In this interview, I talked to Roxanne of Roxanne Tate Mosaics about her business and her daily routine as someone who sells on Etsy and on her own website.
I’ll let Roxanne tell you about herself and her business, and she also has some advice for people who want to start their own online businesses.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that will pay a small commission at no cost to you if you use them to purchase something.
What’s your shop name, and what do you sell?
Roxanne Tate Mosaics (roxannetatemosaics.com) on my website, RoxannesMirrors on ETSY. You can also find me on Facebook under the name roxannetatemosaics, and on Pinterest at roxannetatemosaics.
I create gorgeous unique statement mosaic art mirrors.
How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I have been on ETSY for 10 Years.
What’s the hardest part of starting a business?
The hardest part of starting my business was organizing the different work areas in my home studio.
As clients looking for bathroom mirrors asked me to produce larger and larger mirrors, space quickly became a problem.
To solve this problem I have a spare room I use as a working studio, a game room with a spare daybed that I use for packing, and I use the garage for frame cutting and assembly.
The upstairs hallway is used for any mirrors I have in stock. It is hard to keep inventory for such a large product, basically, I have mirrors everywhere!
Tell us a little about what your daily routine is like.
My daily routine involves mostly making products since mirrors take several days of work to produce.
The first step of making a mosaic mirror involves cutting the frame to custom dimensions.
I do have a CNC that assists me with works smaller than 32″.
For larger works, I must source hardwood and cut and route the frame by hand outside on my workbench.
Sometimes this is in the 100-degree temps in Texas!
After frame preparation, I can work in my indoor studio which is a spare bedroom set up with work tables and everything else I need to cut tiles and stained glass.
The walls are lined with shelves for tile storage and I have a large rack for mirror glass.
Mosaic involves many steps so each day I will do a different phase of work.
My pieces can take up to two weeks if a client has ordered a metal design.
Metalwork involves cutting and shaping of 6 to 9-gauge material, either solid copper or aluminum, all done by hand.
After cutting and forming I then Dremel polish and clean everything.
The next day I am able to grout the piece and must let it cure for 24 hours minimum before starting the final steps.
The last steps involve several coats of paint for the frame, mirror glass installation, and hanging hardware installation.
After that, I am able to pre-package for shipping.
At the end of each day, I will correspond with clients. Thankfully I only have 2-3 clients at a time or I would not be able to keep up!
What would you tell someone who wants to sell online in general?
I would recommend anyone wanting to sell online have a product that uniquely identifies them and to make something they do not mind seeing every day of their life.
I have always had a unique style of mosaic unlike anyone else. I create metal designs in my work.
I think this helped me in the early years as people do like to purchase unique handcrafted items and I had early sales from the beginning.
I have since added mirrors without metal upon request of clients, but my metal designs still define my style. You can easily look at a set of mosaic mirrors and pick out one of mine.
Secondly, I wish I could have everything in one room so I could shut the door at the end of the day and switch out of business mode.
It is important to keep your home life/space separate from your workspace. I find this has been a constant struggle since my product is so large.
I would recommend you set up your space and workflow from day one.
Plan for growth and keep it within your boundaries.
It’s too easy to think you can just go work a little longer since your business is right there in your home.
Have a clear idea of where you will produce your items and set hours so you have a work-life balance.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would recommend that you don’t put your self-worth into your product and your efforts.
I know this is hard to do, but just because your product does not sell and you may have worked a ton of hours, it is not an indicator of your personal success or your worth as an individual.
The online marketplace is fast-paced and constantly changing. There are still plenty of foreign competitors producing products at lower price points.
Online marketplaces such as ETSY change rules and fees routinely. Shipping fees change.
Selling is hard work! Be prepared for constant change!
However, don’t be afraid to change your product and pivot if you hit a wall and your initial product isn’t selling.
It’s easy to let these things overwhelm you but don’t give in! Joining a business group such as the E-Shop Success Program by Kara Buntin can help.
When you connect with other sellers you will find many helpful shop owners who offer up helpful tips and suggestions.
Being in a group of like minds will help you through the tough spots, and you will soon realize that you can do this!
You can visit Roxanne’s website at roxannetatemosaics.com, or on Etsy at RoxannesMirrors on ETSY.
For more home and living Artisan Shopping Directory members, click here: Home And Living Sellers
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