Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I am Angela, 24 years old architecture student from Skopje. Apart from handcrafts I enjoy doing digital illustrations, photography and I love traveling. I get the inspiration for some of my work from literature, European folklore and nature.
Why are you in business?
Being in business enables me to show my art to the world and earn the funding for other future projects.
Why are in this type of business?
I’ve had passion for handcraft since high school and I decided that I wish to share it with others and make the world a more colourful place. It is a demanding job but also a great pleasure for me.
What is your background?
Currently I study architecture and also do some freelance graphic design projects. These experiences have a profound impact on my designs and working process.
Can you provide me with a description of your business?
My brand is called Firefly Crafts. It currently offers two types of products: epoxy resin jewellery and knitted cotton apparel and accessories. The name Firefly was derived from the little insects that shine light in the night and so the products are meant to look bold and stand out but also carry a sense of mystique and elegance. To that end I tend to use strong contrasting colours and the designs are greatly inspired by nature and astronomy.
How long have you been in business? In this business? In other businesses?
The brand is one year old; I’ve previously worked on handmade products for 6-7 years for my own pleasure.
What type of business form do you have, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation?
I’m an individual artist and do this mostly as a hobby.
What are the advantages of this form of business ownership?
The biggest advantage is the freedom of creativity. When you work for yourself you have the opportunity to design things that reflect your personality and your worldview.
How did you get started in this business?
I’ve been making jewellery for several years and I learned knitting mostly with the intent to use it as a stress relief from everyday tasks, but later it grew into a passion. In 2018 I was contacted by the people that organise the festival Sinestetika and was asked to participate on their first edition and that’s what drove me to start the brand and make my products public.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
Lots of experimentation and also a short workshop organised by Windmill Workshop, where I learned the basics about working with epoxy. Regarding knitting I’m largely self-taught.
Do you know who your competitors are?
Personally I don’t believe in competition as much as collaboration. I enjoy exchanging experiences and ideas with other individual artists and in my opinion there’s a lot we can learn from each other. Moreover, mutual cooperation and promotion can help us expand our businesses and get the beauty of handcrafted art to be seen by the general public. In a way collaboration is helpful to the marketing of all the brands involved, and people that appreciate handmade products tend to buy from several different artists.
How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?
I’m active on Facebook and Instagram. Participation on bazaars is also very good for marketing because the audience gets to see the products first hand and learn more about the business. Also satisfied customers spread the word about it so it’s constantly growing.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
Soon the shop will be offering a new type of products – digital illustration prints on various everyday items. In the future I hope to open a small atelier – shop.
Do you plan to compete in the global market place? If yes, how? If no, why not?
Currently the business is focused on the Macedonian market but in the future it would be nice to expand worldwide.
How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
Regarding marketing social media is extremely helpful for most types of businesses including the arts and handcrafts.
Whom do you seek advice from for your business?
Conversations and idea exchange with other artists who are in the same business are extremely helpful because we deal with the same issues and understand them best. My parents have been very supportive with starting the business, marketing and with business advice.
What do you do with your profits?
I reinvest most of the profits for materials and marketing in order to expand the business and create more elaborate new designs.
Can you describe your customers?
To my delight my designs attract people from all age groups though mostly young adults. I’ve also had customers who buy pieces of jewellery for their children. Most customers are people who have a deep reverence for design, art and handcrafted products and follow the design scene.
Are there any ethical concerns that your type of business must deal with?
One thing that I hugely dislike is reproduction of other people’s work. That is something I would never agree to.