INTERVIEW WITH Tristian of GRACYLU ORIGINALS
Hi Tristian ! Thank you for taking some time to give us some insight into how you run your successful headpiece & accessory boutique business! I just adore all of your creations, absolutely precious! How long have you been in business?
Thank you so much! I have been in business since Gracylu, my daughter, was about one year old, so we are entering into our fourth year and couldn’t be more excited!
How did you first decide that this industry was for you?
I started out constructing my daughter’s bows and headpieces when she was a baby and toddler, but the moment that I truly felt that this was my calling was when I made my very first bridal headpiece for my friend Taylor’s wedding. I then began to become more partial with the bridal and couture designs rather than the bows and such.
What do you do to make yourself stand out from other similar businesses?
My business has always relied on Christ through everything and he has been with me when business is good and when it isn’t so good…I love what I do and my eye for creativity is key to my creations.
How important is great photography to showcase your work?
VERY important! Not only is it a great way to advertise for my business, but it captures my headpieces in ways that you don’t see them on any given day. I love all of my talented photog friends and they are another important part of my business.
It is obvious that you are a creative person and that a lot of that is already in your blood, but where do you find other inspiration?
I get my inspiration in many ways from photography, magazines, nature, and even praying! My mind is always spinning no matter where I’m at and it allows me to see art in almost anything I come across.
Do you do all of the hands on work yourself, or do you have helpers/assistants that help you? How do you keep up with all of the orders?
I do majority of the work but I have helpers that assist me when I have large orders to keep up with. Having three small children makes it very difficult to find the time to dedicate to my orders but with the help of my family I manage to get it done in a timely manner.
How do you know what you should charge for your work? This seems to be a reoccurring question for a lot of women out there, they don’t want to “rob” people, yet they don’t want to work for “free” either. How did you decide what your time/art is worth?
This seems to have been a questionable issue since the beginning and to be honest I still struggle with it today…
Do you have a family? Children? If so, how many?
I have a beautiful family that I love more than anything! I have a husband, Clay, and three small children. My oldest, Harrison, is five. Then there’s Gracylu who is four. And my newest baby, Atticus, is nine months old! He is growing up so fast!
How do you find balance between your business and your family life? Do you ever take time for yourself?
That is actually one of my goals this year is to take time for myself. It seems like I am always putting something else before myself, which is fine, but I know that it isn’t always healthy to continually do that.
What have you found to be the most successful thing that you have done to better your business?
I think customers make a business so I aim to keep them satisfied so not only will they stay loyal but also tell others.
Customer service is so very important and word of mouth is one of the best advertising tools ~ what have you found to be YOUR best advertising tool? How do you get your name/product more known?
Those are very important advertising methods and I usually heavily rely on WOM, however facebook is important as well as any other social networking that is available today. I also rely on my photog friends to display my creations in an artistic and creative fashion!
And finally, what 3 tips of advice would you give other women out there just starting out in business, or trying to better their own businesses?
Having your own business is difficult, in so many way. My first tip would be to make sure your priorities are in order..mine being God, family, then business.
Second is to make sure you are able to market yourself credibly and branding yourself efficiently.
Third is to be willing to give more than you receive in your business especially in the beginning. You won’t get anywhere unless you are willing to get your name out there by sacrificing a little profit here and there!
Thanks again for your words of wisdom Tristian, it was a pleasure featuring such a successful business woman this week!
Thank you for the opportunity Heidi! I hope that I can inspire other women out there who desire to have their own business and do what they love!
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