I’ve decided to start a new project titled “Wonderful Women Wednesday” as I want to focus on wonderful women doing wonderful things. In a society that occasionally likes to tear women down I want to add to the positivity in the world by focusing on the achievements that women have made, whether they’re big or small.
To be clear, an achievement can be different things for different people. This is a 110% positive space focusing on women who, through their own achievements, are inspiring and helping other women reach their own goals 🙂
I have always been a big supporter of people and events that help empower women and I wanted to bring light to women out in the world that are strong, independent and helping other women be who they want to be. It’s important that women continue to support each other and continue to help each other strive for greatness – we’re all part of the sisterhood after all.
For the first instalment of this series I’ve interviewed Michelle, the creator of Crystal Eclipse Crowns.
What provided you with the inspiration to start Crystal Eclipse Crowns?
Basically every year on my birthday I like to wear a crown, because who doesn’t feel like a princess on their birthday!? I usually go after the bargain store type tiaras, but a few years ago a friend brought me a gold sequin crown that I coveted. I didn’t bring it with my to Australia (I’m from Canada) so last year I decided I wanted to make a sparkly creation of my own… And so it began…
So would you say it started as more of a side project or did you set out to start a thriving business from it?
I definitely did not expect anything to come of it, other then that I would have a new crown to wear on my upcoming birthdays. I still actually don’t even consider it a business, more of a hobby. But to be honest, I’m still waiting for the day when people decide to just stop liking my instagram photos and to stop emailing me… It’s overwhelming for me to realize that people actually like what I do.
Could you please talk us through what the process is for when you make a new crown?
My orders generally come in via email conversation, which I provide a link to when I post photos of the things I make on instagram. I take the time to speak to the customer and find out exactly what they want – tall crystals, shorter ones, jaunty, etc and find out if they have any special requests or ideas. Once I feel like I know exactly what they want I am able to give them a price quote and start creating for them.
You have said that each crown is named after a woman who has had a positive impact on your life, which I think is such a beautiful idea. What made you finally decide on that idea and how do you choose which crown to name after which woman?
When I started realising people might actually want to buy the things I was making, I knew I had to come up with a bit more depth so I created the name Crystal Eclipse Crowns with the help of chatting to my girlfriends back home – Carly and Amelia. You will notice that the Carly crown is the first I made as well as the Amelia necklace the first I made. That’s where the names really started, I knew I had to thank them for having my back and believing I was on to something good. From there, I then started naming them after my lady friends who have had a positive impact on my life. Each piece isn’t specifically designed to them in any way, but more of a tribute for giving me something, be it confidence or a smile on my face – and at the end of the day, I hope that when someone buys and wears something I make, they get that confidence and smile too because they look amazing.
That is such a beautiful idea, almost like passing on a little slice of confidence. Were you at all surprised by how many people were wanting a crown to call their own?
I am still surprised every single day, and like I said, I’m just waiting for the day I wake up from this dream and realise people just aren’t into crowns anymore haha I know that seems silly, but it feels too good to be true sometimes. I don’t take that for granted though, which is why I try to speak in detail with every customer who comes to me because I appreciate everyone to the moon and back.
How long had you been planning and thinking about starting Crystal Eclipse Crowns and what gave you the final push to start?
It was never a plan! I suppose that’s probably why it is so surreal. I just wanted to make something for myself. I ended up making it, the first Carly, and had some leftover supplies. I am in a group on Facebook called Melbourne Creative Network so I posted a photo of it there and said if anyone wanted one for photo shoots, I had enough supplies to make a second one. I ended up getting a ridiculous amount of messages from people interested and I think I actually cried. That’s when I realized (with a little push from my partner) that I should look into really seeing what could come of this.
Since starting this hobby have you learnt anything new about yourself?
I think you can tell from my previous responses that confidence is probably my downfall! However receiving emails and amazing reviews and having people wear something I have made to something important as their wedding has really just made me feel like I can actually do amazing things with my life.
Is there anything advice you would give to women out there who have been thinking about starting their own business but haven’t?
As I never intended to start anything, I may be the wrong person to ask! Let it happen naturally, never feel like you’re over-exerting yourself, join networks of people like you and have fun. As soon as you’re no longer having fun, stop and do something else.
And do you have any tips as to best get your business to grow? Such as, do you find there is a better platform to use to sell the product or certain ways people should utilise Instagram to get more followers and customers?
Look, I wouldn’t say this has grown exponentially since I started it, it’s definitely still in a hobby stage, but instagram has really got the pieces out there. Etsy has been a really big help as well. I wasn’t using it at first, but once I started listing things on there I was getting orders from all over the world – I suppose it helps that Etsy’s site will be automatically translated to a bunch of different languages where as my instagram posts won’t. The one thing I am not really a fan of on instagram are “promoters” and by that I mean people who beat around the bush asking for free product so that they can post one of 1000 photos saying “I am wearing this.” I’m all down for babes on insta with a milli followers, but not when every post they make is a plug, I don’t wanna be a part of that… and I find it insulting to be asked that. I have had people with 200k+ followers buy something because they like it , not because they want more free shit from a small business who can’t afford that. And when they posted a photo of them wearing it – I only got 10 new followers and probably 0 sales and that’s fine! But when someone with 2k followers then asks for something, I don’t see the point. If I establish a good relationship with an insta-celeb then I am happy to send over something, but only when I knew they actually like it, not when they’re just playing a game. I think you can tell you touched a nerve here haha.
Would you say that Instagram has helped change the game when it comes to promotion and helping small businesses get their name out there?
Absolutely it has, it’s just way easier to get photos of things out there now. No one really follows businesses on facebook the way they do on instagram. It lets you connect to such a wide range of people as well with a simple “#”.
I have so much respect for when people start their own business as there are so many aspects that they have to consider. What would you say is the best but also the hardest thing about running your own business?
Probably the actual “business” part of it. Where does it begin? I still don’t know. I should really figure that out.
Feel free to read my previous post which featured my own Crystal Eclipse Crown here!
All images have been sourced from the Crystal Eclipse Crown’s instagram account.