Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
All my life, I’ve been an artsy kid. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada by my parents who have overcome so many obstacles to make a life for us here. I started drawing before I could talk, and in school, art was the only subject I could ever focus on. It was something I always wanted to pursue but didn’t know how or where to start. I’ve dabbled with so many different forms of art. I’ve tried drawing, acrylic painting, polymer clay crafting, sewing plushies, making jewelry, watercolor, etc. I had trouble focusing on one form of art and staying committed to it. Having immigrant parents who couldn’t speak fluent English, I had to figure my life out, and try and get a “good job”. I completely abandoned my creative self to try and get a degree that would pay. This left me completely lost & depressed. I couldn’t focus on school & I changed programs multiple times. All I was left with was guilt and no degree. This is when I learned that creativity was a big part of me, & that it was a mistake for me to think that I couldn’t pursue it. This led me to study programming and game design. When I was finally close to graduating, COVID hit. My courses were delayed and pushed, as the school was scrambling to figure out ways to adapt to the situation. This left me with an ample amount of time to think and also deal with the health problems I currently had going on. 3 months ago I finally decided to pick up my needle and try my hand at embroidery. When I did, I was absolutely HOOKED. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try but pushed due to health problems & the lack of motivation that comes with it. When I started feeling better & having answers to my health problems, I felt reborn. Ready to take on the world and do what I always wanted to do! My significant other has played a major part in helping me get better despite me wanting to give up. My newly found friend was also super supportive and decided to get into this hobby with me. At the time, it was just a hobby. We were both having fun buying patterns and making embroidered pieces. It was such a fun and relaxing hobby. It was the only hobby that I had stayed committed to without losing focus. 2 months in, I decided that I wanted to make my own patterns. Create my own unique pieces for my friends & family. This is when I realized, I wanted to share and teach others in ways that were affordable. I wanted my patterns to be able to reach those who are visual learners. It was the only way that I could learn and figured there were others out there who needed my help. Aug 20, 2020, is when I decided to open up my shop. A shop where people can find affordable patterns with visual guides. A place where people can be inspired & try their hand at embroidery. My friends and my family have been my rock, my drive, and my focus. <3 I am humbled & thankful for the obstacles I had to get through to end up where I am today. 🙂
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
My responsibilities include pumping out unique patterns at least once a week. Making sure my guides are detailed and informative enough for others to follow. I like to stay connected with my customers & see that they’re content with the product they’ve received. I promote myself through Instagram & share my work through Reddit. Since it is a new business, I don’t have a lot of responsibilities at the time. But, as my store is continuously expanding in terms of listings and sales, I am mentally prepared to tackle any extra responsibilities that may come with 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 best selling products are my patterns from my Autumn Series. My Fall Wreath pattern has been especially doing well in terms of sales. It’s a very beginner-friendly pattern for those looking to get into embroidery. The materials used are an embroidery hoop, 6-strand embroidery floss, embroidery needles, cotton twill, & a water-soluble fabric marker. My products all start off with a design. I use my iPad Pro to sketch up ideas that I have floating around in my head. Then I determine which type of embroidery stitch would best translate into my drawing. I search for different types of stitches and read my embroidery books to see which stitch people would be interested in learning. Then, I print off my pattern and start embroidering. I take close up pictures for my guide every step of the way. I note down the DMC colors that I used, the number of strands, and the stitch method. Once everything is done, I work on my guides, typing up descriptions and steps as clear as I can along with my photos. After proofreading and editing, I do some photoshoots under my lamp to get the best photos of my piece. In my listings, I like to show a sneak peek of what’s included in my digital files so my customers can get an idea of what to expect.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
The thing I enjoy most about being an entrepreneur is the freedom that comes with it. I love being able to express myself without any deadlines or design restrictions. I can release listings at my own pace, and make my own rules as to how to run the business. The hardest part about it is being able to stay motivated and inspired. When I am creating my products, I like to let go of other people’s expectations and just create whatever I want to create at the time. It gets hard to remember to let go when you have a certain amount of followers and customers. I constantly have to remind myself that I am doing this for me. If my products make me happy, surely, it’ll make my customers happy too. 🙂
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?
My products are aimed at those who are looking to get into a new hobby. My patterns are designed to teach new embroiderers & advanced embroiderers too. It’s basically for anyone looking to learn a new hobby that is both relaxing and fun to do. To market, I self promote myself through Instagram & Reddit. Instagram has mainly been used for promoting my work & keeping my customers updated on new listings to come. I use Reddit to share my work and inspire others. I use it to show people that any texture and effect can be re-created as long as you realize that there are no limitations to embroidery. My results have been great so far. I didn’t even think that I would get my first sale at least for a couple more months. As soon as I got my first sale, sales have been rolling in. I am very humble and thankful for those customers supporting and trusting my new small business. <3
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
I think the winning formula is to not think of anyone’s expectations. Don’t be scared & realize that you have absolutely nothing to lose. Just create what you want to create. Realize that if your work makes you happy, it’ll make others happy. It’s better to have tried than to never have tried at all. Basically, do what makes you happy. 🙂
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
The toughest moment for me was making that first sale. I got into this business thinking that I should have zero expectations & that I wasn’t doing it for the money. I was doing it because it made me happy. But even then, it was hard to have zero expectations. So, in order to get over that, I just kept myself busy. I just kept creating and moving forward, reminding myself to do what I want to do. My biggest challenge right now is that embroidery takes time and patience. I can’t pump out listings as fast as I want to because of the steps it takes & the fact that I need to have a finished piece for each pattern. I want to make sure my customers are getting the product that they deserve; a guide that will guide them properly in order to execute a beautiful final piece. This is a challenge that I will have to come to terms with, & hope that my followers find the wait worth waiting for.
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?
Right now, my inspiration comes from the nature around me. I am located in Ontario, Canada & here the leaves are changing, the weather is getting chillier, & sweaters are starting to come out. I use the mood and the things around me to help me come up with new ideas and create new patterns.
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?
As of current, my listings only consist of digital instant pdf downloads, so I have yet to face shipping issues. Though sometime in the future, it is an option that I am considering. I love packaging and wrapping presents, so this is definitely something that I have in mind for my future products.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
The key element, I would say, is to constantly stay updated on social platforms and don’t be afraid to self-promote yourself. You don’t need to dump a whole lot of money to make yourself noticed out there. Just stay real & post wholesome content. Eventually, people will notice you.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
My advice would be, be patient. Sales don’t start right away, and you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Even after your first sale, there will be slow days along with good days. Don’t think about how your business is doing, & just keep doing you. Keep producing work that makes you happy.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I would be lying if I said money doesn’t define business success. Just understand that freedom, creative expression, & innovation comes first. Once you come to terms with that, the money will follow.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Right now, I am still doing part-time in school so I like to split my 9 AM-9 PM schedule in half. The morning-afternoon half I study & the afternoon-evening half I embroider. Throughout the day I make sure to check my e-mails & social platforms so that I can respond to my customers if they have any questions almost immediately.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I plan on continuously pumping out patterns and finding better ways to teach my customers. I also plan on having full kits to ship out so that beginners wanting to learn can have the materials they need. When I get faster at producing products, I also want customers to have the option to buy a fully finished piece as gifts or decor for their home. The future plans are endless, & I am so excited for what’s to come. 🙂
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
My positive experience came from staying connected with my customers. Through this, I met some wonderful people and learned a lot from hearing out their opinions. It allowed me to produce better products & understand what my customers need. The one lesson I learned the hard way is to never take shortcuts. Always stay original and produce high-quality products.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
I wanted to thank anyone for reading this and for hearing my journey out. Thank you to Storepreneur for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my story and hopefully give helpful advice to anyone reading. I hope everyone stays safe and spends their time being creative. 🙂