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Turn Your Hobby Into a Business

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Turn Your Hobby Into a Business

Thinking about turning your hobby into a business? 

Well then, this is the blog post for YOU! It's not easy to make the transition, but luckily we've met some incredible entrepreneurs who shared with us some of the things they've learned along the way.  

 

Kathleen Osborne from Mountain Paws

Tell us about yourself and what you do

I hand craft dog clothing and accessories. I sell them locally through Made in Greer located in Pinetop AZ; plus, I sell at local Farmer's Market & Art/Craft Events. I got into the business because I wanted hand crafted clothing for my 2 dogs (Sugar & Gigi). I am retired from the Air Force, so is my husband of 41 years. We have 2 children, 5 grandchildren and 1 great grandson. 

Mountain Paws first came into being when my husband and I moved to the White Mountains of Arizona and couldn’t find anyone who made custom dog clothing. We began in January of 2017 in Show Low, Arizona. We have a store front via Made in Greer, work the local Show Low Farmer’s Market and Art Walk. 

What advice would you give other crafters who would like to turn their hobby into a business?

One of the first things you need to do is find out if there is a need in your area – or is there an abundance of people who do the same thing you want to do. For example, there was no one where I live that does dog clothing, custom dog clothing. So, there would be a market for my business locally. But I also knew that I might be limited because I live in a small town (population about 10,000).

As you are finding your niche locally you’ll have to use trial and error to find what works for you. I found the local Farmer’s Market and Art Walk works beautifully for me – it is seasonal though. I also have tried “taking the show on the road” so to speak by going to events 3+ hours away. Some have worked, some have not. 

Go on Pinterest, visit local markets, etc. to get idea for how you could to set up a booth to draw people in. Never stop learning!!

There are so many other things I could add… but the biggest thing is if you need help ASK someone who is doing what you want to do, watch what they do – you don’t have to mimic them, but you can modify it to fit your product and personality.

What is the number one thing you've learned since you started selling your products?

To me, there are really two things:

1: You need to love what you do and have a reason why you do it.

2: You must face your fears.

I started my business because I couldn’t find anyone who made clothes for dogs – custom clothing. And I hadn’t touched a sewing machine for over 30 years; and when I did all those years ago it was not fun, it was agony. So, I had to really want to make something, be willing to touch something I had had bad experiences with and pray I didn’t screw things up. I asked my best friend to come over and walked me through opening the box that my 1st sewing machine came in. (For years she had made all her and her family clothing, so I knew she knew what she was doing.)

She took me step by step on how to use it, etc. I started with great fear and trembling, believe me. I was shocked when I made some things and share them with neighbors and friends, and got asked, “Could you make something for my dog?” Thus, a love for sewing came into being – along with a reason why; and I faced my fear of sewing. So, almost 2 years later (1.5 years of licensed business) I am so happy I did face that fear to do something I love. In the picture of me sitting in front of my Ultimate Sewing Box you can see 1 of the reason why I do what I do. Her name is Sugar – because she loves to give love and kisses to all. And if you went to my website, Facebook, and/or Etsy pages you would see she is my top model. She loves to get her picture taken.

Tricia McFarland from Ellie's Xpressions

Tell us about yourself and what you do

About 20 years ago I started scrapbooking all the activities of my family. As our children got older, I stopped. It was maybe 4 years ago that I met a group of ladies that meet every Tuesday evening creating greeting cards for their church. These cards are sent to someone who may be in the hospital, homebound, someone who may need a few extra prayers, or is a new member. I went, fell in love with these ladies, and now every Tuesday is considered girls-night-out. At first I wasn’t very good with my creations, it’s much different than scrapbooking. With time, and practice, I feel I’ve come a long way. I started making my own cards at home. Friends and family would ask me if I was selling my them. I never had any intention of doing so, but after purchasing my WorkBox, and feeling very organized, I thought why not! That’s when Ellie’s Xpressions was created. I’m slowly adding other crafts to my business, like personalized cups, t-shirts, and have started teaching myself how to sew, so we’ll see where that leads me.

What advice would you give other crafters who would like to turn their hobby into a business?

The best advice I can give is organization! If you can’t find things, it takes away from being productive. Clean up at the end of the day makes the next day go much smoother. 

What is the number one thing you've learned since you started selling your products?

Since advertising my handmade cards, I’ve realized how many people truly appreciate my work. There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into creating them.

Why did you decide to buy the WorkBox and how did you hope it would help your business?

I had been searching for a workstation for a few months. I needed something that would fit in a small spare room, and, most importantly, was made from quality materials. After seeing the ScrapBox on Pinterest, I knew it would be perfect for my needs. If having the ScrapBox could help me stay organized, I knew I could be successful with a business. So approx. a month after having it, I took the plunge and started Ellie’s Xpressions and haven’t looked back. 

 

 

Dondra Beckles from Simply Sweet Patisserie

Tell us about yourself and what you do

My name is Dondra Beckles. I live in the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados and I am the owner of Simply Sweet Patisserie which is known for great tasting cakes and superior designs. At Simply Sweet Patisserie we take pride in bringing every cake idea to life with designs that always mirror the vision of our clients.

I have always had a love for baking and initially started by making coconut bread (sweet bread), a sweet Caribbean delicacy for family and friends after receiving countless compliments I expanded into cupcakes, which with the taste and immaculate presentation were well received. I started baking the cupcakes as a way of making extra money after having lost my job in banking due to the closure of the business area in which I worked.

I love using my hands and doing anything creative, so I found making cute cupcake toppers was fun and really brought out the artistic side of me. After building a clientele for the cupcakes I began receiving lots of requests for cakes which I turned down at first because I was unsure of my ability to do something like that on a large scale. Eventually I decided to give it a try and I have never looked back since.

Simply Sweet Patisserie specializes in custom made cakes and cupcakes to order for any occasion. We also offer treats such as cake pops, rice krispe treats, sugar cookies, gourmet popcorn, mini cupcakes, chocolate cover oreos and other items for party tables. We are very proud of the work we do and have taken part in local events such as, The World Kids Fair, The Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX), The Girlfriends Expo, and Animekon. 

What advice would you give other crafters who would like to turn their hobby into a business?

Believe in yourself and your abilities. There will be times when things will happen, whether it is as a result of a person or circumstance, that will present itself as a stumbling block but its important to persevere and keep your eyes focused on what you want to achieve. It is also important to surround yourself with people who will lift you up and encourage you. Research is also very important. Knowledge is power and knowing the market for what you want to do is key if you want to succeed. Never give up! Nothing ever starts big, you have to start small but eventually you will be able to create a business that is as big as what you dreamed for it.

What is the number one thing you've learned since you started selling your products?

It is important to ensure that what I do for clients is what I would purchase for myself. I have also learnt that nothing is ever as difficult as I perceive it to be and I that can do anything once I put my mind to it.

Why did you decide to buy the WorkBox and how did you hope it would help your business?

I decided to buy the workbox because I needed something that could fit into a small space but still allow me the ability to store all my cake tools and have also somewhere to work. When I came across the work box in December 2017 it was love at first sight because it was exactly what I needed. It took me around 8 months to be able to make the purchase and so far I am loving the ease it give me of being able to work and have everything in arms reach. Having purchase the work box my hope is that it will help me to be more organized and efficient and allow me to do much more. When you have things stored all over, it can be really frustrating when you can’t find the things you need to work. The workbox solves this problem so working will hopefully be much easier for me now.

 

Do you also use your ScrapBox furniture for your small business? Reach out to us on our Facebook or Instagram and show us what you do!  

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  • Corinne Spears
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