I interviewed Karen Vella. Karen, aged 40, is the owner of Justyrs based in Malta.
Karen made this small statement to introduce us to Justyrs.
“My business is mainly custom-made decorations. The name Justyrs, which is short for just yours, is a clear indication of what I believe in……decorations for a special event should be personalised to your own likings and tastes. It should reflect who you are.”
Here is my interview with Karen…
When did you start your business?
I started my business in August 2015.
What made you decide to set up your business?
It all started when I was planning my 40th birthday party. I am a big fan of colour themes and it was really frustrating not to find what I was looking for. More often than not I liked parts of different decorations. I never considered myself a crafty person but I decided to give it a try. My dog, which was my best companion had just died and I needed the distraction anyway. I was very happy with the result and my guests at the birthday party were all impressed. It was mainly my friends and family who encouraged me to open my own business.
What do you do and what products do you sell?
All my items are mainly made of paper. I create custom-made decorations for any occasions, including paper flowers, cones, confetti, party favors, banners etc.
What products seem to be your best sellers?
My best sellers are confetti cones, confetti/table scatters and paper flowers.
Who are your biggest competitors?
There are a lot of talented crafters, but I consider them as colleagues. It is so refreshing to be in forums and groups and I learn so much from them. Maybe the biggest competitor is the cheap, run of the mill products from China, but it does not really bother me, because the people who appreciate handmade and want custom-made items understand that my prices could never meet China’s products.
How do you advertise your business?
I believe in networking. I promote my items in the Etsy shop, have a Facebook page on which I pay advertising and advertise and network on a lot of Facebook group pages. I also have Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr which I try to use at least once a day.
How would you recommend your business to potential customers?
If you have an eye for detail, want your decorations to reflect who you are and want everything to fit in with your colour theme, I am more than happy to help you create a memorable event. The advantage of custom-made is that you can change and adapt the item to your own liking. My promise to my customers is that every item I do, is done with the greatest detail and dedication and I will always adhere to deadlines. I will never accept orders if I am not sure that I will finalise by the deadline given.
Did you have any problems when starting your business? If so, how did you overcome them?
Not really. I still have my full-time job, so starting my business was more like taking my newly discovered hobby to a higher level. I think the most important thing is to try to grow gradually and I try not to take on more than I can chew.
Do you recruit? If so, what are the benefits?
No, I don’t recruit.
How do you decide on your designs?
Well that’s a tricky one. Sometimes it’s a custom order so that’s easy, I just have to satisfy my customer’s request. When I am not working I find myself researching on Pinterest and social media. I gather ideas of what I like and then come up with my own variation/design of the latest trends. My products are also season related, so there will be times when I will be focusing more on Christmas or Halloween items. Then there are items which all year rounders like baby shower and wedding items.
What has been your favourite piece to work on?
One of the reasons I like my business so much is that I am always creating new things, so each new item is always a great pleasure on work on. But, if I had to choose one, it must be the big paper flower backdrop which I did for my birthday party.
Are there any offers on your products running at the moment?
I would like to offer a 10% discount to whoever is reading this blog. They can benefit from the discount by using the code BLOG10.
What has the experience of owning a business been like for you?
It’s been very exciting and sometimes overwhelming especially when I get a couple of orders at the same time. I find it so exciting when I receive an order and so rewarding when I get reviews. All in all it is a very positive experience and I love it.
Where do you see your business in the future? What dreams do you have for your business?
My number one dream at the moment is to be able to make my business my full-time job and continue expanding. That will probably have to wait for a while unfortunately. My next aim though, is to buy more equipment to be able to do personalisation.
Thank you for answering my questions, Karen. It has been a pleasure interviewing and getting to know you. I wish you well in your business venture.