Emilija Tumasonė and Linas Tumasonis want you to pause, just for a moment.
They are the couple behind Forrest, an online boutique that celebrates the ritual beauty of everyday life with a select line of sensational products.
Coffee, candles, and honey – right now, it’s as simple as that.
Both Emilija and Linas are strong believers in the mantra that if you believe in what you sell, then you will find an audience.
We spoke to Emilija about the new online business Forrest and how Zyro made it a reality.
I always wanted to do something with my hands, not just my eyes
I’m a freelancer, working in the field of digital marketing. I basically stare at the computer all day.
I’ve always had a lot of hobbies. I make jewelry and take photographs, but in the end, I knew that money would be the problem.
I couldn’t earn a lot of money from jewelry, but I still wanted to do something more hands-on along with my work at the computer.
The idea started when I met my husband
We were always working on our own projects, but since he owns his own business, we thought it would be nice to work on something together.
It needed to be something that we would really enjoy. I like my job, but I’m always working for my clients.
My husband likes what he’s doing, but he’s working with the medical industry.
What we needed was a hobby. Something that we were passionate about.
But my health was the trigger
I have a medical condition, and I needed to minimize the amount of coffee that I was drinking.
Instead of three cups of coffee in the morning, I only drank one, and my husband started to do the same.
So, you really have to learn to appreciate the moment. And that meant finding the perfect coffee.
Here in Lithuania, we have a lot of roasteries, but we didn’t find what we were looking for. In the end, it found us.
It was a super cool, great quality coffee from London that came to us as a gift.
It was perfect, but shipping single batches to Lithuania was a nightmare.
That was the moment that we had the thought…
Maybe other people would like the coffee, too. And soon, that idea turned into a brand.
Coffee became a ritual in our family because we would stop for twenty minutes every morning and do something for ourselves.
Yes, we drank our coffee, but I would write in my journal, and he might take the time to read something.
We decided that we all have our rituals and the things that make them.
It started with coffee, but it is the same with all our products.
We don’t have a lot of start-up money, so we only stock products that we use in our family – things that we know and trust and that we genuinely want to share with other people.
My website is like my personal boutique
I can express your personality, tell my own story and really make a painting of my business.
It allows me to reflect my passions to my customers, and from a marketing point of view, that’s so much more valuable.
Everyone says it’s better to hire somebody who really knows what they are doing when you are building a website.
But we didn’t have that possibility.
In digital marketing, sometimes I feel like I’m a translator between a designer and a client.
I don’t do work that I can’t understand because I won’t be able to deliver the message.
I know how much work and time it takes to build a website from scratch, but with Zyro, I really enjoyed the process.
It is amazing to be present in every single step. It doesn’t matter if it is website design or SEO. Zyro showed me that I could do it myself.
I can do it now, and I can feel the pulse of the website building process.
I love the responsibility of owning a project top to bottom
For me, it’s really important, and it’s the thing that I was really looking forward to in my own business.
Suppose I’m making a logo for a client.
Always, when we reach the final design I can’t help but imagine the ways it would be different if it was actually my own.
Now, with our website, the final decision is ours. I can finally trust my gut and open my creative potential.
I was learning UX. I just didn’t know it
At first, I thought a good website was all about design. But after a little while, I realized that there was plenty that I didn’t know.
I never made a website before. So, I had never thought about how to map out a website beginning with the tree of what kind of pages I would need on the website.
I had to stop and think about whether it would be comfortable and logical to go from this page to that page.
It was the next step in improving my skills and improving my website, and it all happened with simple steps, just dragging and dropping.
Once I had my website, I started to learn about how to actually sell online. You have to think about a warehouse and so many different things.
I had no idea how much I would need to know, but it wasn’t difficult. It was new and exciting.
Getting started was the toughest part
Starting something new is always difficult because you don’t feel comfortable.
I would think, ‘oh, it will be a really big job, maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.’
I remember the first time I opened a new dashboard, and I didn’t understand anything. It’s a little disheartening at first.
But the most important thing is to start even if you only have half an hour to try.
Suddenly, you will find that you have been doing it for five hours and you’re excited and have loads of new ideas.
I think it’s really, really important to simply start and to give it a go.
For me, I opened my account and thought, ‘OK, I did the first step.’ Let’s try and do the next one.
When you are doing, then you’re learning, and soon you’ll see the whole process.
I still chat with support all the time
It’s funny because, in the beginning, I was almost ashamed to bother them.
I thought that people must have bigger problems than me. So, maybe I should Google it myself and figure it out somehow.
It was only when I was genuinely frustrated that I finally texted them, and I realized, OK, they’re really cool.
The best part is that I can chat with them as I would with my friend, really, because it’s an online messenger.
Customer support is the one thing left in the world that does not go fast.
Anywhere in the world, you could wait two hours, you could wait one day and it’s normal.
At Zyro, they text you after half an hour and say, “sorry, we’re late because we were busy.”
Honestly, there’s not that much that can go wrong
I love photography. I love to take photos, and I have been looking for a platform to make a portfolio.
At the moment, I don’t do anything with those photos. I don’t sell them, but I still really want to have that space just for myself.
Right now, I use Tumblr, but I’m thinking about another Zyro website now that I understand how it works and how easy it can be.
Plus, at the price, it doesn’t matter if it is just a personal thing.
But what is important is that making a website that is just for yourself can be a start for any kind of idea.
You don’t need to say that you’re ‘starting a business’ because that sounds quite scary.
Even the word ‘business’ sounds like a lot of responsibility.
How about starting your hobby or starting your idea? You don’t need to make money from it in the beginning.
But when you like it, you will share it, and people will react to it.
Suddenly, those photos that you kept for yourself are starting to make other people happy too.
Don’t be afraid of any kind of idea that you have
I know that the Internet is full of everything. I know that the Internet is also full of candles and coffee.
But if you really have something to share, I think you will find the audience. You just need to find a way to speak with them.
And I think building a website, especially nowadays, is the most important communication platform in the world.