[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Niche : Personalized Design
Shop link : https://www.etsy.com/shop/Themomentpaperie
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/themomentpaperie
Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEEHBGDgxxHzpCqbzguBt4w[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
When I prepared welcome signs, cards, and decorations for my wedding ceremony, I was thinking that I have a passion and potential opportunity as a business item. I received lots of great feedback about the overall theme and design so I confidently decided to establish my own design studio. I’ve built my career as a graphic designer so I was able to design everything by myself so there was no need to hire someone at the beginning which makes the studio profitable. I launched two different stores on Etsy, and one of them is also a digital printable design studio. Its name is PottArtStudio (2019), and the main product is digital wall art and it was successful than I expected. Another business is a lifestyle brand (Costige) that is owned by my husband but I also work as a CMO and creative director, and we’ve very busy launching this lifestyle brand on several sales platforms. However, I still had a goal and plan to launch The Moment Paperie but I was not sure how I make and develop overall designs so I spent extra time researching. About a year later but still in 2019, I finally created listings and launched. However, I closed the store for a while since most of the events have been canceled due to the COVID-19 all around the world. In May 2020, I re-opened the store since I changed my thought that some people are still interested in my products for their family event as well. The motivation for this store is all about my customers’ happiness, and I am truly happy to be a part of the customers’ lifetime event.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
Even though I do not meet my customers in person, but I still think that I am facing my customer like an offline store. That’s the most important responsibility as a business owner and I do not want my customers to leave out the door without satisfaction no matter whether they purchase something or no. I design every single thing by myself so that is also another important responsibility and I always focus on the detailed finish to provide 100% satisfaction for the live events.
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?
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The best selling products are the Romantic Wedding Invitation and Rose Wedding Invitation. The common thing for both best selling products is that the main theme was created and inspired by flowers especially roses. Every time I design my products, I imagine someone’s happiness and also overwrap my wedding ceremony. Based on my experience, I always think about what I missed and what could make my wedding better. By doing so, the current products have launched.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
Uncertainty brings lots of curiosity, and I love to find the answer and reach out to the goal that was barely seen. For the first step, I scared of wasting my time and efforts but when a customer purchases my product, putting a product in her/his cart, adding my shop as a favorite shop, or writing a positive review with a picture, I am truly happy for it. I enjoy the feeling that I can make someone’s lifetime event prettier and nicer. The hardest was the COVID-19. It’s a heart-breaking issue and tons of people have canceled their possible most memorable event in his/her life. Even though I lost my business opportunity because of it, but the hardest feeling is their disappointment. I strongly hope things get better and meet my customers again.
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?
The main customers are the people who are preparing their wedding ceremony or customized event. For now, Etsy and Instagram are the only sales channel and marketing tools. Obviously, I have a plan to expose and expand my sales channel but I am satisfied with Etsy so far since it has the largest potential in this business.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
My husband has a strong background in the customer service industry so he always motivates and reminds me to put ourselves in the customers’ side. No matter what we sell, the satisfaction of our customers is the #1 priority for us and we’ve established all our brands based on this philosophy. Without customers, we cannot make anything successful.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
Obviously financial challenge is the toughest huddle that I needed to overcome. The days that I see $0 sales, I felt anxiety all the time since I am focusing on my businesses after I left my job. However, I did not want to give up and stayed very positive while I was believing that the efforts will not betray me and people will recognize my hard work one day, and I moved forward.
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?
The most important source of inspiration is the mother nature for me. Whenever I visit the mountains, valley, ocean, and river, I always try to find something that inspires me such as flowers, soil, trees, and so on. After that, I take photos and watch it at home for a long time then I get some ideas of making patterns and designs.
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?
The 2 stores (TheMomentPaperie and PottArtStudio) do not ship anything. However, the Costige shop ships the products to the customers. Now we blocked the option to purchase from outside of the US since we experienced international shipping one time. A customer purchased from Switzerland, and the shipping cost was around $130 while the product amount was $180 so I think it is not a good idea to sell to customers unless we have a reasonable shipping solution. It also took about two weeks due to COVID-19 so it is negative as well so we blocked it.
For domestic shipping, we provide free shipping for +$30 purchasing to boost up our sales. All the packaging materials such as bally band, wrapping paper, care guide, and flyer were created and designed by myself, and my husband and I prepare the products by ourselves at our storage company.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Knowledge for SEO marketing and understanding of impression, you will have a chance to own a successful online business. You should not only spend your budget for marketing and advertising on a certain sales channel but also need to bring external customers and potential customers.
Last but not least, the eye-catching product image is a huge plus factor.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Owning a business creates tons of side works such as tax, importing, shipping, customer service, and so on. The only advice that I strongly recommend to you is that you must spend enough time to research and study the market and trends. Please try to find a niche market since the online business got very competitive, and it will be more and more as we are moving into the new normal.
Even if you think that it’s a good business idea since you don’t need to spend and invest your money, but you will spend a huge amount of your time which is also very precious for your life so please think enough and discuss with your family before you make a decision to start.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Once again, my priority concern is my customers’ satisfaction and happiness. I strongly want to make sure that the customer has a great and unforgettable amazing lifetime event, and I want to be a part of it. That’s my success and a winning strategy for my business. I believe that as many as customers satisfy my designs, they will bring more people to my store by recommending my brands, and it will lead to huge success in the market so I am making another effort to give more selection and satisfaction.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
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I spent one hour of exercises such as Yoga and Peloton. Besides that and dining time, I spend most of the time for designing works. Nowadays, I started painting patterns and recording it to upload on Youtube (Pott Art Studio) so I got very busy to paint, record, and edit the video as well, and doing research to connect the stores, sales platforms, Instagrams, and Youtube.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I am waiting on the final decision of venture capital investment after I gave the final pitchings. I am not sure they will invest in my brand. If so, I will hire a marketing agency who is really good at SEO marketing so I can expose my brands broadly. The impression of the right targeted people is the biggest impact on my profitability so I am focusing on narrowing the target based on the data and experience.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
One day, Etsy listed one of my products from the PottArtStudio on the main page and I received so many notifications of purchasing. I thought something went wrong so I called my husband to let him know that I was afraid of any issue that we need to chargeback or something because I’ve never experienced it before. However, we realized that it was on the main page, and we were just saying “wow” for a day. After the day, I decided to increase the listing to increase the chance of being listed on the main page and I worked and designed so hard. Guess what? It has never happened again so I learned that I need to study more for algorithm and formula, and still learning. If you know the way that how to make Etsy post your listing on the main page, you must start the Etsy business right now. It will bring a huge difference to your profitability.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
Thank you for this great opportunity to share my experience. I love to communicate with people and bring new guests to my store to look around so this interview was a great chance for me. Also, it was a great moment to look back myself and brands so I am truly motivated again so I appreciate it!