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.
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?
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?
Have you thought about what makes Tanel Veenre Jewellery stand out from the countless other brands that you’re competing with?
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. ;)
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?
Does it mean that you perceive yourself as several separate identities?
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.