Our very own Elisa Maenhout tells us about her entrepreneurial spirit and endeavor with EldFluga by Elisa, a local place for premium European fabrics (Euro Knits) and vinyl applications.
When not helping the team here at Empowering Brands she’s helping her clients find the quality fabric materials they’re looking for or creating custom unique pieces for families here in Tuscaloosa.
So we are excited to help Elisa #ShareYourTuscaloosaStory
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Growing up, my mom used to sew clothes for me, pillowcases or curtains. I was never really interested but when I was expecting my first child I wanted to sew him a blanket and from that point on I was hooked.
When we moved to the US, here in Tuscaloosa I could not really find the same quality of knit I was used to in Belgium (Euro Knits as they call them here). I am pretty passionate about Belgian designers, organic fabrics and Scandinavian Designers and that’s how I just jumped in. I contacted the designers and there was my first pallet with fabrics.
Tell us about your business?
EldFluga by Elisa (EldFluga means Firefly) is a fabric business offered online trough my web-shop. I also offer hand-sewn pajama’s, bibs, blankets, pillowcases, etc. Almost anything for little babies and hoodies for toddlers and teenagers. In addition I do Monogramming and that is how the branch of vinyl got its start. All the designs are custom with client approval.
Are there any specific awards, certifications or accomplishments you’d like to highlight?
Hmm waiting on an award… ha ha. All of the material we offer is of the highest quality in premium European fabrics with high quality material certifications such as GOTS-certified or OEKOTEX-certified. You can feel the difference.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge is driving people to my site, and essentially online commerce. My clients do tend to come back and they love to spread the word with me! That gives me a pretty nice feeling and lets me know I’m doing something right!
What are you doing to overcome that challenge?
It’s definitely an ongoing process and I’m learning as I go. The most important task is – in my opinion – is keep engaging with your audience on Social Media.
How do you distinguish yourself from competitors?
I am one of the few in the US selling Euro Knits – directly imported from Belgium or The Netherlands. So that is pretty unique and the sewing community knows what to look for. I also strive to give each customer a personal touch in communication. The Elisa touch 😉
Fast shipping is very important to me! When a customer asks if I will buy in a certain fabric/brand/designer I do my best to meet their needs even if that means forwarding them to a colleague if I can not provide the product they are looking for. In my opinion it is all about doing what is best for your client. That will pay forward in the future one way or the other.
What is the best advice you’ve received lately?
Don’t be afraid to keep reinventing yourself and/or your business.
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur?
Research your market to the bottom. Make sure you have a coach in your life, to guide you when you are stuck or to share your achievements with. Besides that, I am all about “just jump”. Go for it and try and do your best.
Also, treat your clients the way you want to be treated, kindness does not hurt, it only gains your business in value and respect. And I strongly believe that when you own a small business you tend to want to support other local businesses and #ShopLocal.
Is there anything you’re currently looking for help with for your business or future goals?
I always could use more help getting my name more out there. That is my biggest issue, drive people to my website.
Are there any promotions you’d like Tuscaloosa to know about?
I would like to thank people for reading my story and offer them a discount of 15% on all products in the web-shop, using code LOCAL15
What’s the best way to reach your business?
FacebookMessenger is the fastest and easiest way to get a hold of me. I am here to help you with any question and to make an appointment. You can also visit my site www.eldflugabyelisa.com.
Where are you active on social media?