Starting a business is an exciting proposition, but it can also be daunting to say the least. And I believe that there are brilliant people all across the globe who want to turn their passion into a living, but are often times discouraged by obstacles and failures they encounter along the way.

Quite recently, a sweet college student from Australia reached out to me for a short interview as her school assignment. I accepted her request, simply thinking, "hey, why not." But as I recalled the path that led me to where I am today, I realized just how special my job really is. And of course, I wanted to share this journey with you and to really encourage you to fervidly chase after your dreams. 


How long have you been running your Etsy Shop?
I started in October 2014. It's been just over 2 years now. Boy, how time flies!

How did you begin? (A Passion for making? A gap in the market? Etc.)
I was originally a high school teacher and a counselor. And I still am during the day. ;)
I first started making personalized handmade jewelry in December 2013 when I took my maternity leave. I was 38 when I had my first baby Luna, so this pregnancy meant the world to me. I wanted to find a way to cherish this moment in the most special way possible, and crafting handmade jewelry to commemorate this was more than just perfect! I was always into crafting things too. I am also a professional pianist so I always had love and passion for all things that touched the tip of my fingers. ;)

Did Etsy become a full time job or do you work it in with existing employment?
It's indeed a full time job, but I still work a few hours during the day at school. I love doing both and couldn't let go of one for another! ;)

How has it positively impacted your life?
I believe in visions, a goal and meaning in life. And I'm certain that my vision in life is to touch other people's lives through mentoring and sharing. And MignonandMignon reminds me everyday just how blessed I am to live by my vision.
Jewelry here isn't just a fashion accessory. With personalized messages hand-stamped on each piece, it holds so much meaning and value that only you can truly understand. It's a constant reminder of that special person, special moment, and a special place, and I'm so blessed to be part of each and everyone's journey. Everyday, I am positively impacted by my customer's stories, how they want to gift this necklace to their friend who recently lost their dear family member, how they want to gift this to their bridesmaids for being such wonderful friends, and the list goes on! It's safe to say that my job makes me a better person every day!

How has it negatively impacted your life?
It certainly is hard juggling three jobs: owner/creator at MignonandMignon, teacher/counselor at Calvary Christian School, and mother of my sweet angel Luna! I wish I can spend more time with my baby girl. :(

Has your process (work space, working hours, equipment) changed since you began? If the answer is no, then why hasn’t it?
Our shop grew from my living room to now a studio filled with my wonderful team!
Back then, it was just me and my husband working on a few orders together in our living room, with my students cheering for me every time my phone rang "cha-ching!" And words cannot describe just how blessed we are to have grown this big within such short period of time!

And lastly, what’s the best piece of advice you’d give to somebody thinking of opening a shop or becoming self-employed?
Having a novel idea is one thing. But what really matters is to understand and to relate to your audience. Every time people ask me what my success secret is, I give them my honest answer: I understood my customers. I knew where they came from, what exactly they wanted from us, and was able to provide products and services that met their exact needs and demands. And I did so at zero premium. No excessive fees, no strings attached.
Starting your own business is never easy. And so I understand that it's always tempting to mark up your prices to better meet your own needs. But trust me. If you put your customer's needs first, yours will soon suffice. That's why our shop motto is "It's all about you" ;)
I wish every aspiring entrepreneur the best of luck. And hope you #makeitspecial.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur as I was myself, and would like to know more business tips, please subscribe to our email list and message me your thoughts and questions via our shop Instagram @mignonandmignon. I manage our social media account myself, so I'll be able to communicate with you directly. And of course, I'll be more than happy to share your questions and my answers via our shop blog like this so that we can encourage more people to follow their dreams!


Best Wishes,




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January 18, 2017 — Dohee Lee