Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in hard crafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anjana Pai, Owner of Yarnoculous, located in Markham, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I make handmade crochet baby blankets, and most of my work involves creating cute and beautiful blankets from pixel art and images. My customers are crochet artists and makers interested in making unique handmade blankets and learning how to make one-of-a-kind handmade creative pieces.
Tell us about yourself
I was introduced to the amazing world of crochet and handmade arts by my mom, who used to do all sorts of artistic things - knitting, crocheting, embroidery, sewing - you name it, and she could do it all, and I grew up watching her turn simple, inexpensive materials into these exquisite and unique pieces which could be used all around the house. I watched her make all this but never quite picked it up - I was a nerd growing up and was too much into computers and coding to explore my creative side though I knew I had a liking for it. A few years back, I was in a high earning stable job in California and had a lot of spare time to pursue my hobbies, and the first thing that came to mind was crocheting - I started with small things - dish clothes, pillow covers, rugs, door mats - things that could be used around the house but was not selling it or making tutorials - was just a hobby. By the time I moved to Canada, I had enough experience in crocheting - I had made more than 100 blankets for friends and family and countless things for myself and my house, and I thought it would be a good time to get more serious about and share my designs with the world and then there was no turning back - I love every part of being a crochet artist and a designer and its been so rewarding and satisfying. The best part of my business is the reviews I get from my customers and YouTube family - every comment motivates me to make more useful content and share it with my audience.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is selling more than 300 copies of a single blanket pattern in my shop and having more than 20,000 views on a single video on my YouTube channel.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I would say being disciplined, consistent, and making forward progress every day. Having a small business and working from your home can get overwhelming at times, and there are times when you feel you aren't earning as much or it's all of no use - in those moments, you have to remind yourself to be consistent and keep going.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start small - we often get caught in our own heads and make these elaborate business plans, and by the time it comes to execution, we are already exhausted, and the idea no longer seems that good, and negative self-talk creeps in, and it goes nowhere - you don't need a 15-page business plan or fancy office or equipment or even staff in the beginning - all you need is a solid understanding of what you are doing and how will you execute it and start doing it.
- Observe, ask and learn - We live in times when there are tons of resources and coaching available for free or very minimal money investment - so anything that you wish to do/sell, chances are there would be information or someone to guide you on how to do it. Take advantage of it and learn from people who have already done it - it will save you a lot of time and effort.
- Word-of-mouth is still the best marketing strategy, even in today's world of social media. Harness the power of communities and if you can, ask your friends and family to pitch in and spread the word and try out your products/services - that way, you would make long-lasting bonds with your audience/customers and have a loyal following.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Often just the glamorous parts of being a business owner are advertised in media, but it can get really messy and exhausting at times - but it's 100% worth it - so make sure that you take up something that you like or have an insatiable curiosity about and it would get better with time.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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