Young and enthusiastic lady who is in love with footwear is with us in this third Nerd Talk. Join us to hear what she has got to say as a successful entrepreneur…
Who really Crystal Koelmeyer is?
I am Crystal and I make shoes. I also write.
What was your first job?
I taught English for about a year before landing my dream job as a journalist at Nation. Then I quit after two years. I joined advertising as a copywriter. I quit again after about a year and a half. I’ve always been a writer. Writing is my first love. It is still my most favorite thing in the world to do.
How did Kraftsy’s story begin with you?
When I was a journalist, I had to be in shoes that would allow me to move around swiftly. At the same time, I wanted to be in something that looked much more formal. So I can walk into a product launch or some corporate event and not feel out of place. At that time, there was a void in the market for a product like the one I just described. Nothing ticked all the boxes for me – comfortable, durable and stylish. So, I started making my own shoes as a solution and that’s how Kraftsy was born. When I started out, I didn’t have plans to launch it as a business but when I first posted a picture of the first pair online, I kept getting messages, likes and before I even knew I was selling shoes to people on the Internet. I haven’t looked back since.
How did you evolve into social media driven start up from September 2015?
Like I said, I became an entrepreneur by chance, more than by choice. But when I realized that there was potential, I started taking things a little seriously. A brand identity was developed accordingly and we’ve been active on Instagram, andFacebook since.
We would like to know about your family background in brief. How are they influencing you?
I am an only child and my parents are extremely supportive.
How has your mother been a great impact in the success of Kraftsy?
She is a vocational trainer and right now she is working with me. While I handle most of the administration and promotions, she takes care of the design department.
Did you achieve your success without any barrier? Or were there any barriers?
There is a lot of competition out there. Offering a unique product I believe is the way to survive. I don’t think of competition necessarily as a barrier. It only gives us the motivation to work a little harder/better.
What are the new trends of the world with respect to handmade footwear?
We don’t follow trends per se. I think Kraftsy is all about comfort. I think the tie-ups are in. Pompom gladiators are all about the rave these days.
How does Kraftsy try to cater the market by being a global brand in the future?
We want to stick to our identity as a Sri Lankan brand. Our products, if you look at them, are unique and colorful. They have ‘Sri Lankan’ identity written all over. We want to expand to other areas like clothes, bags and accessories too.
What are your new product ranges?
We do bridal shoes now. We have something planned for the boys as well! J
We recognized you as a person who tries to be with the same wavelength of customer. What are the next milestones of Kraftsy?
I want to open ourselves up more to the international market. Locally, I want to be in more stores. We want to be a brand that’s known to all.As you know, we are very driven by customer #feetback. Our customers advertise for us. If you go through our pages you will see a lot of feedback from happy customers. I want to start a loyalty programme of sorts to reward the customers for their love and support.
All in good time.
What is the message that you can give to younger generation as a young business lady?
Start from somewhere. That’s what I did.