Recently I reached out to several Chicagoland crafty business owners to see what they had to say about running a creative business. I’ve learned a lot! Hopefully you will too. Meet Josephine from Abuela Creations! After seeing this article where she was featured, I couldn’t wait to get to know her more!
What inspired you to begin your business?
After the birth of my first grandson, I started focusing my creativity on items geared towards babies and moms that were beautiful but also highly functional and well made. I started searching for fabrics that would wash well and be breathable for a baby, yet stylish and comfortable for mom. Eventually more and more people started to inquire about my products. I decided it was time to give myself a name. Naturally the name Abuela Creations, which means Grandma in Spanish seemed to fit perfectly.
Why do you craft? How did you learn?
I have always had a passion for sewing and crafting. As a young girl, I learned sewing basics from my mom and older sister, knitting from an elderly neighbor named Kay and crocheting and embroidery from my Aunt Esther visiting from Mexico. What I didn’t learn from these incredible women I tried to figure out on my own. I love the creative process of a project and the satisfaction of completing it to the best of my ability.
As a crafter, what makes you unique from other crafters?
I believe I am different from other crafters in that I happen to be a grandmother and it gives me an opportunity to have a pulse on what’s helpful to young parents and caregivers. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when someone tells me that they love a particular item and absolutely have to have it.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel most creative when I am coming up with a pattern to make something new. I visualize how to make it happen and then I am energized to get going and make it happen.
What things do you do to market your business?
Many of my products are featured in the retail section at Sod Room in the South Loop. I love the idea of having a local place to stock my items, however, I do sell through my Facebook page, at craft fairs, consignment sales and by word of mouth. Recently I started using Instagram to take photos of my items as well.
How do you decide what you are going to sell?
I have over time been increasing my inventory. When I make something new and showcase it, the consumers usually let me know what they especially like and I go with their good opinions.
What things do you know now that you wish you knew from the beginning?
I used to be concerned that I would not be able to complete certain custom projects because they were beyond my capabilities. In retrospect I see that if I take my time to analyze the job, I can do it, absolutely!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to start their own handmade business?
Be confident in the quality of the items you are creating and enjoy the journey.
Thanks so much Josephine! It was great to hear your insight.