Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
For as long as I can remember I have always had an interest in crystals and their healing benefits and had a small collection at home. Up until having my children I had always worked in office-based roles which I did enjoy but found quite unfulfilling and really had the urge to have a career change. I wasn’t sure what but I knew that I wanted it to involve helping people. However, I was quite limited as I had three beautiful but incredibly young children at home, all under 18 months. After some research, I decided to embark on a Reiki healing course and couldn’t believe my luck when I found a suitable Reiki Master who lived just a few doors away from me! I completed my Reiki training but found it hard to juggle this with childcare – it was hard to offer a relaxing Reiki session in my home with three toddlers running around! I didn’t want to give up on the idea though so my Husband (Wayne) and I had the idea of selling crystals that were filled (charged) with Reiki energy so I could still give the healing benefits of Reiki to people but just in a different way.
This idea seemed to work as it allowed me to look after the children during the day and then when they were sleeping in the evening we dealt with the orders and worked on the business. At the time we decided to name the business ‘Krystal Gifts’ using letters from our children’s names (Kian, Rhys, Sophia), however, after a few years, we made the decision to rebrand to Reiju which means ‘to give and receive a spiritual blessing’ which fits us perfectly! We then managed to secure the trademark to help take us forward to where we are today.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
Reiju offers an inspiring range of natural, unique healing crystals and semi-precious gemstones to help boost mental and physical health and wellbeing and keep you smiling! All crystals come beautifully gift wrapped and are charged with positive Reiki Healing energy to harmonize, balance, and align the chakras. The beauty of crystals is that they can be mixed and matched together to combine the healing benefits and we have a wide range of beautiful items such as crystal gift sets, jewelry, candles, home accessories, and stunning unique crystal display pieces that we have carefully selected to complement each other.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
Covid -19 has obviously been a huge challenge for everybody this year. Our initial thought was that we needed to keep our team safe as a priority so we told our staff to stay at home while Wayne ran the business alone. I was at home with the children so Wayne kept everything going single-handedly, from sending out the orders, to dealing with the many customer queries, accounts, paperwork, etc. He has been working until late at night for seven days a week since the start of lockdown which has been really exhausting for him both physically and mentally. At first, we were really worried that customers would simply not want to shop at all, as it really started to quieten down but luckily it picked up again as people realized that we would still be able to operate safely online, and I’m so glad we were able to because people tend to take comfort in crystals during stressful times especially.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I enjoy the freedom that it gives us, we are in total control of everything and therefore if we make a mistake then we need to deal with the consequences and learn from it but also when we succeed and achieve our goals we get a huge buzz from it. It’s definitely a rollercoaster ride but I would never change anything.
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
I believe that everything that we have experienced has led us to where we are right now. We have learned a lot and evolved and grown as people not just as a business. If there was anything at all, I would say worry a little less and have more faith because what is meant to be will always find away.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
I find I get my best ideas when I am on my dog walks! I find that quiet time helps my mind to clear and new ideas come to me so easily when I take that time out. It’s my form of meditation!
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I think actually we are still learning as we go along. I have a background in admin so I have the organization skills needed to run a business, and Wayne has a background in Sales so obviously has the knowledge required to get the products sold. Every job I have ever done has taught me something useful, even just the smallest thing, and I can apply it to the business. We have had to learn quickly with regards to setting up and managing the website however we are lucky that we have an abundance of online courses at our fingertips nowadays and make full use of these.
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
Social media is a crucial part of the business because crystals are very visual so if we can share a new crystal with our followers on social media this is the next best thing to actually seeing it in a physical store. It’s so beneficial to interact and connect with our customers and so rewarding when we see a clip of a customer opening their order from us, and seeing how happy they are with it. We gift wrap each and every order as we want the actual receiving of the order to be a positive experience!
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
You need to be prepared to work hard, put in some long hours, and keep going when you have a bad day! Also, try to be different and stand out against your competitors.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I like to end every day feeling that I have achieved something positive. I also started the business originally as I wanted to help people, and I feel that this is my way of doing this. It’s also hugely important to me to have the freedom of being there for my children when they need me and thankfully the business lets me do this.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Well nobody is perfect and I still have days where I feel like I have got it all wrong, but I do find that Wayne and I make a good team. We each play to our strengths and this means that we can be flexible when needed and make sure that at least one of us is around for the kids. It has been really hard this year especially, but we do try to make time for just the two to go out for a drink or a meal together. Weekends are family time and although we never completely switch off from work we try to keep it to a minimum and spend some time together. We also have a great team working with us who we can totally rely on and love working with, and we class them as our friends just as much as employees.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
We realized quite early on that you need to be prepared to delegate some of the days to day work to enable you to take a step back and view the business from a different perspective – as a business owner as opposed to a business employee. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of the business especially if you have built it up from scratch. This for us meant employing some help to allow us the time to come up with new visions and ideas for the business. This is a really huge step but one that can really pay off. It does obviously affect your profits at first but should benefit the business in the long term.