Dream to Reality – An Interview with Elinor Levin
Q : Can you please let us know a little bit about yourself. Your background, education, your passion etc. ??
A : The story of Elinor Levin Marketing Boutique is a perfect story for the world of innovation. Elinor is the employee who was so bored by the routine that one day, she decided she deserved her own business. “I had a dream, to open an independent business and sell my creations. I wanted to get great feedback, and mainly to be my own boss. I work for a very sweet company and I enjoy every moment. In addition to my business, I’m also a mom and a wife.” Until now, it sounds like a pretty typical story, right? Then how has this “ordinary” Israeli woman become a “golden database” of online shop managers for a foreign chain?
“I decided to learn jewelry-making as a hobby. While I was taking classes, I met independent Etsy shop owners who were selling jewelry abroad, and that’s where the magic began. For those who aren’t familiar with the site, it specializes in selling handmade goods of artisans, vintage goods, and creative materials, as opposed to the site that everyone orders from – eBay. It didn’t take long to decide that I, too, could open a shop! I imagined everything I’d have to do: take pictures, upload items, translate it all in Google and presto! Advertise and wait for the money to start flowing in…”
Just to refresh your memory, Levin was still employed, and that’s where her ambition started to run even higher, leading her to invest even more hours searching for guides to operating a shop on the site: “I believed that if you’re talking about a virtual storefront online, the investment shouldn’t be that great and the profits should come quickly. I started small: I uploaded items I’d made with my own hands, and offered them for sale even though my English wasn’t all that terrific. In my free time, I surfed around Etsy and tried to figure out what I could do in order to bring sales into my shop and what tools I should use so that owners of other shops would recognize mine and order from me. It was very important to me to track the most successful shops on the site and to learn from what they did.”
Of course, Elinor encountered some difficult moments throughout this whole period in which she’d made the decision to open a shop on the site, and more than once, people around her didn’t understand what she was actually doing in front of the computer: “My husband claimed I was wasting my time for nothing, that I’d never make real money, and that I shouldn’t be putting in so much of my precious time. Of course, today, he’s singing a different tune.”
As Elinor continued on Etsy, she came across the Israeli forum within the site and even though she was certain that things would be easier for her there, with lots of help from others in the same boat, she discovered that actually, the opposite was true. “I entered the Etsy Israel forum to consult with experts. I publicized my site in the group and asked for criticism (constructive, of course!), and suddenly, they were tossing potshots at me with absolutely no reason. They basically told me straight out that I should close my shop and that I had no chance on the scene.”
Since their advice was largely unhelpful, she kept on “browsing” through different sites, researching in-depth, until she discovered the possibility of promoting her shop through the “Etsy Free” group. This was a group whose only purpose was for members to jointly promote each other’s shops.
Keep in mind that Elinor was working with an extremely tight budget, and aside from creating her items, she couldn’t waste money. But with the right foundation and insightful investment of time, slowly, the orders started coming in. “I didn’t want to pay a site builder to build me a site or photograph the items I’d created. For a long period, I felt at a loss for good advice, but I still didn’t give up. I started to participate in promotional group games and realized one small thing: in order to start to sell, my shop needed to stand out. I started to like other owners’ shops on social networks so they’d follow me back. And that’s how I managed to grow my follower count significantly. I believed that every follower had followers of their own – and thanks to that, I’d manage to gain exposure to other people and potential customers.”
This mom who loved to lead and make decisions believed all along that she could transcend challenges: “I opened my first group, started to invite other shops, brought in a good friend who helped me at the start with translating my posts into English, I recruited leaders (assistants) who spoke English fluently, and they also helped me develop new promotional games and maintain order and organization in the group, including kicking out shop owners who didn’t play fair. The number of fans of the shop grew, the number of followers grew, and things began to accelerate. People started to see me as the ‘captain.’ I became important. I stood out. I worked in every legitimate (and free) way possible to stand out – and it all started to bear fruit.”
This year, Elinor manages four groups with more than 16,000 Etsy shop owners who promote one another at no charge through the site and outside of it on social networks. In addition to the groups she manages, she’s adept in social networking and has found that outside of Israel people love to promote their goods through social media. They enjoy uploading beautiful pictures of items, and investing in the products’ appearance. To this, she responses, “And it’s really nice – and even fun. Not long ago, I started pages on all of the social networks. One of the most important decisions I’ve made is that I created followers in every location (almost). Most of my followers are from abroad and the number of my Israeli followers is relatively lower than those from the U.S. and from Europe. That suits my goals perfectly – virally growing potential customers overseas.”
On the landscape of business owners, Elinor’s story is proof that investing pays off and that the rewards will come: “I put in whole days to bring in followers, I set up pages on social networks, communities, groups, boards, and I’m happy to tell you that today, I’m considered an opinion leader, I have thousands of followers on almost every social network. I chose to invest in networks I like, the ones I enjoy using, and that are simplest to work with.”
So why and how does Elinor’s tale connect with the idea of “Success story – making a dream a reality”? As the “captain” answers: “I don’t know if I’d describe myself as a success story – I’m just somebody who didn’t give up, who smashed down a wall with the Congo… I love the work I do, and I really enjoy the great feedback I get. I feel wonderful when I meet the same customers again and again. And my husband doesn’t complain anymore about the fact that I’m ‘wasting’ my time. Also, I decided that I should help other shop owners to promote their items. Because they don’t have time, they usually prefer just to create and not everybody has the time, the know-how, or the connection to computerized systems in order to promote their shop. Some people try to go it alone, and some prefer to transfer the ‘dirty work’ of promoting and marketing to someone else. I raised my wand and today I promote some of the top stores (mostly abroad) on sites like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and private sites (for English speakers) on social networks at reasonable prices for every single person.”
Q : Tell our readers about your new shop?
A : As one who knows the Etsy world so well and promotes many stores around the world, I decided to open another store! I have one vintage store (thevintagecinderella), but I wanted so much to make art myself so I decided to open a store with a brand that I love and enjoy making handmade pieces from. All the products in the store are recycled, and I love collecting garbage and producing new stuff from it! Because the world needs to be maintained
Q : What’s the reason behind choose this name “BrideofchuckyStudio” for your shop ?
A : i am a fan of chucky ! And I started making an art collection in his character , And that’s how the most amazing holiday is approaching …..
Q : What has been one of the most exciting achievements of your career so far ?
A : Marry, two children
Leave a permanent job after 16 years and start an independent job
Q : What’s your goal in life you want to achieve next?
A :To open a physical space for Israeli artists – a big place in tel aviv
And that the site I founded for artists will be very successful in my country and the world at Etsy level
Q : What motivates you to do your best work ?
A : Good reviews , Compliments, recognition
Q : Your favorite quote?
A : Imagine that you are working and enjoying every minute of the way !
Q : Everybody needs time out. What do you do in your free time?
A : Handmade Art , sing , Performances , theater
Q : How can people find you and follow you online?
A : https://www.pinterest.com/elinorlevin167/