Today’s entrepreneur is Tanya Veit of AAE Glass.
When and why did you start your business?
AAE Glass started roughly 3 years ago. I have been a fused glass artist for 10+ years and turned it into a full time business 3 years ago. I teach other glass artists how to expand their craft through unique techniques I have learned along the way. I own and operate a studio in Cape Coral, Florida and also travel the world to teach. We also sell glass fusing supplies and I have created a line of glass fusing enamel decals that are used across the world.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I love the daily challenge! Everyday I wake up, I know I am in control of how successful I am going to be. That is a great motivator. It was scary to begin with, because we started from scratch, literally. But after seeing our hard work turn into results, we knew we were on to something and it has blown up since then.
Describe your business in 20 words or less.
Provide classes and products to help glass artists expand their businesses. I teach and my partner helps artists get exposure.
Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you stay inspired?
My inspiration comes from my surroundings. Everyday things as well as trips I take. I stay inspired by seeing how my work helps other artists succeed. When I see the joy and excitement on a glass artists face when they taste success due to something I have taught them, that feeling is priceless.
What is your biggest success or accomplishment you’re most proud of in your business?
The biggest accomplishment thus far is being invited to teach my techniques in Europe this summer. I am traveling to London and Norway to teach several people who use my products now. Next year, I have my eye on Australia!
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs when they are first starting out?
Define your goals and keep your eyes and ears open. If today is your first day, I can guarantee that 1 year from now, you will have taken many different paths to get to where you are. Re-evaluate often and be ready to adjust and adapt. If you can’t adjust on the fly, you may miss opportunities to grow your business.
What is one mistake that you made that you really learned from and what did you learn?
You can’t please everybody. When I started, I would do anything at any time to get a sale, no matter how big or small. Now that we have grown in size, that is simply not possible. It isn’t that I don’t want to help everyone, it just isn’t feasible. The best advice I could give is run your business the way it works best for you.
Where do you see your company in three years?
If we continue to grow as we have in the first 3 years, the sky is the limit. I see a large warehouse, another studio or two in another location. Lots of traveling to spread my techniques to anyone who wants to learn.
Do you sell your products wholesale and, if so, what is one strategies that you use to get your products in stores?
I sell my finished jewelry on a wholesale level. My pieces are in over 150 stores and art galleries across the world. We attended a wholesale convention 1 year ago and met so many great store owners across the country. Once I got the ball rolling, it was hard to keep up with demand. Under promise and over deliver. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I was very close to doing that and had to pull back on the reins a bit.
What is one thing you wish you knew about being an entrepreneur when you first started out?
Hmmm. This is a tough question, because I have come to realize that the uncertainty is something that drives me. Whenever I open my email in the morning, I never know what is going to be there. I could be invited to teach in Australia, or my studio could be on fire. Either way, it gets my blood pumping each and every day.