Answers By: Janelle Delicata, owner of everyday jewelry & wearable art, a micro-business in Prospect, Maine.
2) Why have you chosen to dedicate yourself to this particular business/industry?
It was a way to continue doing something I loved and enjoyed. I am an artist and I make one-of-a-kind jewelry and wearable art. I noticed a lack of metal clay jewelry being marketed in my area and since I couldn’t justify making and keeping more for myself and people were interested in buying I decided to sell my work and the business just kind of grew from that.
3) What makes business/product unique?
It is one-of-a-kind. No two pieces are exactly alike. I make all my molds and texture plates. Everything is original and made by me from start to finish. I market mostly locally (in Maine) so I belong to the state’s “Made In Maine” program, which is a big plus in the marketplace. Local buyers want locally made and tourists (a big industry in this state) want Maine-made products.
4) You could have worked for anyone and would have been successful, why become an entrepreneur?
I’m not really a “team player.” My training as an artist prepared me more for an individual career than a team-based career. I like being my own boss. I’m a bit of a control freak so all the responsibilities are mine — and all the mistakes and failures as well. I’m small enough that things are still fun and I want to keep it that way for right now. (I do have a “regular” nine-to-five job so I know what that’s like. It pays the bills, but my artwork and jewelry are my soul-work.)
5) What was your last, “why did I go into business for myself” moment?
Ha! Probably when I had to load up from a show and my car was all the way across the parking lot and it was raining! Seriously though, I rarely think that. I know what’s involved with doing shows and that’s something you accept and deal with or you don’t do shows! Same thing with galleries rejecting or accepting your work — fact of life in the art/craft world — you just roll with it!
6) Every female professional should have __________.
Confidence in yourself, a sense of humor and the ability to be flexible and roll with the punches.
7) If you could steal some business mojo from another mogul, who would it be and why?
Well, if it was another artist I probably wouldn’t have to steal any business mojo — I think artists are pretty good about sharing stuff like where you got your business cards printed or where you got your booth made — the technical business stuff. I don’t think I would steal anything anyway — not my style. If I had boodles of money — not likely in my business — I would give to charity or set up a charitable foundation like the Gates or Warren Buffett. I admire those who have, can, and do give back to the community and do good for others in the world. I would like to be able to do that!
8) What is your business motto?
I don’t really have one, but if I did it would be something like: make good, affordable art that people will enjoy having and wearing. Keep trying new things and keep learning. And have fun doing it!
9) If you could give other entrepreneurs three tips, what would they be?
1. Don’t be afraid to try, failure now and then isn’t going to kill you. 2. Make it a learning process. 3. Have some sort of idea/plan before you start—maybe take some classes—many places have business development classes that can be very helpful; also see [my answers to] #6.
10) Has there been a piece of technology or software that has been a lifesaver to you?
Yes! The Square! That little bit of technology is the best thing to come along for small businesses. It allows me to take charge cards without huge bank fees and hassles. I would not be able to afford a traditional charge card setup.
11) What is your goal for the next year?
I want to add at least one new design to my line. And I want to get my work “out there” a bit more — expand my market. I am cautious about growth as I have other responsibilities (elderly parent that lives with me, etc.) so I don’t want to stretch myself too thin; slow and steady is the way I’m going right now. I have no interest in selling wholesale — it’s that control-freak thing. But most of all I want to be happy with what I do!
12) When someone is telling their friend about your business, what do you hope they say?
“Her work really speaks to me.” “Love her designs and own several of her pieces.” (People really do this – it makes me feel good and validates my work. Word of mouth is the best advertisement! I have had galleries in other states contact me because one of their patrons told them about me!)