Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
It happened that I was born in a small Italian town, Settimo Torinese, near Turin city, which had been designated in the early 30s for producing writing instruments. And so since early childhood, I have been engaged in assembling pens for different companies. Since that, I have never given up making pens and creating new models for all tastes.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
We love doing business on Etsy that is very friendly and collaborating with sellers and buyers. It is our pleasure to do our best to satisfy our customers working together with them on details of their future pen.
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 product journey is different every time. Sometimes our customers suggest ideas for a new pen just say to us they like a pen made in a different way better. Or sometimes we fall in love with some new material we think would be perfect for a pen-like sustainable salmon leather or bog oak.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
Hard times make an increase in our entrepreneurship. Never give up.
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?
We sell pens for pen lovers or those who have never written with a fountain pen and want to try a new writing experience. Writing with a fountain pen can be very relaxing and stimulating our brain activity at the same time. Often people buy our pens for the nearest and dearest on special occasions as personalized gifts or as a long-distance gift.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
It’s short and simple – just love it!
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
The first two weeks of the lockdown were the toughest moment we have experienced in our business. Fortunately being a small family company helps also to succeed to get over even such hard times. Our family is our force.
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?
Looking out of the window it’s nature to inspire us in creating new pen models: a combination of colors and materials. Sometimes our customers tell us new trends just asking us what they love. Also, living in Italy helps us create the following Italian fashion tradition.
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?
A pen is a small item and can be easily shipped all over the world for reasonable costs and it takes approx 7-14 days to be delivered everywhere. For this reason, we prefer to offer free shipping. To ship our pens we use recycled materials and 99% of the packaging can be recycled again.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
The 3 main key elements are high quality and unique products, great service, a good promotion like high-resolution pictures, and social marketing.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Keep on searching for new ideas, read a lot when Etsy writes about new trends, and suggests new instruments for running your business.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Creative expression – yes! Innovation – yes but preserving our traditions is important. Somehow our traditions are our roots from the past that enriches us.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Our day is very busy, making pens, packaging, shipping, chatting with customers on new orders, and helping to track the shipped ones. During less busy periods we dedicate a lot of time to creating new pens and new pictures for our Etsy shop.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
We plan to grow our presence online working more with Etsy and other websites.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Taking pictures is very important to set your shop for success and ultimately Etsy has added a video option. Now we are planning to make a new nice video.