Tanel Veenre: an emotional artist, a determined businessman

Voog team

Cover image: Heikki Leis

Tanel is one of the most recognised jewellery artist in Estonia. We had a chat about running a webstore, the essence of social media and where he draws the line between his work and private life.

Tanel, you’ve run your online store on Voog for a few months now. How would you sum up your experience on Voog?

Our online store has been running on Voog for two months now, and we’re still in the phase of discovering Voog's functionality and constantly adjusting the site. However, if we talk about numbers, then we’ve already seen growth in our online sales, and I believe that the new and more user-friendly environment has had an enormous role to play. The new layout, easier navigation and bank links have made purchasing our products more convenient, that’s for sure.

A screenshot from Tanel Veenres new webstore

Voog's most significant advantage is the friendly, open and available customer support. We don't have the feeling that we’re annoying somebody with our questions or scrounging the answers. The disadvantages? I would only point out that unlike WordPress, Voog doesn’t have a massive amount of plugins. For example today we needed to add a discount code*, and weren’t able to, also changing the queue of collections in addition to some other things is a little bit complicated for us. Voog's online store feature is obviously developing fast, but I would say that building a more demanding store is quite challenging due lack of some additional features. But still, we are pleased with Voog because your energy is excellent.

* — discount feature is available starting 19.12 (editors note)

So, what was the reason that you decided to change your online store platform in the first place?

Our last online store had an awesome design (built on WordPress), which was made by AKU, one of the best agencies out there. However, managing and making changes became more and more complicated, and as we didn’t have a mutually explicit agreement about customer support, we decided to make a change.

TVJ collection CosmicFlies — earrings, pendants and cuff-links.

What role does your website play in your business in reality?

The primary goal of the Tanel Veenre Jewellery website is to drive sales. We are just developing our multi-channel marketing strategy, the central question here is how to direct our customer base (we are using MailChimp) to our website via email and our social media channels. To achieve that goal we are trying to make our site more adventurous — in the future, we would like to add our Instagram feed, as well as having our discounted and best selling items differentiated, etc. The more prominent goal here of course, is to engage more customers outside of Estonia — this is quite a challenge and keeps us alert. There’s nothing more exciting than constantly growing and learning how this world works. 

Maybe a few words on how you use social media and what would you recommend for other entrepreneurs?

Because designer goods are not like bread, that is purchased to survive, telling your story is crucially important, and for that social media is indispensable. Our goal is to create a magical cloud around our products, turning jewellery into small cartoon characters that are dealing with the exciting things on the pictures. I think that getting the gist of true harmony is very important: keeping a fresh look without losing touch with your inner-self, showcasing your products without ramming them down people’s throats. If the price is not the main consideration for a purchase decision you need to be extremely patient, not every bright levin fails to convert to purchase, but if you work consistently throughout the year it may pay-off during the Christmas period. :)

Have you thought about what makes Tanel Veenre Jewellery stand out from the countless other brands that you’re competing with?

Tanel Veenre Jewellery stands out from the other brands because of its unique story — we inspire people with our crowned and winged seahorse to dream, and to believe in fairytales. We invite our customers with cosmic dust to perceive the boundlessness of the Universe. The limitless and continuously updated colour schemes of the Earberries is something unique; rainbow in real life. Behind the creative freedom of the brand is my background as an artist. If other brands have grown out of the initiative of designers/business men, then TVJ grew out of my artistic journey, from the artwork exhibited in museums and galleries. In the context of business, I act extraordinarily intuitively; I love people, and this has given me an understanding of what might make them happier.

I have a strong feeling that we are only at the beginning of our story as a brand — of course, each and every person who wears our jewellery is a huge gift and a little miracle for us, but our ambition is to make great changes to the jewellery world in the long run. If we’ve succeeded in persuading Estonians to wear wooden Earberries, even on the most formal occasions, then I believe we could break the dominance of diamonds elsewhere as well. ;)

TVJ Earbierries collection, a rainbow of the autumn.

What are your dreams and goals for the brand, and you as an individual, next?

I’ve always been on a journey with three different paths all at once, that is how my inner-balance works. Today, I’m dividing myself effortlessly between three worlds — the most important of which of course is my wonderful family. It’s just amazing how fulfilling it is to build a world with my loved ones; to sing and dance; build ships and lighthouses with them. It’s a rare opportunity to recharge my batteries — a essential skill in life and vital for health.

In addition to that I keep pushing my brand forward and the craziest ideas that I can realise as an artist. With the brand, we are currently testing out and getting a feel for new markets, to suddenly be ‘nobody’ in the middle of an unknown world and try to make ourselves comprehensible. As an artist, I’m on a continuous journey of discovery with the topics about jewellery that appeal to me. In the future I have plans for solo exhibitions in Estonia, The Netherlands and the USA, group exhibitions in Sweden, Germany, France, Portugal, Latvia, etc. However in art, I believe there is no room for sales work — I have never knocked on any doors or sent anybody my resumes. The art speaks for itself, enough to create its own path.

As the designer, I’ve had to forget those idealistic ideas, competing against tens of thousands of brands you have to be strategic and consistent, be charmingly aggressive and confident. On that road we are at the beginning trying to get a feel for it, and have a bunch of expectations.

Photo: Heikki Leis

With a brand that is very much based on your persona, the lines between private and business life can become quite blurry. Where have you drawn the line between your personal and business life?

I am a very private person, before everything I try to be there for my family and the most intimate inner circle that I have. I am extremely home centred, I feel whole when I’m in my kitchen at home, baking a carrot cake. The valuable moments are when I’m working in my studio letting my fingers lead my thoughts.

An artist or a designer, a father or a businessman? Photo: Stina Kase

Does it mean that you perceive yourself as several separate identities?

A few years ago I split my private/artistic identity and my brand decisively, by communicating my thoughts and TVJ brand through different mediums. Even though they’re both parts of the same adjoined kingdom of dreams, I’ve knowingly created different profiles for both roles. The artist in me is much more arbitrary, emotional, fascinated by the beauty of the moment, at the centre of the brand and what makes the product superb. I’m trying to create trust and consistency with a somewhat calculated image of the brand, for example, each social media post has a certain rhythm and style. I can’t step outside of my idiosyncrasy; the belief in beauty and dignity is my language of union. So, I just let my creation gad around the world all the more!

Finally, where can people find you — both in the online and offline world?

Tanel Veenre Jewellery has its headquarters at the Embassy of Fashion in Tallinn, Tatari 6, where you’ll also find the most prominent display of our jewellery, including many examples and ‘one-of-a-kind exemplars’, everybody is most welcome to explore. But we have a substantial assortment at Goldtime stores, Kaubamaja, Les Petite, Tali, Tallinn Design House and other design stores as well. Starting from December, there’ll be a small collection of our jewellery available in Helsinki and Riga too. In the online world, we have a strong presence on Instagram and Facebook. And of course our very own online store
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