Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Hi, I’m Masja and drawing is my greatest passion. I just love letting my imagination run wild and stepping into other worlds. Worlds where everything is possible and anything can be created. In this way, I can create space for my creativity and fantasy. All of my designs are drawn by hand. As a little girl, I was always busy drawing and I could sit behind my desk for hours and hours. Today it’s pretty much still the same! It just brings me peace and happiness. In 2008, I graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. After my Master Degrees in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Instituut, I started creating my first coloring books for adults. Now, I’ve made my own business out of it. It’s making it possible for me to practice my passion for drawing and designing every day. How great is that! I hope to convey my passion for the wonders of the world, through the creation of my coloring books and, in that way, inspire the people around me. To let others drift away in ‘my wonderful world’! LOVE, MASJA
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
The business is running only by me. 🙂 I design all my artwork. I publish the books myself. I run my Etsy shop and my webshop, I do all the customer service, I do all my marketing and social media…. and I love it!
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?
My coloring books are my best selling products. They are all hand-drawn designs and I think you can see and feel all the love that I put in it. That makes the books unique and special. They are all printed single-sided on thick quality paper.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
Freedom gives me and creativity is what I enjoy the most about being an entrepreneur.
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 customers all around the world. It’s such an exciting feeling to know that people in Brazil, France, Japan, U.S.A, U.K., and even in South Africa are coloring in my coloring books! I think social media is a great way to promote and boost your sales. When people see inspiring colorings and pictures of your work they would love to purchase the books as well!
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
Put a lot of love and care into everything that you do. Write a nice worth to your customers be honest and understanding…and most of all make things that you truly love!
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
I think the first years are the hardest. You have to get your name up and sometimes…it doesn’t go fast enough. Just never lose your faith in your product and continue, continue, continue.
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?
To me, there is nothing more inspiring than the wonders of nature. The colors, the flowers, the sky, and the shapes of sand… Also, cultural arts from far away lands inspire me, like old ornaments and fabrics.
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 ship internationally! The shipping price is really high and that’s such a pity. A part of the shipping price is calculated in the book price. Otherwise, it’s not doable. Luckily the shipping in Europe is not that extreme…so I can offer free shipping here in Europe. 🙂
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Make a product that stands out in quality. You should feel proud of your product…be precise and put a lot of love and attention into your creations.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
follow your hard and take the time to let your business grow. Do not expect the world in the first years. You will get a lot of no’s as an answer in the beginning. just hold on and keep believing in your product.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I think the freedom and the creativity you get from it is worth more than gold! To be able to create something that you truly love is something that makes me so happy. I wake up every day with a smile.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I work every day. I start withdrawing in the morning. That’s the time that my creativity is most alive. I feel free to create and also be critical and recreate if necessary. I run my webshop and social media in the afternoon.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I would love to continue making beautiful things. I like to make different kinds of coloring books and maybe start a stationery line.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I had a period that I thought it was best to sell my books for really small prices. (almost too small) But after a while, I saw that people do not take it seriously. I learned that a good product may also cost something. Sadly enough I also learned…not to ship products to people before they have paid. I had such a good trust in people so I send them the books before…but then they never paid afterward to often.
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I’m so happy to see so many creative people and the most beautiful ideas and products! I hope we inspire more people to create! 🙂