|Story by jolinne, marymary |
Published on October 5, 2010 in Spotlight
Meytal Ron has been creative for as long as she can remember. While she used her creative skills in the corporate 3D design world and gained expertise in business, Meytal dreamed of taking on an even more artistic occupation. After setting up shop on Etsy, she's now newly engaged and running two successful print shops, Jolinne and Honeyboo — a longtime dream she was able to fulfill with planning, saving, and a little ambition. Find out why Meytal is enjoying every single moment of her new career path and has no regrets in today's interview.
How did you originally get into design, illustration and painting?
Well, my parents tell me that since I was born I had a paintbrush in my hand. I guess it is something deep inside of me; I've loved drawing, painting and illustrating as long as I can remember. Sometimes I feel that "Jolinne" is the child in me: I can see myself through her, the colors I use represent my feelings as a child and the things she does are things I did or imagined as a little girl.
Tell us about your previous working situation.
My professional career began as a designer for a high-tech company. I was a 3-dimensional graphic designer and built 3D virtual cities. Through the years I have changed companies and positions, gaining more knowledge and skills in digital graphic programs and designs along the way. It was an experience which helped me with my digital art skills that I am still using today.
In parallel I started inventing some art designs, and that’s how I came to create ‘Jolinne.’ Art was always inside of me. Even when I had to build 3D buildings, vehicles and other “engineering” things at my previous jobs, I always kept painting and drawing in my free time. As the years passed, I was getting to a point in my life when I had saved enough money to take my chances as an independent artist, but I didn’t have any clue on how to do it! Thinking about it, it is quite scary to leave a secure payroll and to start swimming on your own with no guarantee whatsoever!
What brought you to Etsy?
The story begins about a year and a half ago, as I was traveling in New York. My boyfriend and I were going to meet a friend and his wife for a drink. At first the friend's wife didn’t want to meet us, but somehow changed her mind and decided to join in the last minute (and I’m so glad she did!). Meeting us for the first time, she was interested in what we do for a living and I told her about my job and my wishful thinking on making a living from my art.
She became interested with my art and, after I showed her some of my work, she was filled with enthusiasm, telling me I could display and sell it on websites. I had no knowledge in that area, so she was kind enough to email me with a list of potential worldwide handmade websites — and one of them was Etsy. When I first saw Etsy I was enchanted with the huge amount of beautiful items, and amazed that it was all handmade!
I had been planning on quitting my day job for a while, but it was very calculated and I made the leap only when I felt prepared. I got both of my shops in order and familiarized myself with suppliers, shipping materials, post office regulations, etc. I bought the best home printer I could afford, located high quality papers, and found a super-professional place to print my images on canvas. I did everything I could to be prepared for quitting my job and becoming independent. A year and a half later, I my wish came true. I quit my day job to be a full-time artist who lives her dream every single day.
What have been your most successful forms of promotion?
I am constantly reading and learning how to improve my Etsy shops. There’s always something new to learn.
- I am dedicated to understanding SEO, I think it’s very important and I sure haven’t covered that area yet!
- I use Twitter for both shops, Facebook, and a newsletter for “Jolinne” to get to know my customers, keep in touch with them and offer special deals.
- Best marketing tip: List new items, re-list and renew.
- Never stop reading and learning. There is a huge amount of useful information on the web. The Etsy Forums are also a great place to learn and share!
Do you have any business mistakes or regrets thus far?
I believe everything in life happens for a reason. It’s all about trying, learning and believing everything happens for the best. Even the mistakes we make lead us to a better experience. I haven’t invested a huge amount of money in promoting my work so far, so I was able to lead people to my art without any major expenses.
Walk us through a day in the life of Jolinne.
- I usually wake up around 7 a.m., sit on the porch and enjoy 15 minutes of early morning air and my bowl of cereal.
- I then get dressed, turn on the radio and my computer and begin my work day by communicating with my customers, answering convos, replying to emails, checking the Etsy Forums and blog, commenting on Facebook and renewing 1-2 items from my shops.
- After I finish wrapping and packing new orders and getting them ready to ship, I go over my endless list of things to do and decide what to do first.
- I spend the next few hours implementing that check list, working on my design projects, and reading important things I’ve bookmarked that can help me market and grow my business, all the while constantly checking for new email — a habit I must get rid of!
- Lunch and then my walk to the post office.
- Only a few more hours until my work day is over and my boyfriend — actually fiancée as of a week ago — returns home from work. We then spend our evening together, eat dinner, talk, maybe go the gym, and watch TV. In our time together I try to stay away from my computer and only renew a few items and check for new convos and emails before we go to bed.
What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Anything you miss?
For now I am enjoying every single moment. I love being at home and doing what I love. I have more time for myself (all neglected friends and family members, I will make it up to you), love the fact that I am my own boss, and have the ability to shape my business and lead it on my own terms. I enjoy my walks in the sun to the post office and being able to control the air conditioning at home (no more freezing workplaces and sweaters in the middle of the summer!). I can go on and on, because there really are countless little things I enjoy now that I didn’t before. To sum up, I am feeling free and grateful and that’s the most enjoyable feeling!
What's the hardest part about running your own business?
I think the most difficult thing is marketing and knowing where and how to promote yourself to the right audience. I would like to have my art presented directly to those who would appreciate it. There are so many tools and ways to do it today that it can get really confusing and time consuming.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself or someone considering a similar path?
If I went back in time, I'd tell myself to have a business plan. Know and learn your target market. Be organized from the beginning with all finance stuff. If it’s in your heart and soul, do everything you can (legally, of course) to make your dream come true. Be prepared to work really hard, but enjoy every moment. Believe in yourself and never stop learning new things.
What can we expect to see in Jolinne's future?
Jolinne (and now also Jovani — Jolinne's’ new boyfriend) are my way to express my inner self to the world and bring some love and happiness to children thorough my colorful, amusing and whimsical designs. My new shop, Honeyboo, is the other side of me, which I’m expressing mainly through colors and positive thinking. It is designed to make people smile and feel optimistic. I would like to continue to grow and expand my business, influencing more and more people with my art along the way. The rest is still unwritten, and every day brings new and exciting opportunities.
Have any favorite Etsy shops we should know about?
- hjmart - I love her colorful designs.
- norakaren - Beautiful and artistic designs.
- guylatulippe - I like his creative mind.
- onenonly88 - Cute and yummy.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would like to share with you some things I am so grateful for.
- First I am thankful to Etsy — the founder, Rob Kalin, and all of the staff for making such a wonderful site. It’s a worldwide stage built to allow any artistic soul a chance to present itself. Thank you for being so attentive to us sellers and buyers.
- I am also thankful to my family and friends for their constant support, love, and help. I am truly blessed to have each one of you in my life.
- And a special big thank you and a strong hug goes to all of you who buy, give feedback or smile when they look at my art. Thank you for making my heart smile and my dream come true.
Thanks to Meytal for sharing her story. You can see some of her work in the Seller's Items below.