Share a little about yourself … what makes you you?
I grew up feeling like the black sheep in a family of artists, but it turned out I was just a late bloomer – being uncoordinated and clumsy it took me a while to become good at art and craft. I still have that “outsider” sense of humour and have no fear of spending time alone – there are no boring hours in my life. I also wouldn’t be the same without a steady flow of music, tea, books, and photography.
What inspired you to create your business and how long have you been trading for?
After wasting my twenties on illness and being unable to work, I became really keen to turn my jewelry making hobby into a business and work hard to try and earn my way off disability pension, which is still a work in progress. The one thing I know is I’m not going to quit, I’ve been growing my business, Starzyia, since I first opened on Etsy in April 2009.
Why did you choose the name you did for your business?
Starzyia is short for Anastarzyia which is a special name to me/my family and feels lucky to me. Although its unusual that worked out for me that I could get the name on all my selling venues and social media, and helps dominate search results since its a bit distinctive.
What do you sell and what sets them apart from other similar items on the market?
I was very focused when I began on making jewellery that has a positive meaning either through what it represents symbolically or by a direct message like a quote. My first and best customers all turned out to be women who like me were healing from painful life trials but were ready to leave negativity behind and go forward valuing themselves and encouraging other women and girls in their life to do the same. I also tap into a legacy of love from decades of personal letters sent to my grandmother and aunt to transform vintage postage stamps into masterpiece jewelry.
If you could achieve anything you could imagine what would your greatest dream for your business be?
Emotionally, I want to be the go to girl for jewelry and gifts that promote well being, self esteem and positive thinking. To be part of healing and encouraging happiness is my biggest joy, I just want to do that for more people now.
Practically, of course it is very important to me to be able to be completely independent, I don’t want to stay on my pension, I want to earn my own money and secure a future for myself (and my dog)
Where do you work on your business, and what platforms are you using to sell from (both online or offline)?
I work in a newly made over office at home, and also from my dining table at times. I sell on etsy, madeit, and have a small independent website that hosts my blog and shop, and I sell at Smart Street Parties once a month in Mandurah.
If you were starting again now what would you do differently?
I would have taken better product images right out of the blocks, and learned more about the business side of things sooner – if I knew now what I did then, I like to think I would have had the power to sell more than 3 items in my first year.
What is the most useful thing you have learned?
Understanding what the job of selling on etsy really is – and its not spending 90% of my work time on creating and 10% on “everything else”. Fortunately learning unlocked a great joy for the “everything” else, I enjoy my product photography equally as much as creating (so much so I even photograph other people’s products now) I even have a sense of pride and enjoyment for bookkeeping and the less glamorous side of a creative small business.
Apart from your shop, what else inspires you?
Music is top of the list, especially for my writing since I need to tap into emotions for that and music is the gateway. Plus when I’m working on Starzyia I am constantly singing along to music.
If you could inspire the world with a quote, what would it be?
Be yourself, that’s when the magic happens.