1. When things weren't going so well, what was the one thing that gave your business a boost?
We had a couple of crisis periods and I was even thinking that that was the end, but thankfully, we “swam ashore”. We started making bookmarks for the wholesale orders and corporate gifts and somehow this idea saved us from drowning.
2. How did you know it was time to hire someone and what was the first thing you outsourced?
MyBookmark was established in 2011, my sales grew and I realized that I desperately need more hands, to sculpt, to pack, to send parcels via post and to carry out many other necessary duties. So now, our team consists of 12 people – accountant, marketer, wholesale managers, artists…and we all work in an integrated manner.
3. What steps did you take that really helped your business take off? What helped your business grow?
I was constantly trying to find new designs, new trends, tried to explore the market. After some time, new bestsellers appeared (like the Wicked Witch, Magician, and Alice). I had to follow trends and continuously improve my bookmarks. Of course, after I opened a US Amazon shop, my sales started growing rapidly.
4. How do you grab people's attention and get them to buy?
We do e-mail marketing, Instagram stories and everyday posts, we share with our customers our sales and interesting facts about the process, we try to engage the audience. Also, we cooperate with bloggers. I was surprised when Buzz Feed, Bored Panda, Mentalfloss and many other bloggers made posts about us just for free because they were just amazed with our original one of a kind product.
5. How did you get consistent sales? What other income streams do you have?
The sales will never be consistent. You always have good and bad seasons. Christmas time, for example, is the best time, summer is a vacation season, so the sales fall down. We prepare for the winter and produce 3 times more bookmarks than usual. Also, we have a wholesale option and do corporate gifts, this helps us to feel stable. I don’t have any other income. I’m the mother of two and hardly have time for any other business.
6. How long did it take you to make a living wage and what resources helped you make it through the beginning years?
In a year after establishing my company and after creating the Amazon shop the business took off. I also had an Etsy shop with my handmade jewelry, and that shop worked fine too.
Born in Ukraine, Olena Mysnyk is the creator and maker behind MyBookmark handmade gift shop. Olena started her shop as just a hobby inspired by children's games, dolls, and her love of reading. Nine thousand orders later and it has turned into her passion and profitable business. She is happy to share this love with the world and help inspire readers everywhere.