This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker interview series, we’re getting to know Ievgeniia Zlotar of Moondome Jewelry, a Ukranian designer who resides in Livingston, Scotland and creates the most stunning line of jewelry and accessories using raw gemstones and wire. Welcome, Ievgeniia!
LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?
Ievgeniia: There was a long, long road to where I am now, but through my life, I knew three main things: I like to study, I like to be at home, and I like to live in my own rhythm – to choose when to work, and when to spend time with my family and kids. So the idea to start my business came naturally, especially after my kids were born – I wanted to stay with them at home as long as they will need me. At the same time, I was struggling to find my own personality after having been just a mum – to be somebody beyond the daily routines.
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Ievgeniia: I had no clear vision of what my business should be. In the first stage, I was making a lots of different types of crafts – from pencil rolls to crocheted jewelry. It was just a crazy random mix that you could hardly imagine were made by the same person. One day, I saw a pretty wire-wrapped copper hairpin with green gemstones, and it changed my world. Ever since my childhood, I’d wanted to create something just as beautiful, natural, and long-lasting.
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Ievgeniia: I know that I should say I am making one-of-a-kind, bespoke and custom jewelry, but there is a much more meaning, story and magic behind each of my pieces. I want to remind people through my jewelry that they are beautiful. Nature created this amazing universe we are living in; there is no artist greater than Nature, and we are all her masterpieces. Just look at gemstones – they are beautiful even when rough and uncut; so unique, and all full of charm and mystery. I have never met a person who hates gemstones and crystals. So I want to encourage people to stay true and love themselves as they are, and live their own lives. (But if you ask my kids, they will simply answer that mammy is making crowns!)
LBC: Where can we find your products?
Ievgeniia: I started with offline sales – mostly craft markets – but now I am starting to expand online. I have my Etsy shop, and my new sparkling website is now under construction. I also have an exclusive stockist in Moscow.
LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.
Ievgeniia: Usually I begin my day with some yoga. I am not a morning person, so it is important for me to have a nice start without immediately multitasking and and pushing myself to do something that might be effective, but is so boring. All of my necessary tasks get done at noon, when I am most focused and full of life. Then I reward myself with some creative time – doing custom orders or creating new designs. In the evenings, I try to spend time with family – have a nice walk before dinner, play with wee ones, and chat to my friends. It sounds good in theory, but what often happens is that I am still replying to emails while walking, or posting on Instagram while cooking. But I think it is normal to be this way when you are a working mum and one-man-orchestra. Be brave, my creative pals – we will get there!
LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
Ievgeniia: First, make sure you really love what you are doing. It will be your job every day, so don’t start something you will tire after awhile.
Second, do not pretend to be somebody who you are really not. You will find your tribe only if you stay true to yourself, and once you find it – you will enjoy your business more and more with every day, rather being in constant stress trying to keep your face on.
Third: Take your marketing strategy seriously from the first day – or even better, before your first day.
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
Ievgeniia: Cleaning and organizing my stock of gemstones and supplies. I it also helps to put my wellies on to have a nice, long walk through the beautiful Scottish woods. As Zen wisdom says, you should spent 20 minutes with nature every day – unless you are busy, and then you need to spend an hour outdoors. I never make my jewelry in a bad mood or as a way to escape from stress, because I believe that I will pass those negative vibes to my creations; and because I know myself, it will never be a piece I am proud of.
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.
Ievgeniia: My best ever decision was that I recently performed an entire re-brand. I finally understood what I want to be my business like, and I knew whom I wanted my creations to speak to. The other great decision was to focus on Instagram as a potential marketplace. Instagram brings me a lots of inspiration, makes me closer with my customers, is easy to use on the go, and I can speak to my followers through the only existing universal language that every seeing person on this planet understands: visual storytelling.
LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?
Ievgeniia: I could write the encyclopedia on mistakes when launching a creative business! For example, I never studied marketing, and thought that my creations would speak for me. I thought there was no need to have a consistent style, or to communicate your work through social media. Marketing is the magical tool that helps creative minds to tell their story behind their work. It translates the language of forms and colors into emotions and impressions. I learned my lesson, so now I am studying a lot about how to craft a business through marketing, and I am really enjoying it.
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?
Ievgeniia: 1) Dropbox – I use it everyday to have all my recent photos on hand.
2) Google apps – They keep all my documents organized so have access to them from all my devices.
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Ievgeniia: I’m hopeful that my business will grow, and that I manage to earn enough to make living from it. I also hope to see my items selling through a couple of cult brand stores. But the biggest dream is to launch my own brick and mortar shop, with a creative space for local designers where we could share and help each other through.
LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Ievgeniia: Merengue with whipped cream and fruits.
LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…
Ievgeniia: Indian music and good old rock ballads.
LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?
Ievgeniia: I would donate to a charity that supports single mums starting their business.
Thank you, Ievgeniia, for sharing your talent with us! We absolutely love what you’re doing and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Moondome Jewelry. We’re cheering you on…
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!