When I received an email from Elizabeth of Nella Designs a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to do an interview with her. What I love most about her work is that its simple, not too trendy, and most importantly in these times, affordable. So, without further ado, here’s the interview…
-How did you get into the world of papergoods design? Is it something you always wanted to do or more something that you fell into?
I would have to say it was more of something I fell into. I have always had a love of all things paper. I was the kid who got a stationery and sticker set, but would never use it because it was too pretty. Despite having a background in design, I never thought it was something that I could do until I discovered etsy. Suddenly, I was thrust into this world where all things were possible and I really went for it. It started out as more of a hobby, but turned into something much bigger than I could have ever imagined or hoped for.
-Your work is so affordable. How do you keep your prices so low and come up with such wonderful designs?
You know, I really have never put too much thought into that! I just design what I love and what I think others might love and then make it work.
-Many sellers find it difficult to put a price on their work. Have you ever struggled with how to price your products?
Sometimes I struggle with how to price things. I always want people to think they are getting what they pay for and I know that sometimes retail is priced way higher than it should be. I also want to keep in mind the state of the economy right now and money being tight. So I try to strike a balance somewhere in the middle.
-I love your personalized couples silhouette print. And pretty much everything else in your shop is customizable as well. Is this something that you have always done, from the beginning? And how do you think it sets you apart from other papergood shops?
I didn’t start out with many personalized items, no. As time went by, I quickly realized that people like to see their name(s) on things.
So I tried to come up with different items that were unique. I really like bold colors and nice clean lines. Not a lot of fuss. I really think this sets my products apart from a lot of other designs out there.
-Having opened a little over a year ago, business seems to be taking off with over 1,000 sales now. Is this a full-time job for you?
Yes, this is a full time job for me. When I started Nella, it was more of a hobby or side business as I was a full time designer for a magazine. I really didn’t spend as much time/attention on the business as I should have. It was hard balancing 2 jobs along with everything else going on! Several months ago I decided to go full time and focus all my attention on building my brand. I am a firm believer in the sink or swim mentality and I really felt like if I didn’t do it now, I never would. So far, so good…
-Do you have any advice for someone who may be just starting off with a new shop or line? Any suggestions for promoting?
Advice I would give to someone looking to take the leap is to plan, plan, plan. Try and start it out just as a side gig for a while to see if you can really make a go of it. And talk to people in the know. A CPA, fellow business owners, etc. Also, BE PATIENT..success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process and one that cannot be rushed no matter how anxious you are! I am still learning this after a year!
As far as promoting, word of mouth is vital and can really help with sales in the long run. Blog features have also helped with sales a great deal. I recommend compiling a list of favorite blogs that you read and contacting them. Introduce yourself and your product and they just might do a write up on you!
Thanks so much for the interview Elizabeth! Visit the Nella Design shop here.