How I Turned My Passion Hobby Craft Into An Online Business

Why online a business you ask?   Well for me it is able to offer the flexibility I am after with my two kids, work when I can, wherever I want to (so it depends on the sort of work hobby).  I love to see the world and be able to travel, so an online business where I don’t have to be going to work to open a shop and  I can do my “work”  from wherever I am is ideal for me.

These Days anyone can start their own business with a little or no help from others.  We have a vast amount of helpful tools and websites available on the internet to do that.  All we need is some time…

Kookki Designs is my hobby turned business.  You can visit my Etsy shop for a bit of a look!

My goal was to do something that I had control over while being able to give my time to my family.  I wanted to do something that felt right in my heart to earn some money to support my families growing needs while having enough time to travel and see the world with my kids as well as teach my children the values I believe in.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”-Steve Jobs

A bit a bout my online business

I design and create a wide range of jewellery and accessories for kids, women and men to suit any occasion including weddings. Each piece is made in my home studio in Melbourne, Australia. The range of products I make include cuff-links, earrings,  necklaces, pendants, rings, hair clips.  Each piece is made at my home studio in Melbourne, Australia.

DSC_0055
My Home Studio

Many of us living in the developed countries have most basic things that humans “NEED” and much much more, I have always treasured the priceless moments in my life are that became beautiful memories later.  With my jewellery I capture one’s memories in the form of a place, a person,  word/s etc.  I get to spend time making this wonderful item for some one special with so much care.  I can be rewarded with knowing that my item can give someone that warm fuzzy feeling called happiness.  Not only giving something special is rewarding for both parties giving and receiving,  it will also mean so much more purely for the fact that the time and effort spent in getting something really unique handmade especially for a loved one.

Kids Photo Jewellery
Kids Photo Jewellery
Kids Photo Cufflinks
Kids Photo Cufflinks

That is exactly what I love doing with my jewellery where I help people either freeze a moment in their life like a birth of a child, a wedding or to create one of a kind super special gifts for the ones they love. The fact that I am able to let someone feel such a strong feeling like pure happiness or appreciation (by receiving of giving something that no words can convey) is truly a rewarding and emotional privilege.

At Kookki Designs my favourite designs are the one’s I create for someone with much meaning behind it.  Whether it is a special photo of a person or a place or a scan of their kids drawings or a special saying for their husband or wife (to be) or a parent.  These are the ones that I get a real warm fuzzy feeling about my self.  I feel in doing what I do I manage to remind ourselves that we are simple creatures that enjoy simple pleasures of life and if we support each other we can make this world a better place keeping the harmonious balance on this planet.  I take my hats off to the Etsy community that is building in numbers.  Most of the Etsy sellers are following their hearts and using their talent to help them live the lives they believe they should.

2015-02-23_21.44.42[1]
Personlised Jewellery
2015-02-23_21.41.24[1]

By Having my own  Etsy store I get to treat every person that comes to my shop and contact me with love and care with my goal of making the world a happier place (while being able to be an old-school mother to my children).

I love what I am able to do with my jewellery and I sincerely hope I get to make your moments extra special by capturing them in a wearable accessory which will give you a warm fuzzy feeling every time you see them.

“There is an undeniable happiness one can obtain by making someone else happy.  That is what I call rewarding!”- Shani

Here is a guide to starting your very own online business with my experience selling handmade jewellery

Find your passion/hobby

This is a tricky bu very important one.  If you already have a hobby that you thoroughly enjoy you already have the answer to this question and you can move on to the next topic!   If not,  you may have to do a bit of soul-searching and lots of lists and make sub lists of things that you could or would love doing to narrow it to one hobby.  I began my quest of  finding my passion/hobby (which I felt was the void I was feeling in my life) once I had my second child (I needed some me time).    So I had to search within for that spark I was after.  Here is how I went about it…

I have always loved handmade products and will always be inspired by people’s creative abilities. My own love for being creative came into light later in my life when I first got pregnant. While waiting for my daughter’s arrival I set out painting characters that meant something to me, something she can keep when she grew up, for her nursery. That was when I realised I had a creative Gene in me. With this new discovery about myself and the arrival of my baby girl I had a new dream that was to explore my own creative abilities.  So painting and sketching was what I did for a while with no real direction.  But I was not so sure how far I can go as a painter or a sketch artist starting in my thirties.
I had always loved paper related things like old books (they triggered my childhood memories I guess), beautiful paper (as a child I used to collected chewing gum and lolly wrappers, yeah I know weird).  And another thing I fell in love while in Venice was glass.  I just wanted to learn that art of glass to create such fragile beauty.  Jewellery was something I didn’t think of until my sister (who has always been creative) suggested that i do some jewellery making using buttons.  So I started exploring the art of jewellery making.  It led me to doing more research on making glass jewellery, which eventually led me to glass cabochon jewellery that caught my eyes and heart because it combined two of my interests, glass and paper.  And possibly include my love of travel and paining and drawing….  an option that opened up a door to being creative with no limits.
“If you love what you do, you will never WORK  a day in your life!”- Anon
As you can see, you just have to keep on trying different things until you find that one thing that you FEEL right with, the one that makes you go ahhhh.  The one thing that you would look forward to doing every day. That one thing that you will try and sneak in while your husband/wife is busy doing house chores.  Then you know you have something real, almost like an obsession 🙂
The process of making lists led  me to my true passions which I narrowed down to travel, my kids,  and  making jewellery (my new found hobby).   So I have combined all these passions into creating my online business.

Find your market

Once you get a product or an idea, it is ideal if you can find a gap in the market and make/adopt your product to fill that gap.  But in most cases similar products exists, so be unique with your product, do not copy other people’s work (though being  inspired by others work is perfectly normal).  Figure out who you will be selling your products to, it is better to horn in on a target market.
Once I decided I wanted to be creative with glass cab jewellery, I trialled different designs and understood that my target market was 20-50 old women.  Now I have got an idea of the target market for the different ranges of my jewellery.
Don’t be shy to try selling your products
You will have to see how your products sell in the market.  There are no two ways about it, if you don’t try you won’t know.  This can happen online and off-line.  but price your products according to the costs and time you have put into making them.
     Online
  • For handmade items I suggest the online platform of Etsy.  Etsy already has an established customer base all around the world, it is quite different to eBay.  Where people value handmade crafty things and you can sell things for what they are really worth.  My Etsy store was opened in March 2012 when my baby boy was only 5 months old.  And with a lot of work (that is probably another post on its own) I happy to say now I have an online presence.  Don’t take my word for it, there are a lot of people who has quit their day job after opening up successful Etsy businesses.
  • You can try eBay/Amazon, these online auction sites are ideal for non handmade items and items that are in demand.  Compared to Etsy, eBay buyers wants a bargain.  So price your items smartly.
  • Social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc, you can post your items and see who would like to buy it.

Off-line

  • Try your products at local markets, Arts and craft markets, make sure you pick a market to  suit your product.  Don’t go to a flea market to try and sell handmade jewellery at handmade prices.  I made that mistake, and I can tell you it is a waste of time because the people who come to certain types of markets have a certain expectation.  They don’t come to a flea market or a second-hand product market, or a farmers market to buy handmade jewellery.  On the other hand a market specialising in handcrafted goods would be ideal for handmade jewellery
 Build your brand 
This is very very important especially if you are an online business.  The way someone sees your shop and recognise your work any where they see it is by your brand.  Look at the majour brands in our supermarkets, we know our brands don’t we?  There are a lot of articles you can read on this subject.  Learn how to build your brand on Etsy https://blog.etsy.com/en/2012/building-your-brand/
DSC_0015bright
Kookki Designs Gift Box
DSC_0431
Kookki Designs Gift Wrapping
Building my brand meant looking at my logo, packaging, the online shop look (photos).  It is time-consuming, but worth doing to prevent your items being lost in the cyber space.  How else will you make someone remember your product when there is so many other products in the online market place?  
So take great photos of your products, keep taking different photos until you are happy with the outcome, read about taking photos, use the information available to Etsy users at Etsy Blog to educate yourself on how you can take good eye-catching photos using what ever camera you have available.
Promote
This is about your online and off-line work you can do to promote your brand and products.  This one it is entirely up to you how much time, effort and money you want to put in depending what you want to achieve in return.
Online promoting can be done free via your chosen social media sites like instagram, pinterest, Facebook, twitter(I don’t like this one so much for myself), Blogs, Google+ etc.
Don’t forget offline promoting opportunities like Markets which provides a great platform for  some networking where you get to meet not only new loyal  customers but other artists, shop owners.
Lastly I will say this….. starting your own online shop is a lot of work and is a time-consuming process.  But don’t give up!  Once you get the hang of it (which will take a bit of time), you will enjoy seeing your product sitting on that screen looking beautiful driving traffic your way.  It will make you proud when you get that first sale, the second and so on.  Keep learning and improving!

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

Ella Fitzgerald

I would love to hear your comments.  If you have any questions regarding this topic please write in the comments, I am more than happy to answer any question to the best of my ability

Please Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s