Setting Goals with Alexa Allamano
I am definitely grateful that alexa is here with us. So this is a high. How are you? A little flustered. A little flustered. So I heard that you can't see us, but we can see you. No. Okay, so if you start to do anything really embarrassing and you forget that you're doing it because you can't see us, I will let you know. Well, he's. A code word of stop it's a good way. Okay, so thanks for joining us today as it raining in seattle. Um, yes, yes, it is. Okay. Okay, good. So we have been working through aa aa lot of our content for a starting angeleri business and that's, why you're here. And I have used your photos as examples throughout the presentation so people can be a little familiar with your work. And I also asked everybody to go over to foamy waiter to check out what you're doing. And we've also asked them to send in questions, but I think we're going to start with sort of an obvious question, which is how did you choose your business name? It was actually like a nickname. When I...
was fresh out of high school, I went to a fountain that had been overflowing with soap suds. And when waiting late at night with some girlfriends and picked up the moniker of foamy waiter and then when I started making it just sort of made sense because we're all kind of nautical, beachy, airy and just, you know, like fake it till you make it it just worked so that's pretty interesting because somebody had a question earlier today, which was they haven't yet chosen their business name, and they don't have, like a resellers license or wholesale account like any information to share with wholesale suppliers, and they were wondering if they should just try tio jump into business anyway, like, can they work with wholesalers? Do you think without having a re so license? And do you think that websites like at sea make make getting supplies and bulk a lot easier to find source materials before you can really go pro one hundred percent? Oh, absolutely there's definitely wholesale suppliers on, etc, so if you're not ready to commit to a business name or get a trade license, then you can there's other ways to buy wholesale so you could still get that bulk pricing without doing all the paperwork, and I mean, it worked out for me the kind of happenstance it worked a lot of people just use their own names for their jewellery business because you're the artist, you represent your company and you can get registered that way if you're not if you don't want to have a trade name and then later register a trade name well I think that's interesting that you would bring that up because I recently learned from you that allah mono which is your last name actually means by hand in italian that is actually my llc is my last name al amano creations but then my trade name is filming waiter yeah, so and that's what I was saying as well my llc is chicks an ink but my trade name is carried shape in but so I cannot believe that your last name literally means by hands like that is so funny. You know, my grandfather was a carpenter and then my uncle was also a carpenter. My father had a motorcycle repair business, so we all were we work with their hands. Yeah that's amazing. So we also have some other great questions to which were do you? Where do you recommend when people want a source their supplies? Is there an area or resource that you can think of where people could go if they really wanted to source green supplies or they really we're trying to figure out how much metal to buy in the beginning of their business? Can you give us any recommendations on how to educate ourselves on those those kinds of topics without sharing your specific trade secrets, but just how does somebody go about building their own? Um, their own, you know, trained, secret drawer and their secret filing cabinet? Rio grande dot com rio grande, a dot com is one of the largest metal suppliers, so if you're looking specifically for certified recycled medals, they're great because they actually do all of the scrap recycling themselves so you can send in scrap metal to them and though smelter it down and we use the material so you can get certified recycled medals there and that's a really great starting point and they have just a breath of material. So you khun, familiarize yourself with different, you know, types of chains engages and they're a great jumping off point. I also I like the international gem and jewellery show their websites energon dot com, which is a traveling trade show so you can go and actually hands on touch materials and familiarize yourself with those and price match between vendors and a lot of the times there they're they're trying to find you the buyer to resell to you in between the trade show, right? So what? What stage in your business do you think that somebody would need to be in before they tried to take advantage of resource is like that when somebody is just starting out like, how long did it get? Helen didn't take you to get to the point where you are really interested in that side of business beyond just making jewelry and starting from you later. What was your timeline like? I was always a like a magpies obsessed with gems from very early age. My maternal grandfather usedto facet gems as a hobby. He had parkinson's and use that to sort of control muscle, tremor ring, and I was just fascinated watching him do that from, like I was photos from when I was like for just watching him do that. Um, so I wanted to get into gems as quickly as I could and really have to listen to yourself to follow whatever timeline feels right for you. I can't give you an answer, ok? That's. Very interesting. So you've been in business for about five years as foamy waiter, right started in the end of two thousand seven. So full time first, just about six years full time for just about six years. And you actually started this business because you found yourself unemployed unexpectedly, right? And you had some extra time on your hands. And look at you now. Yeah, what was that like? So you had a different incentive to just get started, but that's something that we've talked about a little bit today, which is how do you make yourself do that kind of work that you, you know, lead you to somewhere else where you want to go, but there's a lot of it that scary and hard, like self promotion and things like that you had two different incentive. You you simply had no job and you needed to create something. And so you did and you created a thriving business. What what would you say to yourself? Just getting started. Like what would be the first thing that you would d'oh? Um, like what happens to me I can call getting fired and then getting fired up because I moved around for a couple of months of low what was me I can't find a job. I actually applied to be a meter maid for awhile, which that would have been just a horrible life choice but it is a consistent joke and my circle of friends and you have made your name to rita, but I would have kicked myself in the pants a few months sooner give get off the couch already doing something you like keep doing that because I spent enough time making and curating my etc shop in trying new things, but just a fraction of the time I could have spent doing that I spent plenty of time just what am I going to dio stressing about where life was going was taking me and what I should do rather than just do the hands on making and feel the satisfaction and no that's what I need follow I know that customer service is a really big, important part of your business and why a new tribute you your customer service approach and outlook tio big reason is of why you're so successful can you share a little bit a bit with us about how you interact with your customers to make that true for you? Um, I mean, my whole professional outside of this career has my whole professional life has been some kind of customer service even like child care is still your customers a child keeping them satisfied so really prompt response is there a lansing answering questions giving us much information as you can if you could give measurements and each in the metric system and inches so that if there's any question you've already answered up front or if they come to you with one you are give them as much information as you possibly can ask him questions and treat it like you would want to be treated because you don't want to come to a place and have somebody be like yeah, by the thing what do you want for me you want them to like I am so glad you're shopping with me and how can I make you happy and health and I make you thrilled to have this object and want to come back or share with someone else good answer so I know that online for a long time you've primarily sold on etc a czar online shop and so excuse me we directed people to phone me waiter and when you go there just kind of pops you into your etc store have you how did you did you spend time worrying about how to stand out in such a crowded marketplace or did you think that it was more important to develop your relationship with your potential customers outside of that see and this direct in there to buy or was there ever a point where you depended on your online store driving business to your shop or do you think you've been successful because you sort of do it the other way round the first in two thousand nine was like the first year I was really full time and relying on people finding me on etc and he was very different at the time was not not the same size and not the same competition so I had a fair amount of success doing that but I saw a really take off when I would go to craft fairs and in person events and have people follow up with me shopping later online on etsy favorite ing, sharing it with their friends so it was really the first year was slow going because it was just my first year really doing it. But if you reach such a wider audience when you go to a place where there's people that are interested in handmade in crafts and they have the ability to follow you after that's really interesting are there because their their questions from the chat room that we can ask, yes, we're getting great questions from ongoing. For alexa, this came from a viewer who saying, how do you schedule your time elector in terms of making versus business versus research work, I work constantly, and my husband can attest to that I was I was up at three thirty this morning because I ran out of time last night and had taken up, um, so scheduling is is still a struggle for me. I've been doing this for nearly seven years and it's still finding the timeto find a work life balance and do research, but I probably spend about six hours of time every day filling orders and answering emails and customer service, doing any kind of research on new materials, new suppliers and then probably another four hours doing any kind of back in business taxes and follow up planning travel and then uh what's that ten hours um so whatever the ex the extra two to six hours that I work is spent some player another tends to be more making during the holidays tends to be more business stuff in the slow season you find it are you are you ever surprised by the amount of time you actually spend making versus the other portions of your business now that you've been in business for a while but when you started did you think he would be mostly making are designing and like a little bit of back and stuff and then have you found that to be sort of reversed where there's so much back and stuff and not as much making as you originally thought you would be doing it's so to a certain extent I had some experience with how businesses are run when I worked in banking and I saw that firsthand but there's still a sort of a major shock of how much paperwork in research and booking and show applications and photography okay, that adds up that sell time. Listen here alexa from diego kobe I think it is is saying how many pieces do you stock of each item? Andi, are you always trying to keep ahead off of your customers? I mean, do you keep a large stock or do you try to to make pieces as they're ordered I have maybe twenty percent are made to order pieces because they're all custom so I can't really talk them in advance but I'll do what I can tow like you know cut cut the chain toe length and then I have to stamp a pendant or filing down pieces that will be hammered into something else later but normal quantities I'll keep on hand very by the popularity of peace but there's some things I have you know one or two because it's a newer thing and I'm sort of seeing how people like it and or upto you know, five or ten if it seems like people are kind of responding this but not as frequently as other things and other quantities their cell really quickly that I sell wholesale I'll keep you know fifty, seventy one hundred just because there could be an account that orders thirty of them and I don't want to be completely backed out when I have a bunch of shows lined up so they really depends on the popular your product and you don't have to keep a set number of absolutely everything across the board because not everything is going to sell at the same rate and what is that like when you travel to do a show so I think I mentioned earlier that alexa used to do thirty shows a year so she was a go from like seattle the london back to like all over this all over the world selling your work and setting up show setting up booths that shows it's the stock that you take to a show different than what you would say have on hand when you're just depending on mostly online sales their wholesale sales because there's a lot of things that float around in the craft community about take ten times the amount of the show so if it cost you you know one hundred dollars you need to come in with this amount based on these like number formulas or is it really how do you determine that for me if since jewelry is so small it packs into a small you know carry on size suitcase I take it all with me because I like to be able to do customizing on the spot so somebody wants a necklace with a different pendant that I could switch dependent out and then they walk away happy and its customer service to do it that way um there's some restrictions when I went to london thank you said I had to have a very limited amount of worry their customs parents of which was a challenge for me but for the most part I take is as much inventory as I have at the time all evil you know a small set of stuff at my my flagship brick and mortar and then if it sells out over the weekend all just restocking when I get home what's the one thing that you've done a look so that you think really has helped your business to thrive and grow because they're one sort of habit or idea or concept that people could try to embrace or even purchase if it's like a supply or a tool or something they could practice to get a trajectory that similar to yours what really like made you rather than broke you that doesn't right when you say it like that um coming up with something that could be customized has just completely changed my business. I would have you right there to say that you make these little necklaces that air like a little bar of metal that's one yeah that you stamp anything people want onto it. So for example, my good friend he's also your good friend rosalie where's when that says potato because she loves potatoes a lot and she has a little necklace that says it but from a distance it's like so delicate and sparkly looking that you know you imagine it's just not going to have a word on it it all or by the time you get to it but it's going to say something else but it just says potato so the fact that she could get that made for herself by someone like you is it's really incredible and that's that customization must really bring all the customers to your yard? Yes, that that was specifically it's that I called the custom tiny name necklace because the letters air under two millimeter. So it really is a tiny name. Our phrase. I've had people ask for profanity or a mantra or whatever, I'm open to whatever you want. I'm not offended by that. Um, that specifically just completely changed how it went about business. And I the six hours that I spend on a daily basis making things I have to make those as they come in, because I have no idea what people are gonna want. What names air popular. What phrasing or anything like that. So I can make you know, the chains in advance, and I can make the bars. I can forge the bars, but I have to samp each one as the orders come in. So that's, where a lot of my time goes, especially right now. Yeah, and that's, something that we talked about a little bit, eh? So people know that with when if they purchased the program that they get a special podcast between me and you for an hour. And we really went in deep about matching your work. Like what are some ways that jeweller's khun specifically batch their work to make things go a little faster, and how you got your your wholesale clients versus your retail clients like a lot of different things like that are disgusting that but customization of the necklaces we didn't talk about that and I think that that is really really such a great advice and that allows you to really bring your own unique ideas to your product as well and then added somebody else's ideas which is always popular so one of the things that I asked another another guest that's going to be in another show is if you could go back in time like what would you say to begin our business alexa like what would you say to yourself if you had to go back in time and could give yourself a pep talk? What would that pep talk me if you would we're like three weeks out from losing your job and you were feeling flat broke and you just weren't sure how any of this was going to work and you just had no ideas but you weren't cory fired up yet but you were still fired what would you say to yourself? Um I have a little of a laura burger print that says things were going to work out at any time I'm in the middle of a freak out I'll look at it or my husband will tap on it like things are gonna work out it's going to be okay and teo just listen to what actually makes you happy because living to just make money and pay bills and in way that makes you miserable isn't really living. So do what makes you happy and money will find a way to you somehow. Would you have it any other way? Now, even though owning a business is a lot of work and really hard, would you would you ever go back in? They know I'm just going to keep pursuing the want ads at the banks until I get another being king job. No way I won't workaholic I love it. You love it. Good. Well, I'm so glad that your business exists and I'm really grateful that you've been here today. Thank you. You're welcome, thanks so much. And thanks for thanks for the tip sheet that you included with the faster action guide so in that alexa talks about her top pieces of equipment, the top books that she's read that made an impact on her business when she first started her top web sites and online resource is which you have a really interesting one here in measurements, which I found to me really fascinating. So I spent some time there the other day and what you consider to be the top websites to promoter, sell your work online or social media sites. That you've had the most success with and then I loved all your answers. For one thing, I asked each expert was, what tools should you just not scrimp on from the beginning? Because we're always looking especially, we have this big impression that we need to, like boot strap in pinch our pennies every step of the way, but some things you should just do right from the start and I think the story that you shared with me about your hands being your most important tool, but the only thing you can't replace it was really important. So I really like all of the things that you recommend were scrimping and saving doesn't pay off and in the guide, elects also talks about her branding and her photography, and you give advice from someone has limited funds? Where should they put that into website branding, booth or equipment? And I think that that was amazing. Thank you so much for all the support that you've lent all of us and all the people online who are watching, and I'm grateful that you took the time away from foamy waiter to be a part of our creative live today, thanks for having me could look, everybody thinks.