LEARNING CURVE | Gem idea led to birth of a business
Filled with artistic ware, couple’s store, Angelic Enchantments, is also home to their gemstone jewellery, feather hair extentions and leather goods
Naz Victor and her husband Clinton both had part-time jobs before they set up their own creative small business.Nestled in Baakens Valley, Angelic Enchantments is a unique retail store with a wide range of artistic products from jewellery to tapestry.Please share some background on yourselves and how you started the business?Angelic Enchantments was established in 2012.I studied marketing years before, and my husband Clinton was busy with his masters in architecture.We were not even married at the time.I have always been fascinated by crystals and gemstones, their histories and unique properties.Some time back, I sought out the only shop in the Bay I could find and popped in to see what they had.I bought a few crystals that really inspired me and went back home to transform them into beautiful pieces of jewellery.It was that very same day that a friend who came in to visit me bought one of those pieces.I was surprised that someone was willing to pay for my creativity.We started to create more jewellery, which was all sold.A friend of mine then suggested I sell my jewellery. at local markets – and so the story of Angelic Enchantments began.At first, the business was home-based and we turned my husband’s studio into a shop.We realised there was a niche in the market for crystal and gemstone jewelry.I researched trends overseas and decided to test the market, and found many products not yet introduced to our city, and started to fill that niche.I brought in feather hair extensions that were already in Cape Town and which were started in the US.A few years later, Clinton, bought his first leather bag.That’s where his love for leather came about and our baby project, Invictus leather, was born.What do you think makes your business unique?Firstly, we strive to provide customer satisfaction.I have had loyal customers from the day I started my business.Most of the items we create are completely unique, once-off pieces which are extra-special.My husband is a perfectionist – nothing leaves without him doing a quality check.When we source products, it’s often trendy and ethnicallysourced.We offer pretty packaging and our shop has an earthy, Bohemian feel; very welcoming and uplifting.We often get compliments on how pretty our shop is and that’s a great way to know you are doing something right.We cater for all ages, so there’s always something for everyone.We also support local entrepreneurs and stock creative artists’ products.If someone wanted to use one key lesson from your business model, what would it be?Perseverance, being able to accept competition, and creativity are key elements in having a successful business.Do not doubt yourself.What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground? Capital – I started off with no capital.Clinton was a student and I was jobless, so capital was an issue.I worked nights from home making boxes for my father-in-law to earn an income to fund my current business.It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. The late nights paid off.What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?Trends and fashion are always changing, you have to keep up or you will be left behind.You always have to be on top of your game and stay motivated.There are both good days and bad days in any business, and knowing better days are yet to come is always difficult to see.We are blessed that we are both able to motivate each other.We don’t have staff and we run our business ourselves.We are parents to a two-year-old, with no staff, so sometimes we get to work a few minutes late.We try our best to be good parents and running our business as best as we can.What is the best advice anyone ever gave you about success?There are actually two points:Nobody can sell your products better than you.Customer satisfaction is so important and that’s why knowing what they want helps make it easier to find a suitable product for them.Starting a friendly chat always breaks the ice, making it easier to help a customer.Being an entrepreneur means spending late nights finishing a custom-made product, thinking up new ideas and making sure you are running a successful business.Most people are sleeping by 11 pm but that’s when we end up thinking of new, innovative products to bring in or create.Finishing ad campaigns and updating your website – we don’t have a 9 to 5 job.How do you measure success in your business?For me, there’s a few things:Being able to create a product and take it to the next level – now that’s success.Having repeat customers – that too is a huge plus.Seeing customers leaving with a smile.Meeting people who talk about the lovely products they were gifted from our shop.What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful? Customer service is very important to us.Providing custom-made unique products.What kind of advertising do you do?We use social media predominantly but also rely on word-of-mouth.We do a few local markets around PE and attend a few national expositions.What have some of your highlights been in running your business?We got a bronze certificate at the Home Expo for stall décor lin 2018.We often meet new people when we travel to expositions and learn about how they run their businesses and, in turn, it makes us look at our business with a fresh look.Once you had funding, what was the first step in launching your business?We started a Facebook page, opened a home-based shop, launched a website and now have a store in Baakens Valley.What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your business journey so far?I’ve learned so many but staying creative is vital.Keep your great ideas close, and stay motivated as it’s very easy to go off the road.What are the greatest challenges and advantages of running a business in PE?Port Elizabeth is a beautiful city with so many entrepreneurs, however, it doesn’t always cater to creative people.Many handcrafters tend to leave the city or become demotivated.The advantage of running our business here is that it’s a small city and people tend to talk about great products and word gets around faster.