You can start a business with just about any product, no matter how specialized it is. Riina of Riana’s Doll Closet is proof of this. She has a thriving business with a very niche product, and does well with it. Read more about Riina.
1. Tell me about your yourself.
I’m from Estonia. This is a small, but beautiful country in Europe. I’m married and we have two very active boys (6 and 4 years old). And one white blue-eyed cat lives with us as well. The fun fact about me is my small business – I sell Barbie doll clothes. Every time I mention that I play with Barbie dolls, then people just start asking, “Really or are you joking?!”.
2. What is your business?
I run my Etsy shop called Riana’s Doll Closet. I sell 11.5-inch fashion doll clothes, mostly for Barbie dolls. My best selling products are Barbie bikinis. I do everything myself – product designs, products, photos, marketing etc.
3. How long have you been working with your business?
Riana’s Doll Closet had it’s 4th birthday this year!
4. Why did you want to work from home or work for yourself? What is your “why”?
When I started the business, my second son was just born. I had already been home for two years and I was tired of the boring everyday routine. I wanted to do something different than only be mom. After I found Etsy I felt like I was in heaven – it was something to keep me sane. 🙂
5. Why did you start this business? Did you look into any other business ideas? Have you tried any others before this one?
Starting my Etsy shop was very impulsive decision, but I’m thankful that I didn’t do much research about it and my business area. If I had done that, I probably wouldn’t have started my business. I had no idea how to run business, but I had willpower. That kept me going even when I realized what I had done – but that was months later. Fortunately, I met other Etsy-ans from Estonia and they were very supportive and gave lots of advice. Now I believe that everything is possible if you have the willpower.
6. How many hours do you work every day or week? What kinds of things do you do to make money?
Honestly, the last 6 months has been rough for me since I was working on finishing school. The final semester was stressful and I didn’t have any time for my shop, so I can’t give any work hours.
But usually I do everything that needs to be done – I make the products, take photos of products and edit them, I put products up in shop for sale (write titles, descriptions, do SEO), I do the marketing, communicate with clients, post orders and I’m a volunteer on our local Etsy group.
7. How long did it take to see your first sale? How long did it take to make a profit?
My first sale came about 6 months after opening my shop. Profit came after two years.
8. How do you help your customer? Why would they buy from you/work with you?
My customers express themselves through Barbie dolls. I offer them opportunity to make their message more clear, to get more attention and be understood more clearly and feel that they are important and belong somewhere.
9. What do you like best about your business?
It is different from others and when I talk about it, then people are listening and really interested in what I do.
10. How would someone start a business or like yours or with your team?
If you already have products, then just register your account and shop on Etsy (it’s free and if you use this link (note: Riina’s personal affiliate) you and I will get 40 free listings to start). Photos can be taken with your phone. And Etsy has a great system that helps beginners to start their shop.
11. What do you do to help your customers succeed?
I give my best to make the perfectly fitting Barbie doll clothes. This is a niche product and it has to be exactly what the client is looking for.
12. What kinds of expectations should someone new to online business, working from home, or working for yourself have?
Running an Etsy shop needs time, hard work and patience before the results start to come. Often it is not enough to just have an online shop. You need to find ways to bring people to your shop. Good SEO isn’t enough. You need to find other marketing channels to bring people to your shop.
13. Anything else you would like someone to know about you or your business?
Remember, it is important to do what you love.