Irina Jordan, 39, is from Oswego, USA. She started her business, Artisurn in 2013. Artisurn.com is an online marketplace of handcrafted urns, jewelry and keepsakes. It is the only site of this kind that can be found online.
Starting the Business
Q: Where did the idea for your business come from? Where were you in your life and career?
A: I lost a dear friend in mid-2013 unexpectedly and that led me into the market of cremation memorial items. I found that the existing offerings were mass produced and unappealing. In November of 2013 I decided to start an online marketplace that offers handcrafted cremation urns, jewelry and keepsakes to honor loved ones and beloved pets. In December I came up with the name of ARTISURN (a combination of of ‘artisan’ and ‘urn’), secured my domain name and reached out to artisans for collaboration. I’ve had a successful business with Artisurn since January that helps people heal and recover from their loss by finding one-of-a-kind memorial items. Prior to founding Artisurn.com, I provided marketing consulting services to local small businesses.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting out?
A: It was challenging to find the urns that people will proudly display on their mantels.
Q: What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started the business?
A: I wish I knew about many online resources and support forums available for small businesses.
Q: What would you consider your first big success in the business?
A: The first break was when Artisurn.com got featured in a highly respected industry blog with a large following.
Q: What is the toughest thing about getting to the top / staying on top in your industry specifically?
A: Educating people about the difference between mass produced and handcrafted memorial items. People are not aware there are many more options beyond a plain looking brass pear-shaped urn. They don’t realize that they can find beautifully crafted urns online that they can proudly display in their homes.
Q: Where do you see your industry heading in the next 5 years?
A: Cremations and other environmentally friendly burial options like green burials will become mainstream and more popular than traditional burials and embalming.
Q: What do you plan on doing / changing in order to keep growing in this time period?
A: I plan on adding more artisans to Artisurn.com so it is THE place to go to select a handcrafted memorial item like an urn or a piece of jewelry. I will continue maintaining Artisurn’s active social presence.
Q: What does ultimate success look like to you? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
A: I’ve achieved it when Artisurn has a significant number of customers who are proud to display their beautifully crafted memorial items in their homes.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs in the near future?
A: The ease of entry and barriers to enter / start a new business keep getting lower thanks to Internet. Entrepreneurs need to be able to keep track of their new competition and stay relevant with their product and service offerings.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your industry and wanting to make it to the top?
A: Don’t marry to your original idea and be willing to evolve quickly if needed.