In Conversation with Joanne Ly of Minima Basics

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Describe your business in a few words?

Minima Basics is a female-founded company, created by yours truly. Whether you’re a fempreneur, a creative, a side-hustler, or simply a woman who appreciates the importance of aesthetic organizers. Minima Basics has all the goods to get your mind on task, and the creative juices flowing. We offer a range of desk organizers in acrylics and marble along with other stationery must-haves! All of the pieces are designed personally by me, with deep-thought and intention.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I started Minima Basics because I was sick of feeling trapped by clutter and distractions that were present in my workspace. Simply put, it was off-putting and totally blocked my creative flow. So, I wanted to create simple, modern, aesthetically pleasing home-office and organization goods. To put all of you creatives and side-hustlers in the right space to create… whatever that may be.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I studied marketing in college and I worked in several e-commerce shops in the past. I am also currently working at my 9-5 in a company that wants to change the world of retail. But, still my main job is to do marketing strategy for that company. 

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes, because I always wanted to start something on my own. I also wanted to have a purpose behind my business and telling stories. My parents are entrepreneurs as well, they started their own restaurants and also homeowners. Definitely, entrepreneurship runs in the family!

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

I started with organic marketing: social media, blogging, and a lot of hyping around my friends. I also launched some influencer campaigns around Canada. It definitely didn’t go as planned, but I learned a lot! It is only at a later stage where I started with paid ads and more PR, which definitely worked better. I still do have a lot to learn.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

Not starting my Minima Basics Instagram page early enough and not having a longer launching period. It is so important for brands, any brands, whether service or product-based business to hype your audience. It is also a way to validate your idea before you order in large quantities.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

That I was able to start what I love to do and build a brand. I am also able to take this as my learning experience while trying to make an impact. I am so glad that I am surrounded in a community full of women, trying to empower other women. And this is super important for me and I will always be talking to inspire other women.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

My business has been impacted positively, but still a little bit too slow. However, I can tell a lot of people are working from home and are in need of a good work set up.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

I want to offer more office supplies products, expand collections and lines and get a little bit more general in terms of products. I eventually want to be part of larger distributions or doing wholesaling (being the distributor). In the longer term, I want to create a loyal fan base where everyone can share their tips and tricks and add value to one another. 

I plan to collaborate with women empowerment communities and want to teach what I learnt throughout my journey. I do believe that we should raise awareness on how to start a business when I have the knowledge of it.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

That it’s the best time to keep working hard and create new content. Everything is shifting so I need to adapt. Never be stuck in the same place for too long.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Having a better launch, preparing others and also doing more research on my audience. Get to know who is out there that could be a great collaboration with Minima Basics. I definitely collaborated before and I had amazing ones.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Planning and rethinking my vision. I always have my yearly goal and remind myself what I want to achieve. I also needed to keep a book to note down all my gratitude. I just really needed to remind myself how far I came and never give up.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Yes! It is super important to know when your body needs rest. After work, take a break for 15 minutes to snack or to stretch. Then, only work on your business for 2 hours. And, have a great night time routine. Being in a 9-5 is very hard and requires a lot of commitment and discipline. It’s like juggling between two full-time jobs. But, you can do it! It is also important to take 1 day off just for self-care. Social media detox or even phone detox. I know how hard it is because when I don’t have my phone, I am in total paranoia.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I am absolutely obsessed with anything white, marble and pink, JUST THE MINIMALISM!

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

I give a lot of productivity tips on my blog, but the main ones I follow everyday are: 

  • Plan your day. 
  • Take a break (use the Pomodoro technique).
  • Start your day with a morning routine (a good cup of coffee).

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

I love the word Entreprenista, an entrepreneur and a barista? I love coffee so so much. You are a maker and creator of your own coffee (an art). Coffee gives me energy, fuel and it makes me creative, so definitely! I would love to have this title now on any social media haha!

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