Have you ever struggled to find jewellery for the men in your life? I have, especially when we were shopping for wedding rings. If only this weeks creative corner interviewee Dzefer had been around then. My shopping would not have been so difficult. Read more to find out more about Aleksander and his beautiful work.
My name is Aleksandar and I am a father, a husband, and the owner, designer, and creator at Dzefer. Now 28, I started working as a carpenter at the age of 18. With the 10 years of experience working with wood, I have learned that each wood has its own beauty and virtue. I love carpentry, but selling furniture online is a daunting task. Instead, I fill my creative needs by making these unique wedding rings. At first, it was something I wanted to try my hand at but now it’s something I love. This new passion gives me a way to create new things while spending so much more quality time with my son. At the end of the day, he is my main inspiration for this e-commerce challenge and every moment is worth it.
2. Tell us a bit about Dzefer.
Dzefer is a small handmade business run by my wife and I. The focus is entirely on alternative wedding bands. Finding brand new ways to create them is always the goal. I design and create all the rings, and she is the technical backbone of the operation. That is the marketing and adding listings online. Really anything that involves work on the computer. She did study programming after all and I’m just a regular user like most people. A small team but a great one, we have come to know all our amazing customers pretty well. In some small way, we travel the world with each ring we send out.
3.What made you start your own business?
We created our small business in the hope that we could make some extra cash. Soon, it turned into the best thing we’ve done. From the quality family time we managed to get back, to this new “business” relationship we have, Dzefer has become a big part of our life. Before even attempting e-commerce, I really thought it was a silly idea. A weird concept. Now, just over a year later, I wish I did it sooner.
4.Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
As a carpenter, I was formaly trained as an apprentice and now am a master carpenter myself. I specialize in big construction. I worked on building wooden roofing beams and the general skeletons. As a jeweler, I am self-taught. However, in order to keep expanding my business, I am looking into finishing a jeweler’s apprenticeship. This will allow me to learn even more about my new trade.
5.Explain your creative process.
Everything starts with the wood itself. If I am making a ring that is already designed, I first have to choose the piece of wood that will work best. As is the nature of wood, each piece has its own grain and knots. Only the best parts of the wood are used. Knots are avoided completely and so are any thin, overly dry pieces.
When creating a new ring, I first examine how the wood bends, reacts to water, and so on. Then it’s a matter of combining it with metal, stone, or gemstone and deciding what looks best. I only add the items I am happiest with to our store.
6.Describe your typical day.
My typical day starts with a cup of coffee, because that is the only perfect way to begin. Then, ideally, breakfast. Next, I check any e-mails, requests, or questions our customers may have. Sometimes I have to run out and do some carpentry work, but this isn’t too often. If I have no other obligations, I sit and work on the orders I have. I don’t have a typical work day as I like to change it up. Some days, I’ll work at night, others during the day. The beauty of being your own boss is you get to go to the beach when the day is perfect and stay home when it’s raining.
7.What’s your biggest seller?
At the moment, our best seller is the men’s rustic copper wedding band. It’s the perfect copper wedding ring because the wood is on the inside. This allows people with sensitive skin to wear it with absolute comfort. The ring is made to be wide (about 7-8mm) as that’s the best width for larger men’s sizes, but we can make it as thin as 5mm if needed. We have also added the same ring with a walnut inlay and plan on adding more wood options to this great piece.
8.What have been the high and low points of running Dzefer?
The highest points have been our first sale, our first great review, all the amazing people we meet, the extra free time I get. More than anything, however, the creative process itself. My favorite part has to be creating new rings. The low points are tackling SEO and the various Etsy algorithms. With so much competition for all kinds of things online, it can feel discouraging at times.
9.What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
I would say that my top tips are: You have to be prepared to work hard even if it feels like no one is noticing. Delegate the things you feel are not your strong point (me and computers). But more than all that, follow your gut. Your creative instincts will always be better and more in tune than whatever anyone else thinks. If your gut is telling you something isn’t working, it probably isn’t. If you know a product is amazing, work hard at showing others your point of view rather than asking them for theirs. You know what you’re doing, just believe it and don’t give up.
10.What are your aspirations?
My biggest aspiration is to continue to grow Dzefer. To keep adding new designs and materials. We have recently added our first ever golden wedding band and that is a path I want to keep exploring. Adding the best materials and the most interesting combinations is the constant goal.
11.Where can we find you?