Melanie Mueller is the Founder of Mel Boteri, a boutique that creates bold, yet refined leather handbags and accessories designed exclusively for each one of her clients. Mel Boteri believes that everyone deserves a luxury experience, and is committed to being bold, distinctive, confident, empowering, client-focused, meaningfully diverse and authentic as a company and brand.
What was your biggest struggle when you started and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me – and I really think any new business – is getting initial sales going. In the beginning, you are an unknown name or brand in a competitive and often times cluttered marketplace. For me to overcome this struggle, it was all about expanding my network and relationships, which is something I am very intentional with even to this day. Ultimately, we are all selling something, and we are all trying to connect with people, so relationships really are the foundation of any strong business.
What is your signature service or attribute that set you a part in your market?
From day one, we have been committed to providing quality, custom-made products and personalized service. We do not work off of cookie-cutter catalogues or seasonal collections and instead cater our products and services for each and every client– both private and corporate.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love the evolution of taking a client’s initial, creative idea and bringing it to life into a beautiful, functional, working product.
What are your 3 must have business automation or workflow tools?
- I work in a visual and creative space and so I feel that any content I put out needs to be as equally stunning and high-quality as the products we manufacture. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom app has been an essential tool for editing any images we post to social media. I find it helpful to create some presets based on your preferences and branding to quickly and easily edit.
- My manufacturer is located in Alicante, Spain and all of my employees and contractors work remotely, so Dropbox is a must have for storing and sharing data across our organization.
- And then for similar reasons, Google Drive helps with our workflow and efficiency. Google Sheets are particularly helpful for project management and this is what I use to manage and place orders with my factory in Spain.
What is your favorite business book that you have read in the past year?
MasterMind Dinners by Jayson Gaignard is a quick read and something I recently picked up for a second time. It speaks on the importance of nurturing your relationships and specifically how to create events and dinners that are impactful and valuable to yourself and others. I’ve been so inspired by the book that a friend and I will be co-hosting dinners starting this March to connect like-minded, extraordinary and fun people from all walks of life. Stay tuned for more on that soon 😉
What do you wish you would have known when you started your business?
Everyone talks about how hard it is to start a business and yet there is an unspoken expectation that things need to take off relatively quickly in 1-2 years. I am here to say to my younger self and others that the foundation of my business took about 6 years to establish and in just the last 3 years or so things have actually started to look promising in terms of scale and growth. As a friend recently pointed out “anyone can build a following quickly, but it is about having a strong belief code and guiding principles with quality product and loyal customers that will get you above all the other competition.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!