For many small business owners the desire to be free of the daily 9 - 5 and replace it with a motivating and inspiring business is just too strong to ignore so it's no surprise that Tracey Makaev did just that.
After learning valuable lessons in retail Tracey took the leap and started her own jewellery business.
Tell us a little about yourself, what’s the day to day life like for a small business owner of Babushkas House and who makes up the team?
I own and run Babushka’s House Jewellery on my own. I love the fact I can work whenever I like, instead of working 9-5. My day usually starts with a cup (or 3) of coffee whilst answering emails and messages. I then package up orders that I prepared earlier ready for posting, then sort through my list of customer orders to start creating.
What (or who) inspires you, that encourages you to reach out and make things happen?
My family and friends have always inspired me to do what makes me happy, but my husband inspires me the most. He encourages me every step of the way, helps me see the positives out of the negatives and never gets sick of hearing about my day and Babushka’s House Jewellery.
The wonderful feedback I get from my amazing customers, encourages me to keep doing what I love whilst creating something unique just for them.
Have you always had a love for jewellery or was it one of life’s discoveries?
My love for beading and crafts started at a young age - when I was about nine years old. Growing up in a big family, my mum and sisters were always making something; either baking, sewing, decorating or flower arranging, and my dad and brothers would build furniture.
I would see random things and think I could make something out of it. My mum would buy me packets of beads in various colours and my dad gave me a role of fishing line and I sat there for hours threading beads and making bracelets and necklaces. I was hooked! I had tried a few other crafts (and still do) but always came back to beading.
After leaving school, I worked many years in retail, but my dream was to always start my own business so two years ago I gave up retail work, with the support of my husband, and started creating jewellery: Babushka’s House Jewellery was born.
What do you enjoy most about the business?
Creating mostly OOAK (One of a Kind) jewellery for my wonderful customers, family and friends. I love shopping online, sourcing new suppliers and visiting some of Adelaide’s great bead stores. Working your own hours is also a big plus.
What’s been the hardest part or experience you’re had since starting the business?
In the beginning I expected too much, but I have now learnt that it takes time. I love where I am now. Nothing is ever too hard if you are doing what you love and have the support and encouragement of those around you.
What’s been the best thing for the business that you just stumbled upon?
FACEBOOK! A friend of mine told me to open a Facebook page, and so I did and I have never looked back. The Facebook community is extremely welcoming and I have made some great friends in the process.
What do you think has been the most successful promotional activities you’ve explored to getting the word out about Babushkas House?
Selling at markets and advertising on Facebook. When the Facebook rules weren’t so tough, doing random give-aways and prizes.
Returning shout outs and thanking people for visiting, and if it’s a business, liking their page in return. I have met a lot of wonderful people on Facebook, be it customers or other business page owners. I think I have some of the best customers ever, always inspiring me to try new things.
What do you think has been a really important regular activity with your social media that’s helped you grow?
Just by advertising and adding new stock frequently, asking customers what they would like to see created. Having regular sales and other promotions to attract new customers and when these customers return for more.
What are the hopes and plans for Babushkas House this year?
At the beginning of the year, I was asked by a family member what my hopes were for 2011. They
1. Gain a stockist for my jewellery range, which happened just recently
2. Start doing jewellery parties (I have one coming up soon)
3. Attend more markets, selling and promoting Babushka’s House
4. Start a website – which is now up and running
5. Attend jewellery and beading classes to learn new techniques and styles
So 4 out of 5 isn’t so bad so far :)
What would be your top 5 tips you’d give to someone starting out?
1. Don’t expect too much too soon
2. Research and know what you are selling, who your target market is, and what makes you different from the rest.
3. Keep posts on your web/Facebook page professional.
4. Get into a routine with your business and family life.
5. Take pride in your work and enjoy what you do as it will show in your work.
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