Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts and crafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Coralie Landry, Founder of CoraCreaCrafts, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
CoraCrecCrafts is an online stationery store and brand. We provide unique, high-quality vintage-style products for paper crafting, journaling, scrapbooking, and mixed-media art. Aside from our main line of products, we are also known for our subscription boxes, which bundle unique new items on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. This is great for our customers who wish to keep experimenting with new supplies without having to handpick them themselves. Our 'Vintage Craft Box,' which is the very first subscription box we started, offers exclusive themes to experiment with every month. It has quickly become our best-seller item. Our customers are all kinds of creative people, new or accomplished crafters, and people who enjoy journaling, writing letters, making cards, planning, bullet journaling, etc. Some customers purchase their first product because they like the aesthetics and only start crafting further down the line.
Tell us about yourself
I am the sole founder of CoraCreaCrafts; it first began experimenting with lettering and calligraphy in 2017. After sharing my work on Instagram, I soon stumbled upon a passionate, global community of creators with a shared interest in journaling and paper crafting. Three years on, I opened my shop on a quest to sell unique, vintage-style stationery products. After developing my retail skills and selling products from other sources, I went on to release my first original items. Since then, CoraCreaCrafts has gone from strength to strength, now existing as its own unique brand. After studying International Hospitality Management in Switzerland, I made a move to London to begin my career in retail. However, the dream of following my passions was far too big to ignore. When I moved to the United States with my supportive other half, I took a big leap into the unknown and started my own business. "I realized I only have one life to live, and I didn't want to spend it working a job that was unfulfilling. I stepped away from the nondescript career path I was on and chose to try to do what I love for a living." Although I didn't come from a designer background, I wanted to create products in my own one-of-a-kind style. I began working with old books, manuscripts, and engravings, recoloring and adding details of my own for extra flair. I invested time into learning new skills through specialist design programs – allowing me to design new types of stationery products further down the line.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Seeing my customer base expanding to people from all across the world as my brand developed and as I started getting better known within the crafting community. I even got an order from the little village where I grew up in Switzerland, randomly, not from someone I knew. Knowing that I made it "all the way" to my hometown back in Switzerland gave me a feeling of accomplishment. When orders come in from a new country for the first time, I can't help but smile at the thought of 'my first order.' I now have customers from all over Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, several countries in Asia, and the Middle East.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The responsibility. Having to carry all the responsibility and problems that arise on my shoulders alone, whether it is related to finances and sales, customer service, logistics, shipping and delays, IT, staff, etc. With a small business, there is always something going on, and most issues seem to find a way to happen all at the same time. It can be exhausting, and sometimes it takes a lot of energy to remember that "I can do it" and it's going to work out in the end.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You do not need a lot to get started, but don't start too small. Customers are more likely to buy (more) and come back if you have a range of products rather than just a few and if you have a variety of products that can be used together. Similarly, buying/creating too little inventory costs a lot more than starting with a larger quantity. Even it if seems like a lot in the beginning, try to go for a little bit more rather than less.
- Use marketplaces. It's difficult to build a customer base and get organic traffic to your website without a good customer base or following on social media. I highly recommend starting on platforms like Etsy and Cratejoy while building your audience on social media before considering building an e-commerce store.
- Use bundling and subscriptions. These are great ways to get a 'safe' income by receiving recurring payments on a monthly basis. Plus, this will help you plan your future inventory as you will get a better idea of how much you might sell. Subscription boxes helped me scale my business and enabled me to start producing my own products.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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