Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Hands Occupied Amanda | September 15th, 2011
Crafting is not for the faint of heart. It requires a perseverance, attention to detail and dedication many tend to underestimate. Failed crafting experiments can leave a person feeling useless and stupid. If you doubt this, try teaching yourself to knit.
However, there is hope for those who are not naturally craft-inclined. And it’s this week’s small business spotlight: Hands Occupied. Started by a woman whose general adorable-ness is only surpassed by her crafty talents, the site empowers people to make their own lightboxes, terrariums and even your own Bluth bananas.
Heidi took a break from her blogging and being a librarian to talk about keeping your hands occupied:
How would you explain what you do to somebody’s grandmother?
I really love arts and crafts, and decided to start writing about it online. What started as a way for me to document the crafts I was making for my wedding and to learn about website development grew to a money-making opportunity. When I realized people were interested in sponsoring and working with me, I found myself in business doing some of my favorite things: crafting & playing on the Internet.
What made you use crowdSPRING?
When I’m not crafting, I’m a librarian, and I had a really good experience using the site to find a new logo for my library. I had such a good experience that I decided to use crowdSPRING to rebrand my blog. While I am making some money, I’ve just started to break even between the cost of website hosting, the cost of craft supplies, and buying myself a nice DSLR camera. I don’t think I could have been able to afford a rebrand right now if it weren’t for crowdSPRING.
What are some industry specific challenges you faced?
It’s so important to network with indie sellers around the country in the craft world. I attend a lot of craft fairs and frequent stores carrying handmade goods. What I really want to do next is set up some craft socials in my area. I’m based in Chicago, though, so I have a pretty sweet pool of folks to draw from!
What was your biggest learning curve/experience?
Learning how to take good photos of my crafts is a work in progress. I’m a perfectionist, which can be a good thing in this industry. However, I also have to balance the practical considerations of my time working two jobs with the time it takes to capture perfect blog pics. Yes, I realize these are #firstworldproblems.
What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business?
Let’s see… I blog about crafts. One time, I got a contact high from being around too much glue and almost passed out. Another time, I dropped my phone in the tub because I was blogging-while-bathing. I roll hard.
If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?
I do all of my own web design, photography, marketing, writing, editing, and until now, graphic design. While having some knowledge in all of these areas is pretty important, I don’t need to do everything by myself. Hence, rebranding with crowdSPRING.
Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company.
If you’re passionate, it’ll pan out.
How do you see your company growing in the future?
I recently shifted from working full to part time at my day job, which was completely terrifying. I did it just in time. I’ve started to get more freelance work helping fellow bloggers and crafters develop their sites for their small businesses, in addition to getting more traffic and ad sales. I’m so psyched to see all of this happening after just 10 months of blogging! Eventually, it would be pretty incredible to get to do this full time, but for now, I’m pretty happy librarianing by day and crafting by night. But I could always use some more sleep…