Let’s get to know the Precious Elements!

Can you think of anything more stunning than carefully arranged details that make you think of spring and playfulness and Wonderland, all at the same time?
We had a virtual sit-down with Ecaterina and she told us all about how she started transforming her creative dream into reality by creating elaborate decorations that can beautify any home and any special occasion. The key, she said, is to love what you do and that passion will shine through in the products as well.
Let’s read her story and let’s take a look at her Precious Elements that are truly breathtaking!
See all of her beautiful handmade chic creations on her website, here: http://www.precious-elements.ro/

What is the story behind your store?
The Precious Elements store appeared at the beginning of last year as a result of a direction shift in my life: I have finally decided that, after almost 8 years since my first intention to launch a handmade business, to stop every other activity and fully dedicate myself to doing this.

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Why did you decide to start your own business?
Because “I had it in me” so to say…And my decision-making was also reinforced by the fact that I have attended a very good online business course (training) that has given me the necessary motivation and has convinced me that I can really make this happen.

What did you do before you started the shop?
Before I started this business I worked as the Consulting Manager in the Bruxelles office of a multinational company.

Are you doing it full time? If not, what else do you do?
I have worked at it full time for over a year ever since I started the business, but at the moment I share my time with a new challenge in the field of Management Consultants recruitment.

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How did you come up with this name?

Well…I spent some time thinking of what exactly could best define what I intended my products to be. I knew I wanted to make special products, that were more…precious. And I also knew I wanted to retain my freedom of creating all kinds of products: from greeting cards and gift accessories, to different home decorations, but also event items (weddings, christenings, kids’ parties). And since I couldn’t find a better word to express this type of product variety, I thought I should simply call them “elements”. And so I have arrived to the name of my store: Precious Elements.

Where do you find the necessary tools and material that you use for creating your products?
I usually find my tools from various sources: online arts&crafts shops from Romania and abroad, but also from local arts&hobby stores.

What inspires you to create your amazing products?
Most of the time I am inspired by one or more ideas i saw on the Internet and I adjust them to my own style and taste. I usually start working on a product having an idea in mind and as I work along I keep modifying it until I like it and I feel it defines me.

Do you have a favourite product at the moment?
Up until a couple of months ago my favourite product was the one I had worked on the most so far:

kedvenc termek
Afterwards I started working on a few decorative picture frames and shortly i became very “proud” of them. And indeed, all those frames were very successful, therefore they were all sold…But you can get an idea of what I’m talking about if you look at my Facebook page here:

What were the challenges you had to face in your business’ early phase?
Erm…there were quite a few. Starting with the basics like choosing the type of business I wanted to have, what legal form it needed to be, the picking of a headquarter and all the other “small things” that were necessary to be clarified before starting the actual business, to details related to branding (name, logo etc.), the online presence, the creation process (what to do first and how, what type of products I wanted to accomplish), finding and buying of tools and materials fit for the making of these products, the opening of an online store and uploading all the new products (the taking and editing of the product images, product descriptions, etc), the making of a website, etc. All these needed a big investment on my part- primarily time and energy- since I couldn’t let anyone else do these for me in the initial period… it was necessary to clarify to myself what I wanted to do and how I would do them. But I don’t regret anything, it was a beautiful bit and a huge “growth” for me both as a person and as an entrepreneur.

What has kept you motivated?
On the one hand, it was my desire to turn one of my old dreams to reality, on the other hand it was the determination to make things work and to make a mark of my own style on the business that I was starting.

If you could go back and change something about your business, what would it be?
The fact that I haven’t asked for specialized help earlier on regarding some aspects of my business- that would have made my personal efforts easier.

What were some of the mistakes you have made along the way?
One of the biggest mistakes is that I didn’t think too much about the acquisition of new materials and tools but instead I have very often made an impulse- purchase and I ended up with many things that I haven’t gotten to use yet. This means that I have a lot of money invested in things that aren’t yet being useful at this stage in my business.

Do you ever regret doing your own thing and starting your business?
No, not this one.

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What are your plans for the future?
In the future I wish to enlarge my team, involving people that would handle certain aspects of the business that are either not my strong points, or I don’t see myself doing them in the future.

Do you plan on introducing new products?
Yes, always. In the next period I will focus on event decorations (especially weddings and christenings). Let’s see where that’ll go! 🙂

What do you think of the service that Shoptsie offers and what is your general impression of Shoptsie?
I think these are professional and quality services and I am happy that I discovered this solution for my online store.

Would you recommend Shoptsie to others?
Yes, I already have and I keep on doing it.

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Any advice for entrepreneurs that are starting out just now?
When you evaluate the starting of an own business, especially think about what you would love to do and don’t think about what would “bring in money” according to various suggestions coming from the outside. A business takes a lot of work and if you don’t do it with joy and with motivation/determination that stems from within yourselves, then there is high chance of failure even before the business stood a real chance of rising.

This interview is originally in Romanian and has been translated by Mathe Biborka.
You can read the original interview here:

Care e povestea magazinului tău?
“Magazinul Precious Elements a aparut pe la inceputul anului trecut, ca urmare a unei schimbari de directie in viata mea: am hotarat ca, in sfarsit, dupa aproape 8 ani de cand am avut prima intentie de a ma lansa intr-o afacere cu decoratiuni handmade, sa pun pe pauza toate celelalte proiecte pentru a ma dedica total acestuia.”

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De ce te-ai decis să faci propria afacere?
“Pentru ca “I had it in me”, ca sa zic asa… Si m-a ajutat foarte mult in luarea acestei decizii si faptul ca am urmat un foarte bun program (training) online de business, care mi-a oferit atat motivatia necesara, cat si constiinta faptului ca pot face cu adevarat acest lucru.”

Cu ce te-ai ocupat înainte să ai magazin online?
“Inainte de a-mi deschide aceasta afacere am lucrat ca si Management Consultant la sediul din Bruxelles al unei companii multinationale. “

Lucrezi full time? Dacă nu, cu ce altceva te mai ocupi?
“Am lucrat full time pentru o perioada de mai bine de 1 an de la inceputul afacerii, dar in prezent imi impart timpul cu o noua provocare pe care am acceptat-o in domeniul recruitment-ului de Management Consultants.”

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De unde vine numele magazinului tău?
“Pai… am stat ceva vreme sa ma gandesc cum anume as putea defini mai bine ceea ce voiam sa fie produsele mele. Stiam ca vreau sa realizez niste produse mai deosebite, mai…pretioase. Si mai stiam si ca voiam sa imi pastrez libertatea de a crea tot felul de astfel de produse: de la felicitari si alte articole pentru cadouri, pana la diverse decoratiuni pentru casa, si chiar si articole pentru evenimente (nunti, botezuri, petreceri copii). Si cum n-am gasit un mai bun cuvant pentru a exprima aceasta varietate de tipuri de produse, m-am gandit la un moment dat sa le numesc pur si simplu “elemente”. Si iata ca asa am ajuns la numele magazinului: Precious Elements.”

Unde găsești materialele și instrumentele necesare creării produselor tale?
“De obicei ma aprovizionez din mai multe surse: de la magazine online de arts&crafts din Romania si din strainatate, dar si din magazine locale cu produse arts&hobby.”

Ce te inspiră în crearea minunatelor tale produse?
“De cele mai multe ori, una sau mai multe idei pe care le-am vazut pe internet si care ma inspira sa le pun in practica, adaptate stilului meu propriu. Si de obicei se intampla sa incep sa lucrez la un produs avand o anume idee in minte, pentru ca pe parcurs sa o tot modific si s-o rafinez pana cand ajunge sa-mi placa rezultatul si sa simt ca ma defineste.”

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Ai un produs favorit în clipa de față?
“Pana in urma cu cateva luni, produsul meu favorit era unul la care am lucrat si cel mai mult de pana acum: http://www.shoptsie.com/precious-elements/product/23243-tablou-3d-quot-spring-burst-quot/
Dar apoi am inceput lucrul la cateva rame foto decorative de care, in scurt timp, am devenit foarte “mandra”. Si intr-adevar, toate acele rame foto au avut mare succes, drept urmare nu mai am nici una pe stoc in prezent… Dar puteti sa va faceti o idee despre ce vorbesc aruncand o privire pe pagina de FB: “


Care erau dificultățile și provocările cu care te-ai confruntat cînd ai început afacerea ta?
“Hmmm… n-au fost putine. Incepand cu chestiunile de baza cum ar fi ce gen de afacere vreau sa fie, ce forma juridica sa aiba, cum sa rezolv cu sediul si tot felul de alte “maruntisuri” necesare de clarificat inca dinainte de inceperea propriu-zisa a afacerii, pana la detalii legate de branding (nume, logo etc.), prezenta online, procesul de creatie (cum si cu ce sa incep mai intai, ce fel de produse vreau sa realizez), gasirea si achizitionarea materialelor si instrumentelor potrivite pentru realizarea produselor, deschiderea unui magazin online si tot ce tine de adaugarea de noi produse in el (realizarea si editarea pozelor de produs, descrierea produselor etc.), realizarea unui website, etc. Toate acestea au necesitat o mare investitie din partea me – in primul rand de timp si energie – pentru faptul ca nu puteam sa le deleg nimanui in aceasta prima faza… era necesar sa imi clarific eu insami ceea ce vreau si cum vreau sa fie. Dar nu regret nimic, a fost o parte foarte frumoasa, si o mare “crestere” pentru mine ca persoana si ca antreprenor. “

Ce te-a motivat?
“Pe de o parte dorinta de a-mi transforma un vis mai vechi in realitate, iar pe de alta parte determinarea de a face lucrurile sa mearga si de a reusi sa-mi imprim stilul propriu in afacerea pe care o demaram.”

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Dacă te-ai putea întoarce în timp și ai putea schimba ceva la afacerea ta, care ar fi acel lucru?
“Faptul ca n-am cerut mai devreme ajutor specializat pentru anumite aspecte din afacerea mea – ceea ce mi-ar fi usurat mult mai mult eforturile personale.”

Ce greșeli ai făcut pe parcurs?
“Una dintre cele mai mari greseli este aceea ca nu am fost prea cumpatata in ceea ce priveste achizitia de noi materiale si instrumente, ci de multe ori am actionat pe baza de impuls, achizitionand foarte multe lucruri pe care inca n-am ajuns sa le folosesc. Asta face ca si acum sa am o gramada de bani “imobilizati” in lucruri care inca nu-mi sunt de folos in aceasta etapa a afacerii mele.”

Ai regretat vreodată că ai început afacerea ta?
“Nu, asta nu. “

Care sunt planurile tale de viitor?
“Pe viitor imi doresc sa imi largesc echipa, cooptand persoane care sa se ocupe de anumite aspecte ale afacerii care fie nu sunt punctele mele forte, fie nu ma vad facandu-le si pe viitor.”

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Ai de gând să introduci noi produse?
“Da, mereu. In perioada urmatoare ma voi concentra mai mult pe decoratiunile pentru evenimente (in special nunti si botezuri). Sa vedem ce-o sa iasa! 🙂 “

Ce crezi despre serviciile oferite de Shoptsie și care este impresia ta generală despre Shoptsie?
“Cred ca sunt servicii oferite la un inalt grad de calitate si profesionalism, si ma bucur ca am descoperit aceasta solutie pentru magazinul meu online. “

Ai recomanda Shoptsie și altora?
“Da, am facut-o deja si o fac in continuare.”

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Un sfat pentru antreprenorii care abia acum își incep drumul?
“Atunci cand evaluati perspectiva inceperii unei afaceri proprii, ganditi-va mai ales la ceea ce v-ar face placere sa faceti, decat la ceea ce ar “face bani” potrivit diverselor sugestii primite din exterior. O afacere necesita foarte multa munca, si daca nu o faceti cu bucurie si cu o motivatie/determinare ce porneste din interiorul vostru, atunci sunt sanse destul de mari sa esuati inainte ca ea sa apuce macar sa prinda avant.”


Biborka Mathe is the Community Manager and Support of Soldigo and she'll be sharing valuable tips and tricks on how to address and convert customers that originates from her 3+ years in project management and customer acquisition. Art lover and foodie at heart, she is passionate about painting, fashion and puppies.

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