How ‘MyBookmark’ on Etsy turned a brief observation into a prosperous business idea!

How good are your observation skills? Good enough to be capable of turning your life around? Do you know good observation skills can take you places?

If you weren’t quite aware of the fact, hear us out. The tiniest details in your surroundings can be the start of something big. Sometimes, all it takes is a second, a minute detail which can give birth to a thriving idea. You just got to observe.

For our next conversation with a small business, we bring to you Olena from My Bookmark, who used her exemplary observation skills to bring about one of the most creative ideas we’ve ever seen. Let’s find out what!

My Bookmark Etsy shop
We absolutely love your unusual bookmarks! Oh and with that number of sales, kudos to you! We’re curious to know, what made you start your shop?

The idea for the leggy bookmarks came to me in a very visual way. I was at my friend’s home when in the middle of the mess in the kids’ room, I saw a doll lying in a book with its legs sticking out of it.
Instead of asking anyone their opinion about this concept, I decided to check whether they would buy it or not. The only effective way to see if the product will bring money as “simply talking about it is all theoretical”.
By the time I made my first bookmark, I have already had a shop on Etsy, where I had been selling handmade jewelry, which I eventually stopped doing as it was more time-consuming yet less popular than the bookmark project.

Olena from My Bookmark
So how is it coming along, of late? Are you happy with where you are?

Yes, I can say I’m satisfied with my project. But I always think of making some more interesting crazy products, like bracelets, brooches, and magnets. I have many creative ideas.

Please tell us about all the people behind your shop! We know how important they all are.

In 2011, I used to sculpt the bookmarks individually, but soon I realized that it was impossible to handle everything myself. The sales grew and I needed more helpers.
In 2013 there were 5 of us and at the present moment, our team consists of 15 people. I still invent the designs and control the process of sculpturing, but my team makes all the process – modeling, painting, packing, doing marketing, providing customer support, do the bookkeeping and so on.
I’ve surrounded myself with happy, warm and genuine people, and we all work like a perfect machine. And one of the best things – we all are really passionate about our work.

The happy faces and the team behind My Bookmark
How does your family support you in what you do? Please tell us about them.

Despite my parents never being fond of visual arts, they supported me and encourage me to keep doing what makes me happy. My husband also says that I have to stay true to myself and not give up on my dreams.
And when my two daughters of 2 and 3 years’ old come to my office and tell me that their mom’s workplace is like a fairytale and so fun – these reactions fill my heart with happiness.

First of all, I realized that there is nothing impossible. That any crazy idea can be put into life, the most important is to believe in yourself! Of course, I had some obstacles, but if one tries his best to study, to fulfill his or her knowledge, then it will be much easier to overcome anything.

Tell us something about your childhood. How has it shaped you be the person you are today?

I was always creative and loved to make things. Even as a kid. I used to build houses on trees and I created jewelry out of wire found in my dad’s garage.
Later, I got a degree in architecture from the Kyiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. I can say that the college contributed to my creative skills.

The process of making the bookmarks
Let’s talk about your favorite quote. We’d love to know what it is and what it means to you!

I know a lot of quotes and our traditional Ukrainian proverbs and sometimes they come into my mind in different situations. But the latest one which has stuck in my head is: “Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”. This saying reminds me to be mentally “here and now” and to be mindful.

If there’s one person in the world who inspires you, who is it and why?

I admire an architect Antoni Gaudí for his highly individualized, and one-of-a-kind style. For me – he is a genius of forms and I wish I had that fantasy and skills.

I’ve surrounded myself with happy, warm and genuine people, and we all work like a perfect machine. And one of the best things – we all are really passionate about our work.

How do you manage your time and days? Is there a schedule that keeps you on track?

I try to find a happy balance between my family, work and friends. Thankfully, I can rely on my team and can be sure that they can run the process even without my everyday presence. But I’m always online and stay informed. I’ve learnt how to be proactive, you only need to plan your day smartly.

Tell us about the one mistake you made in your entrepreneurial journey? How could we learn from it?

At times I made mistakes in the market exploring and created wrong products. For example, I’ve made lots of designs for the Asian market, but it appeared that their book size was much smaller than we used to think and my bookmark’s regular size was too big for them. So I wasted time and materials. The conclusion is – always explore your target audience precisely.

Lastly, please tell us how your business has changed your life.

First of all, I realized that there is nothing impossible. That any crazy idea can be put into life, the most important is to believe in yourself! Of course, I had some obstacles, but if one tries his best to study, to fulfill his or her knowledge, then it will be much easier to overcome anything. Thanks to MyBookmark project, I have become stronger, more experienced and self-assured. Now I know – I’m able to start any other crazy project without any hesitation.

Loved the post? Check out our previous conversation with another successful Etsy seller here. Let us know what you think about this shop in the comments below! We’d love to know your opinions.

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