Jolie Laide: Turning a DIY passion project into a thriving online business
Sometimes your next great business idea is right under your nose and you don’t even know it. That was the case for Jacqueline Flaggiello, a Toronto-based travel and lifestyle photographer. While on a photo shoot for Paris Fashion Week in 2014, her home-made leather camera strap was noticed by a popular blogger. In that moment, Jacqueline realized that there was nothing else quite like what she had created currently on the market. That’s when her entrepreneurial light bulb turned on, and Jolie Laide was born, a DIY passion project turned online business.
Jacqueline created Jolie Laide as a lifestyle brand focused on designing and creating high quality artisan leather camera straps, camera bags and travel accessories. Inspired by her travels throughout South America and Europe, Jacqueline combines exotic and classic designs as well as textiles from around the world into her products, giving them unique and authentic characteristics. It’s this combination of innovative designs and high quality craftsmanship that give Jolie Laide’s products the character and beauty that they are known for.
The role of a website and a .CA domain
The Jolie Laide website is key to its success. Not only is it a place for people to learn about Jolie Laide’s philosophy and keep up to date on her blog, but it's the primary way that Jacqueline finds new customers and sells her products around the world.
“It’s your platform to the world,” Flaggiello says. “It has to have all the information, it has to be consistent, it has to be up to date.”
“I definitely think it’s important to have a .CA domain,” she adds, explaining that it not only helps her promote her brand and products locally, but her .CA domain tells her customers around the world that she is from Canada, and to them, Canada is associated with trust.
Starting a new business is a demanding endeavour, filled with challenges and uncertainty. This is something that Jacqueline learned first-hand.
“No one has cleared the path, so you have no path to follow. You’re making up a lot as you go along, and figuring it out along the way.”
Along with this ambiguity and need to blaze your own path into the unknown, Jacqueline recommends stepping back and asking yourself the tough questions.
“What value are you bringing to customers?” she encourages.
It’s these types of questions that will make you look at your business and your products, and make sure that you have purpose with what you’re doing.
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