How amazing is it, when the memories of childhood linger so much in our heads that they end up determining our career paths, somehow.
Often, we get this urge to relive all those old-but-gold days and cherish those memories for a lifetime. What if we told you, we know someone who is actually living their childhood all over again?!
Meet Timea, from Mighty Paper Shop, for our next conversation with a successful small business, who travels far and wide and brings back a piece of her childhood with her, every time. Read on to know more.
What a great number of sales in just 3 years! Congratulations on your success! How did you come up with the whole idea about the shop?
Thank you! My boyfriend and I travel a lot, and there are two things we always do everywhere we go: visit flea markets and go to stationery stores. Both of us grew up in Eastern Europe, where you had really great, simple, yet high-quality stationery in school. Every time we traveled abroad, we were always hoping to find something from the old times, or at least something that was similar. We picked up so many great things over the years in the stationery stores, much more than we needed for ourselves. On the way home from a long road trip, the car packed with stationery, the idea for Mighty Paper started to grow in my head.
2. Please tell us something about your experience on Etsy so far.
I am quite content with Etsy! This is where I started out and it worked out for me from the beginning. I hardly had to do any advertising and started to sell pretty quickly. There is a Berlin Etsy Team through which I met many other creatives. Something that was crucial to the success of my shop. Also, I learned a ton of things about SEO, photography, and pricing with the amazing Etsy seller handbook. Such a profound tool when you start out!
Mistakes happen all the time. They shouldn’t, but they do. So I’ve created workarounds and ways to cope with them without being emotionally involved each and every time.
What is that one thing you’re most proud of?
Before opening my shops on Etsy, I was more of a person who started many things but did not finish them or did not execute them well enough for them to flourish. With my business, it was a whole new experience. I found out that I could be dedicated, hardworking and very disciplined (obsessed might also be a word). I’ve learnt this about myself and I am proud that I had and have the patience and commitment to keep on going.
What keeps you going through rough and difficult times? We could really use some tips!
At the beginning it was much harder to find trust in myself and in the business. I had so many doubts. But after a while you see that there is success – all around. So when things are not working out, I try to remember that and to trust the process and my ability to figure things out. Because that’s the way it always is. One day you think you are in the middle of a catastrophe, and a day later things look much less bleak. This too shall pass, as they say. Also it is extremely helpful and important to me to connect to other creative small business owners. You pick each other up and get good hands-on advice.
Are there any habits or is there any routine you follow that keeps you on schedule? Tell us about the same.
For years, I have been trying to get a bit more structured and I am pretty sure I got better. But mostly, every day is different and that’s what I love about it. You tend to the needs that the business has that day or go with the flow. When the light is good, for example, I drop everything and start to take photos.
Still, it’s a constant struggle to have some kind of structure and to not only putting out the fire that burns the brightest. It’s really important to remind myself what the most important tasks for the business are, which actually bring you profit and keep the business going. It happens way too easily that I lose myself in the everyday.
Tell us something about your team. How do they contribute to the shop?
My boyfriend is also part of the business and helps me with fulfilling the orders and with product research. I also hired a part time shipper to help with the workload. There are two freelancers that help me. One is a social media magician and helps me with that, the other assists me with administrative tasks and customer service.
How do you usually deal with failure?
It’s hard on me. But I also redefined what failure actually means. Mistakes happen all the time. They shouldn’t, but they do. So I’ve created workarounds and ways to cope with them without being emotionally involved each and every time. When there are fluctuations in sales, I try to keep calm. There are always difficult weeks or months. I try to keep on going, doing what helps the business and look for solutions.
At the beginning it was much harder to find trust in myself and in the business. I had so many doubts. But after a while you see that there is success – all around. So when things are not working out, I try to remember that and to trust the process and my ability to figure things out.
If you had to point out a reason why people are not likely to succeed, what would it be?
Fear. I have this quote by Seth Godin hanging in my studio, which sums it up perfectly, “How do I get rid of the fear?” Alas, this is the wrong question.
The only way to get rid of the fear is to stop doing things that might not work, to stop putting yourself out there, to stop doing work that matters.
No, the right question is, “How do I dance with the fear?”
Fear is not the enemy. Paralysis is the enemy.
We would love to know what you do in your free time. What are your hobbies, things you like to do when you’re not working?
I am more of an introvert so I need a lot of downtime. Going for walks with my dachshund in the forests around Berlin always helps. Spending time with my family & friends. Reading or being creative by doing pottery, weaving or anything crafty keeps me centered. I just booked a workshop for embroidering, for example! Traveling helps removing the spider webs in my mind.
Last and the most important, what advice what you like to give us?
Phew! That’s hard. Each person should define success, just as failure, individually. However, when Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett, their host at dinner, Gates’ mother, asked everyone around the table to identify what they believed was the single most important factor in their success through life. Gates and Buffett gave the same one-word answer: “Focus.”
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.