Interview With: A Jewellery Maker Who Has Never Held A Full-Time Job
21, Founder of Tiny Hands
At age 21, most are panicking over their final graduation results, and sending out resumés to land their first job. For Mei Pak, a recent graduate in Actuarial Science, the road of corporate climbing and suit-wearing is not on this jewellery maker’s map to success. Instead, Mei’s food-inspired scented jewellery has led to a successful online business venture that she never once thought possible.
When did you start making jewellery?
I started when I was 15. My mum and I took a basic class together and learnt the foundations of jewellery-making. We were guided through a couple of projects where we made some beautiful beaded necklaces. I was surprised and inspired by how fulfilling it was to be able to create the kind of jewellery I saw being sold in stores.
How did you come up with the name ‘Tiny Hands Jewelry’?
It came to me quite naturally. I wanted a name that would capture the essence of who I am. Having smaller-sized hands than most people, I thought ‘Tiny Hands‘ was very fitting.
How has your online business changed from when you started?
When I first started, I had no real vision. I simply made what I liked. I did not know that it was just as important to create what other people want as well. Through the years, ideas began to grow organically. I needed to find a focus, a unique selling proposition and a branding identity.
Fast forward all the years later, I started to focus my jewellery-making skills on one main idea: food-inspired jewellery made from polymer clay. This was later followed by my decision to make my jewellery scented as well. I wanted to appeal to the senses. Nobody was doing it the way I was. It was then that I realized I had found my unique selling proposition.
How do you measure your success?
Since I have never had a job, my boyfriend’s annual pay is my benchmark for how much money I should make on a yearly basis. This year I believe I will surpass him.
What challenges did you face setting up your online presence?
Getting traffic to my website was one of my biggest challenge.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Lots of trial and error. I spent many hours online, networking with other people on message boards and forums. I also commented on other people’s blogs and websites, making sure I had a link back to my website. I pitched to websites the feature my brand. At the same time, I had to continue creating amazing products that would get people talking. It was a slow process, but a tried-and-tested one used by many other successful websites and blogs. Everything I learned, I studied from resources I found through searching Google.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of setting up their own online business?
1. Have a business plan. Know exactly who is your target audience and how you intend to connect with them. Even if it is not accurate, having some idea will put you light years ahead of your competition.
2. Be persistent and never give up. Unless you have a million dollars to kickstart your marketing campaign, it is likely that your business will grow organically. You will experience failures and make mistakes along the way. Keep your chin up. If it is something you truly believe in, don’t let it go.
3. Be true to yourself. Write and speak the way you would in real life. Do the things you would normally do. Just be yourself. The worst thing is to try so hard to emulate a bigger, more successful competitor – not a viable, long-term strategy for doing well.
Who is your role model? And why?
I have many role models, most of them from the community of solopreneurs who have achieved success from their passions. One of them is Susan Koger of ModCloth. She started in high school with a simple hobby of thrift shopping. Today, her business has 275 employees and over 500,000 Facebook fans. It is so inspiring that one person can have such a huge impact on all these other peoples’ lives.
What drives and motivates you to do what you do?
Simply knowing that, I put a smile on someone’s face every time they see and smell my jewellery makes my day.
Do you use natural and/or organic skincare or beauty products? If so, please indicate type of product and brand.
The one item I use that is natural is Now Solutions’ 100% pure jojoba oil. It works as an amazing moisturizer for flaky skin – a side effect I got from using benzoyl peroxide to treat my acne.
Have you tried organic food before?
I have tried organic oatmeal but I can’t say I enjoyed it.
If you could play your part in saving the planet, what is one thing in your everyday life that you would do?
Minimize on food waste. I always portion my food to eliminate waste. I never buy more fresh produce than I can store or consume. I can’t even remember the last time I threw away food!
Thanks Mei ♥
To know more about Mei and Tiny Hands, click here.
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