I interviewed Athena, owner of Design by Athena, based in Toronto, ON, Canada.
Design by Athena makes jewellery, travel clothing and accessories.
Here is my interview with Athena…
What made you decide to set up your business?
I have always been interested in jewelry and finally began designing 3 years ago while I was stationed for work at a fire base in northern Manitoba, I am a helicopter pilot and travel extensively throughout the country. While things were quiet one day I took some time to sit by a lake, on a rock, it was so peaceful, I was surrounded by nature, and that’s when the inspiration hit me. I wanted to make my own jewelry while I had some time during flying in the summers. I wanted to offer something unique, something that was versatile (wrap bracelet that you can wear as an anklet, belt or necklace), and nature, bohemian and of course I wanted to incorporate it with my favorite, Yoga. This is how Design by Athena came to be. My process is, before I fly out for work, I string enough beads to keep occupied onto silver and gold embroidery thread that I purchase locally, I bring my crochet hook and enough findings to make Tree of Life Wrap Bracelets. As I travel either in a commercial airplane to take me to my job site, or while my helicopter is parked on the ramp and I am waiting to fly (wildfires etc) I take my bracelets, sit by the water and work away. Each bracelet takes about 3 hours to crochet, and each one was made in different locations throughout northern Canada, and there are a few colors available. I refer to these as Yoga Wrap Bracelets with Tree of Life charm.
What do you do and what products do you sell?
I make yoga jewelry, travel clothing and jewelry organizers.
What products seem to be your best sellers?
At shows the most popular items are yoga wrap bracelets
Who are your biggest competitors?
Jewelry is one of the most competitive items to sell.
How would you recommend your business to potential customers?
People usually comment on the jewelry pieces I wear. I give them my business card and invite them to my website, my retail location at the Arts Market 790 Queen St East, Toronto, and also invite them to the next show I will be participating in as a vendor.
Did you have any problems when starting your business? If so, how did you overcome them?
It took some time to get the first online sale. Participating in shows as a vendor brings in many more sales.
How do you decide on your designs?
I go to gem shows and stores to source materials, I get my inspiration by finding gemstones etc which catch my eye, as well as through social media.
Are there any offers on your products running at the moment?
Yes, LILDIVA30 for 30% off, no minimum purchase.
What has the experience of owning a business been like for you?
Owning your own business has it’s own hurdles during low sale periods, however I found it to be very liberating.
Where do you see your business in the future? What dreams do you have for your business?
I will be focusing on wholesale, as well as shows this year, One of a Kind Toronto this November as well as the Christmas Show in December.
Listed below are the store and social media links for Design by Athena
Thank you for answering my questions, Athena. It has been a pleasure interviewing and getting to know you. I wish you well in your business venture.