seen how the corporate world isn’t aligning with who I am anymore. I know I wasn’t born on this earth to work a 9-5 for the rest of my life. I know now that graphic design is what my heart craves and if I’ve learned anything this past year is that life is fragile and you don’t know when it’ll be your last day. Now I am not scared to put myself out there and I am tired of holding myself back. I know all the great things I can bring into this world and I am ready to show it all! Opening an Etsy shop came to me about 3 weeks ago, when I was thinking about what designs to create next. I have always known about Etsy and have used it several times to buy things as well. It came to me all at once, as if I was receiving a message. I had a pen and paper and wrote everything down. Since it’s October and Halloween and the holidays is a popular time on Etsy I decided to create a Halloween sticker recreating the WAP single cover by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion. I went to work right away and designed it so fast I couldn’t believe how effortlessly it happened. Since then I shared the ideas with those close to me and they agreed it’ll sell for sure. I posted the creation of my personal Instagram and got feedback from my followers. A lot of people loved it and that’s when I decided this is what I am listing first in my Etsy shop. Since then I’ve had a couple of friends support and buy some stickers! So far I have sold 5 stickers but I know more is coming since it’s only been a week thus far. I am super excited about this new journey and I am learning so much already.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
I do everything. From creating my cover banner and avi picture to managing my analytics to investing money into ads on Etsy. As well as ordering envelopes to send my stickers in, doing research on best ways to ship to customers, sending out the stickers, and making sure all of my customers are satisfied with the final product.
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?
Right now I have one listing, which is my “Happy Hallowap” sticker. I am currently using glossy label stickers to print them out. I design my products using Adobe Illustrator, which is great for printing and digital downloads because it won’t be pixelated. What makes my product(s) stand out is that although I know there are plenty of WAP stickers and merchandise they don’t have a holiday theme and I just made up my own phrase “Hallowap” which has brought peoples attention.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
What I love most about being an entrepreneur is that everything is on my time and I don’t need to wait for anyone approval to start or do something. Any ideas that come to me I write down and I can always shift perspectives as things pop up. The hardest thing is making sure all of my customers are satisfied. They are my number one priority and without them, there is no lisbaniadesign. I take pride in making sure everything is clear for them and they understand what type of timeline I am working on, to get them the products they need in a timely manner.
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 my followers on my personal and business accounts. As well as to those who enjoy music, artists, entertainment, and most things that are going on now that are relatable. I am currently using Etsy Ads and sharing my Etsy shop on social media. So far I am content with the results thus far but I may have to change things up for this upcoming week.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
I think the only winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur is not giving up. You will face things that aren’t great sometimes but you must shift gears when things got rough. My winning formula is to stay consistent, no matter what continue putting listings up, and continue to promote your products because people are always watching whether you see it or not.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
Right now the toughest moment was looking for a third-party vendor to produce my stickers. I haven’t sold stickers before so I don’t know much besides what I have researched and seen thus far. I want my customers to receive their products in a quick time frame because who likes waiting for products to arrive? I ordered a good amount of stickers, to begin with, but as time goes by and I learn what my customers want I will have a system down that makes sure my customers are receiving their product in the best time frame possible. I succeeded in getting over my rough moment by staying positive and just telling myself I will find the perfect vendor that delivers my needs. I did a lot of research before I picked the vendor I decided on and as of right now I am satisfied with who I picked.
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?
What inspires me is what people are talking about now. I get my ideas from talking to close friends and family and I like to ask myself what it is something I would purchase? I also like to sketch a lot just to get my ideas on paper, from there random things would come to me. Bonus: reading and watching movies gets me to think from different perspectives.
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?
I do ship my products internationally. I let Etsy calculate the postage pricing for me since I can’t guess for every country. I haven’t delivered internationally yet, but I know it’ll take 3-5 business days on average to get my products. I do free shipping as of right now to the US only, because my products do not weigh much since their stickers so I make sure to pay for the stamps. I package them in envelopes, using cello paper, and a hard note card to say thank you and keep the stickers in from getting damaged.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Key elements would be: – Having a clear business name meaning no underscores or periods – At least 2 different social media where people can find your products – Consistent content that keeps your audience engaged – Transparency with your customers so they know what’s going on
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
The advice I would give is to sell something that you are EXTREMELY passionate about, I mean something you think about on a daily basis. If the urge to sell something is not strong enough you will stop and you won’t be able to keep going to see the success you want. Patience is the name of the game and you don’t know what you’ll bump into or who wants your products so don’t feel like you’re not doing enough if your progress isn’t “fast enough.”
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I define success by believing in my product and knowing that no matter what happens, this is worth telling the world about. The more I believe in my product, the easier it is for me to sell it and promote it to others. I am not ashamed of what I sell and I believe that my customers will be happy with what they get from me. The more people who enjoy my product, the better it is for me, that’s a success.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I am still currently working a 9-5. During my lunch breaks, I check on my analytics & Etsy ads and I look at what other shops like myself are listing that day. After work, I check on my orders and the amount of product I have left. As well as setting up my orders to deliver out and work on new designs to then put on my Etsy shop.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I plan on growing my business by putting listings up 2-3 a week. Right now as I am starting, I’ve decided to do once per week as I grow to understand my audience. As well as promoting my Etsy shop on social media, and continuing to invest in Etsy ads to get it in front of the right audience. My biggest impact on profitability would definitely be sales and clientele.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Some things I did to set up my Etsy shop for success is doing research. I read plenty of articles and watched so many YouTube videos on other people who already own a shop and learned from their mistakes on what I should or shouldn’t do. One lesson I learned the hard way is that sales won’t be pouring in nonstop on a daily basis. Things like this take time but this motivates me on a daily basis to keep going because I know my Etsy shop will be way bigger than it is in a year.