Connie Andrade, Entrepreneur
FJ: When did you decide on becoming an entrepreneur
Connie: Over the years, my pizazz for fashion was expressed through the numerous dresses and handbags that I designed for myself. This self expression soon attracted the diverse interests of teenage girls, hip chicks, trendy moms as well as exotic cabaret performers.
FJ: How did that decision come about
Connie: Affected by the 2007 economic crisis, I decided on becoming an entrepreneur. I followed my passion and started a business in something I really loved to do. Coupled with the strong support and interests in my designs from friends, family and acquaintances... IsidoraDesigns.com was born.
FJ: What is the most interesting discovery you've made as an entrepreneur
Connie: I discovered, just because your friends and family “really “ like your business, it doesn’t mean they shop from you or help spread the word.
FJ: What are you trying to achieve, what’s your ultimate goal?
Connie: I would love to have returning customers for all the seasons of the year and for all holidays and celebrations. I want people to think of me when they are in need of a gift for a friend or family member or a group or team.
FJ: Why do you create? What need does it satisfy
Connie: I create because I enjoy learning new tricks and ideas to construct items. I use to daydream of creating dresses and purses to match. Little did I know I had the knack for creating patterns and producing/sewing final products. I surprise myself all the time. I use one sewing machine. My grandmothers sewing machine and create everything you see on my social media posts. The satisfaction of completing an item makes me smile. Starting a project and finishing a product is very rewarding. In the beginning, I would hold onto a finished bag for a couple days before shipping it. I didn’t want to let it go.
FJ: What Challenges have you encountered
Connie: The challenges I have encountered are the lack of returning customers. I receive great reviews and then it stops. Another challenge I have encountered is thinking others will love my shop just because I love my shop. I need to think like a customer and not a shop owner.
FJ: What is the next step for your business?
Connie: At first, I offered large bags: Diaper bags, messenger bags and totes. Then I added small purses to match and evening purses. Then I just offered dog items. I’m missing something. I need steady customers. Not sure how to do that.
FJ: Do you have any advice to give other starting a business?
Connie: Just because you love your idea for starting a business doesn't mean everyone else does. You need to think like a customer to get them excited and intrigued in your business.
FJ: Who inspires or influences you?
Connie: The items I create are not necessarily trendy items. My customers are unique in style and creative with their designs. I enjoy “window shopping” and seeing what is popular. Functionality inspires me and colors / prints influence me. My sisters and brothers always think of me when they see a unique product and send it to me to “check it out”.
FJ: Any last thoughts for our Fat Jack’s reader
Connie: Being an entrepreneur means you wear alot of hats. You greet customers, you make things for customers. You answer questions for customers. You are customer service. You are the office manager and the shipping manager and social media manager. And if you hire employees to handle any of these hats, you need to know the ins and outs. Do not blindly hand over this position without knowing how it’s handled yourself.
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