TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I have a jewelry business. I am a jewelry designer and silversmith. I design and handmade each Designedbydori jewelry. I’m a solopreneur, which means besides the creative part of the process, I’m the one who negotiates with the suppliers ( only trustworthy, ethical gemstones, and precious metals). I’m the head of the marketing and PR department and I am responsible for the sales too. I take most of the photos of the products, manage the social media channels, and do the accounting and tax too. So you see it’s a lot of work beyond the creative and visible sides. But I love it, and it is important for me too to learn every aspect of the business as well, besides the creative process.
Besides selling my own jewelry lines, I have workshops ( private and group too- during covid times only private with one person at a time) where the curious people can learn the silversmith techniques and make their very own pieces of jewelry.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
It was a long process, and it happened after I moved to the Netherlands. I did gold/silversmith courses already in Hungary 7-8 years ago and I had a lot of fun creating beautiful pieces from metal. Then more and more strangers and friends complimented my pieces of jewelry, and eventually, from a hobby, it became a business. Also, little by little I build up my studio with all the tools, and supplies which gives me the freedom to create anything I ( and the customers ) would like to. The workshop idea came because I remembered how much fun I had trying something unusual and new, and learned something new, surprising myself that I actually can do something as difficult as a pair of earrings. And I want to give this feeling to as many people as possible.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
Before I moved to the Netherlands, I was a program coordinator and project manager in the Erasmus+ program of the European Council. It required a lot of planning, and time management, as well as strategy. All these skills helped me to organize my workflow better, and prepare for unexpected situations too. Yes, this is my first business and I am very excited and optimistic about it 🙂
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
1) Have savings- ideally save enough money that is good for 1-2 years without income.
2) Until you reach your saving goals, don’t quit the other job that supports you financially.
3) Do your research on your product, marketing, and trends.
4) Believe in yourself.
5) Be flexible, sometimes you have to let go of some ideas you are madly in love with and give space to the new ones.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
Being a solopreneur besides gives a lot of freedom, but comes with some price and we could call some of those obstacles. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of a team, – it means, you have to do all the work alone. In my case: product design, finding suppliers/supplies ( silver, gold, gemstones, packaging materials, tools etc.,), making the products, managing the webshop and the inventories, promoting and selling the products, managing social media ( create contents to the platforms), customer care and of course make all decisions alone. What helps to overcome this is never giving up, and believing in myself, but also I started to team up with a few other makers who also work in the creative maker field and do everything by themselves. So we can keep each other accountable, and share an outsider perspective or opinion. The other obstacle is that you have to constantly take risks. This is something for me – “a practice makes it perfect” situation. Plan ahead for 3-6-12 months helping to know what goals I want to achieve and in order to do that what do I have to do. This way, the overall risk is a bit lower. However, you fail, and retry, and fail again, and retry in a different way.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
My proudest accomplishment is not giving up on myself and managing to restart everything in a new country. This was a lot of hard work, mostly mindset wise. To become an entrepreneur from an office worker; to learn how to work alone and for myself instead of working in a team and work for someone else. Building up everything from 0 in a country which is not my home country, learn not only running a business as a profession but learning how the Netherlands to work ( bureaucracy, tax, customers attitude etc.)
All in all, overcome this journey, having my brand and business, and have my collections 🙂
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
When I started my business I was still a full-time employee, and also a freelancer project manager and started my business. It often meant work every weekend, and usually for 14-16 hours/day. So it definitely requires a lot of sacrifices, time, and investment. Luckily, due to my project management job, I developed a great time management attitude, also I hate procrastinating things hehe. It was a very important thing for me to build the foundations of the company. So I would say for my discipline, and excellent time management and motivation helps me stay on track Also visually having my aims/goals with a vision board helps me remember why I do all that.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
I’m mostly inspired by 21st century and strong women all over the world. Both motivate me to create for them and make something that represents them. One is a timeless character, and the other represents everything of this ever-changing era. I love travelling, and learning about different cultures, gemstones, and their energy makes me creative. I want to incorporate and share all that energy and story that I learn during my trips. I love odd shapes and natural elements.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
That is a very interesting question. I think without moving to the Netherlands I would not open my own business. Or maybe so many years later. I had a really fulfilling job and I was content career-wise. ( I moved to Amsterdam because my husband got a job opportunity here). I was looking for a similar level of the job here, but somehow it didn’t work out. Long story short, I decided to start my own business. The jewelry making/silversmithing has been my passion for 8 years now, it just fascinates me how a piece of metal turns out to be a beautiful piece of art, and the gemstones just simply amaze me- mother nature is truly incredible. Thus it was the right call to make some money out of my hobby that I’m truly passionate about.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
What is success? 🙂 For overall capacity growth, I have a short term and long term plan too. Every year I start with a yearly and quarterly business planning week. But of course, plans always change, and I have to be flexible and ready to adjust and adapt. I tend to celebrate small successes for sure – a milestone, or a new number on social media, or a good month, a new collection, and all the positive feedback that I get from the customers.
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
Yes, always, and absolutely. Because I love planning, and thinking ahead of business plans, and also vision boards help me see the numbers, actions, and goals I have to achieve. Short and long term as well. Of course, not everything will be fulfilled, but setting the right goals motivates me to do better, and learn more. I usually review the January plans in every season ( to see what I have to change or adjust, or what I have already accomplished, or if I just need to take a break and focus on some other part of the business)
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMAN BUSINESS OWNER?
I sell jewelry for women, I think being a woman makes it more authentic. I also wear my own pieces and have fun wearing them. However, there are also some difficulties I have experienced already. Not sure if it’s global, or local. One is that somehow not everyone takes you seriously when you say your job is your business. When I tell people I make and sell pieces of jewelry, they consider it as a hobby or a fun DIY project. Not sure if it’s the nature of my business or that it’s in the creative field, but interesting for sure, that I have to sort of defend my job. I don’t consider it as a gender issue, rather the nature of my business. Somehow I got similar experiences when I buy gemstones directly from the miners or dealers, and cut the middlemen. Gemstones wholesale is rather a man’s world, also most of the bigger gemstones middlemen are men. I usually don’t focus on female disadvantages in my life, or in my business, rather look at all these difficult experiences as an opportunity to become better, even more, self -confident, and educate myself even more, so if it’s the case, my gender, or nationality should not be the reason to miss a great opportunity.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
I use a lot of tools, and I love them. They make my life so much easier.
1) I use it for my webshop – Shopify, although it’s not free, it’s very easy to use, and well-integrated with many of the smaller tools you will need when you have a webshop.
2) For music, when I work I always listen to something nice on Spotify- I love their mood playlists.
3) For visual designs, graphic designs, images I use Canva. It has a free and a paid account option too. It’s easy to use and gives that extra professional touch that takes your design and visuality to the next level.
4) For promotion videos I use Placeit. It has adjustments to different social media platforms.
5) For business presentations I swear to Prezi. I’ve used it for 15 years now. Best presentation tool ever 🙂
6) For scheduling my posts and social media content I use Later. It just does the job.
7) For basically everything else I love Google and all their tools. It’s easy to share documents or excel tables, photos. Perfect to co-work in the same file.
8) And of course Google Analytics to follow everything related to my webshop.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
–Have enough savings before starting your business,
– Just try, worst case scenario you’ll fail….
– “I believe in you”.
Soo… I also say the same things to everyone who needs some encouragement, and advice on how to start their own business.