We were really excited to interview Tina from The Black Star Boutique to learn more about her handmade business. Not only do her listings catch our eye each time she posts, we’re in awe of all the amazing hands and publications she’s gotten her jewelry into. Some amazing advice, inspiration and photos to follow so take your time, have a read through and soak it all in!
Tell us about your company:
The Black Star Boutique is a collection of boho jewelry inspired by the beauty of nature’s gems and created by Canadian Reiki Master, Tina Guenthner.
Why did you start your business?
I started The Black Star Boutique in 2009 when I first became a Reiki Master. I loved designing jewelry that told a story for the person wearing the creation. When I began working with crystals in my Reiki sessions for clients, I was inspired to create Reiki infused designs. I love crystals and gemstones and the holistic properties they have. I began connecting ancient wisdom with the healing properties of crystals. I also started to incorporate organic seed beads to my collection to capture the beauty of what nature gives us.
Who is your jewelry for?
I keep my clients in mind when I design my jewelry. I have many clients with different needs and when I design a piece, I think of those needs and the gemstone that can help that need. I also target the boho and minimalist buyer. Many of my designs are one of a kind pieces that you will not find anywhere else. My pieces are designed to be functional on an everyday level with elements in them that are unique to my style of design.
What makes your jewelry different and exceptional?
Each piece I create is meticulously designed. I carefully choose gemstones from my suppliers and add elements that make the piece special. Most pieces in the collection will tell a story. I am very careful where my gemstones come from. I don’t buy from places such a Micheals and then mass produce. You get a handmade item, with genuine gemstones and silver or gold components that you cannot find elsewhere. You also get great customer service after a purchase. I love working with my customers.
What is your favorite or most popular piece?
My most popular bracelet currently is the lotus seed and sandalwood bracelet, in fact, it is currently on preorder only now. (shown below)
You’ve gotten your jewelry into the hands of some big celebrities. Can you share a bit about how you’ve accomplished that and the outcome you see from it?
I have had awesome opportunities thanks to The Artisan Group that I belong to. Our group has the opportunity to gift many celebrity events and TV shows and movies. I have a very popular necklace that made it onto The Vampire Diaries and The Young and The Restless. I have also been able to gift acai seed bead bracelets to stars such a Drew Barrymore, Ian Somerhalder, and Jessica Alba. It was very exciting. Currently, I have another bracelet that will appear on TV, but I will save that for a surprise for now.
Even with the help of an organization like The Artisan Group, your pieces have to be unique and amazing to be chosen. How do you keep on top of your game?
My designs need to stay fresh and current. I carefully photograph all my designs and constantly try to get better with the photography. I don’t just throw a piece together, I really take the elements of design and thoughtfully create my pieces.
Can you describe “a day in the life of”?
I used to spend all of my time on my business. Now, I break my day up into chunks and each day is different depending on my orders and what needs to be done. I usually work all morning and then take a short break in the afternoon while I mail out orders. Late afternoons are for creating new pieces and answering emails. I break for making dinner and then come back to my work in the evenings. When you run your own business, you wear many hats and it can be hard to keep up, lol. I make a list each evening of my “To Dos” for the following day. I find that having my to do list with the most important things first, helps me get the things accomplished I need to. The biggest obstacle I have, is family and friends who know I am home working, they think I am available at all times of the day, lol. I have had to get very strict with everyone in order to be able to work from home. I put my cell phone away and do not answer anyone now until I am done my work. I treat it just like a job now and I am not afraid to tell people that I am busy and will speak with them later. If I didn’t do this, I would never accomplish anything.
What has been the biggest challenge of running your business and how have you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is staying current with changing trends, software, and social media. Currently, I am building my own website and building a brand new collection, in order to do this I have had to hire a coach to help me. I cannot say enough about getting someone with more knowledge to teach you and help you when you need to learn something new.
What’s been the most important aspect to growing your business?
My most important aspect of growing my business has been my social media platform. I sell to people all over the world and keeping my followers informed is the most important.
If you could go back in time, what’s one piece of advice you would give to yourself when you were just starting out?
Create a business plan before you ever start and don’t be afraid to spend money on quality branding and quality products. If you really want to create a standout business with great customer service and sell to the world, do the hard work first and have a vision. My business has changed so much since it first began and I learned through trial and error.
What keeps you going?
You have to love what you do and have a dream and goals. I keep my dreams and goals prominent at all times. The Black Star Boutique has become such a large part of who I am and what I do now, that I couldn’t imagine being without it. I invested a lot of time, energy, and love into this business and I continue to build it and grow it because I love what I do and know where I want it to go.