Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
I am Silvana and I’m an artist. My whole life has been dedicated to art. I’ve studied painting, set design, costume design, digital arts, and I’m currently studying currently fiber arts. I’m interested in so many things, I’m exploring them with passion and I’m always trying to improve myself. For several years I’ve successfully worked in various cinema and theatre productions in collaboration with many talented artists. The intensity of the work was a catalyst of my personality and artistic freedom became my goal. I opened my Etsy store hoping that I’ll be working for myself and will be able to make a living out of it. I had spent many hours in research and attempts, and successfully reached the result I was looking for – tattoos on tights.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
I’m selling hand-painted tights. I named my brand TATUL. When worn the tights look like real tattoos. I developed my own approach based on old Asian techniques. The colors are deep and vivid, how exactly I make them is a secret but the process is quite time-consuming. I’m sometimes painting for hours and some designs take days to be finished.
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What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
Some unpleasant situations always occur. For example, when there are delivery issues I’m always willing to send a replacement pair and not just complain to the customer about the bad postal service. I take this as a risk, even if sometimes that means losing money from a problematic order. For me, the most important thing is to know that the customer received the item they had purchased.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I like the freedom, that I’m independent and I work for myself and for my own projects. For me, freedom always goes hand in hand with responsibility. I always have big ideas and small expectations, that way I protect myself from disappointment and allow life to pleasantly surprise me. The hardest was the beginning. To separate me from the collective and start working solo. It was like a step in the dark. It happened to be the best step I’ve taken in my life so far.
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
I’m trying something and if I enjoy the result I keep going. If not I scrap it and try something else. For me making a mistake means repeating a wrong step. I don’t consider things mistakes. I’ve noticed that talent always finds a way to manifest itself and nothing can stop it.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
Everything inspires me – from the moon and the stars to a lake with frogs, the structure of the leaves of a plant, the plot of a story, or the color of a stone I might kick with my foot. Everything interests me. Even nothingness can be interesting, I can contemplate over it for days and paint 100 pieces. In my projects for Tattoo Tights Tatul, I’m looking for a more specific and symbolic meaning of the images.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
My work as a freelance artist in various projects has helped me create my own principles that I happen to be applying here as well. Many people consider luck to be determining their success. For me, luck is actually a controlled chance.
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
I’m an artist and for good or bad I don’t understand marketing. Etsy creates a fruitful environment for the development of people like me, who create their own works. The customers are using this platform expecting to buy something more special, which was created with a personal attitude and specifically for them – something which is not mainstream fashion but will never be unfashionable. I’m accepting personalized projects and this makes my shop even more special. I think the customers are looking for places like this because it’s becoming more important for people to have something unique rather than something that everyone has.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
The strong idea, the personal attitude, the love for one’s work, and the connection to the customers are the key elements I believe in. Coming up with your own ideas always drives you forward. Making it happen sometimes requires more time. It took me quite a few months of research and tests to reach the results I was looking for. I managed to achieve a level of quality that I’m proud of and I’m making each and every order with pleasure. When I receive good feedback and see a customer sharing their satisfaction I know it was worth the time.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Success is freedom. Independence gives the artist the freedom and calmness which are necessary for artistic development. To have innovative ideas is an accomplishment but to be able to make them a reality is an even bigger achievement. Nowadays creativity is the main path to success. A creative person will always find a way to freedom.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
The morning starts with the best coffee in the world (the one at home) and a cozy conversation-planning with my partner. We’re discussing our plans for the day. He’s also an artist, a musician. He helps me a lot in all my endeavors and this is priceless (and also free of charge hehe). I have so many ideas. Every day is different. I’m working all day, but at the same time, I’m having fun all day. As an artist, this not only doesn’t allow me to get bored but also charges me. Every day I’m making my dreams come true by making my ideas a reality. I’ve tried to follow the working hours, I’ve put on my wall, but I never follow those. I used to make myself to-do lists but I’ve found out that controlling the chaos is my preferred way. I’m always making something and when I can’t do anything else I just go to bed. I love falling asleep listening to a fairy tale. At this stage of my life, I’m happy to have achieved independence. I can read a book a whole day with my cat in my lap, make a spontaneous drive to the seaside with my partner or take a year-long break. This freedom for me is incomparable happiness.
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How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
This year I’ll present new designs with bigger tattoos – on the whole legs. I’m currently working on a line of long socks. I can’t wait to make this project happen but I’m not setting myself any deadlines. What 2020 taught us all is to take it easier. The biggest influence on my profits is my creative impulse. I will let this intuitive charge to lead me in the future as well.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
Thanks for your interest in me and my work. It was very precious to look at myself from another angle. I wish you a very happy new year. Best regards!