What do you make? How did you get into it?
I have made a variety of handcrafted accessories, from bejeweled blings and fashionable frills, and have since evolved to the latest outdoor survival trappings. I have a bunch of teenagers now who are athletic and outdoorsy, so my creations are inspired by them. Charmed Crafts specializes in Handmade Paracord Accessories such as Bracelets, Keyrings, Pocket Watches & Wristwatches. We also have Outdoor Paracord Survival Bracelet & Keyring Starter Kits for DIY enthusiasts, Charmed Fashion Accessories (Bagcharms, Ribbon Bookmarks, Bracelets, Keycharms), Handmade Coconut Lamps, and Tie-dyed shirts & tank tops among others. The crafts I create at Charmed Crafts vary with the times as I adapt to my family’s growing interests.
I started crafting a couple of years back as I made personalized gifts to give to family and friends, business colleagues, and my kids’ classmates & teachers during Christmas time. The “About Me” portion of my Fb page sums this all up, and I’d like to share with you what I wrote:
“If there’s one thing I am passionate about, it’s crafting. I have long traded the corporate garb for the more comfy homemaker’s and with crafting, not only can I take time off when I want to, I’m free to run errands and spend my day doing the things I love to do most. It keeps me busy as the family heads off for the day and I am all by myself at home. I can blissfully sit for hours on end with pliers in hand, hunched over a selection of beads & findings, and wrap myself in a cocoon of inspired creativity. With sore hands and backside, and many hours later, I stretch back and marvel at the most beautiful creations I have fashioned for the day. At times it keeps me up late at night when I have orders to fill out. I do not really mind doing this, especially after receiving raves from satisfied customers. Not to mention the perks of extra cash I make on the side which allows me to bring the family out for a special treat on weekends. It gives me such joy to create, and I am quite fond of each and every outcome of my handiwork. I love the feeling of accomplishment after creating something extraordinary with just an assortment of craft materials, an inspired idea, and my hands. Crafting is a form of therapy for me as it both soothes and energizes my spirit. As each day passes I become increasingly adept at designing new things, and I do enjoy the work immensely. Handcrafting equates to a happier and more fulfilled me. I believe that when you work on something you naturally love doing, the rewards are endless.”
Are you a full-time crafter? If not, what is your day job?
I do freelance real estate brokerage, mainly I handle leasing and sale of condominium units for friends and family.
What motivates you in pursuing this business?
People in general have a soft spot for things that are handmade. I can see that there is also an increasing demand for bespoke items. I believe that it can be a profitable venture in the long run.
What are some of the challenges of maintaining a craft business?
Sourcing of materials can sometimes be a challenge. At times I end up buying more supplies than what I need for fear of not being able to find the same items again in case I’ll be needing more in the future. I end up storing tons of unused materials when I move on to do another project. There’s also the influx of “China made” items which flood the market at such cheap prices, it can be frustrating to have your custom made items compared to those with inferior quality and workmanship. For crafters like me who join craft venues within an outdoor setup, the unpredictable weather also poses as a menace. Also, as I would like to share my craft to as many people as I can, this can be a challenge if there are multiple events happening at different venues. Getting trusty and trained help to assist will make things a lot easier, alas finding the right ones are a challenge. When consigning your items, be prepared to wait it out as it may take months before you can actually get paid on your initial delivery.
What’s a new skill–craft or business–that you’d like to learn?
I’d love to experiment in the direction of leather and wood punching. I would also like to expand the business and set up my own “craft bar” in the future, if given proper guidance in setting up shop. I’d also like to be able to sell online internationally, I would really appreciate help from someone who’s already doing the international online selling scene.
What’s your most recent craft business milestone?
I’ve recently offered workshops on Survival Paracord gear making. The Firestarter Survival Paracord Bracelet workshop is a crowd favorite.
What is your favorite lesson in your experience of your business?
I am still in the learning process. One lesson I learned though is to avoid overstocking. Bite only what you can chew. Hoarding materials will not be profitable in the long run, unless you have a physical store to supply to. Trends change so you have to consider that when buying raw materials (e.g. getting stuck with silver components when the current trend is goldtone sucks!).
What craft business advice can you share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
One advice I can give to aspiring craft entrepreneurs is to be selective of the events that they join. The success of a craft event will be highly dependent on good foot traffic, sound marketing/advertising will draw the right target market in, and having a conducive environment of friendly exchange between the event organizers, purveyors and the buyers will spell accomplishment and happiness for everyone. Look for events/venues/organizers that support budding entrepreneurs by offering collaborative workshops to showcase creative talents and unique set of skills at an affordable rate.
Um, if you were a craft tool, what would you be? And why?
If I were a craft tool, I’d probably be a set of pliers. I’d like to be able to fashion an assortment of things, and pliers are exactly designed to be used for such multiple purposes.
What can we expect to see from you guys at the upcoming Maker’s Market?
At the Charmed Crafts booth one can expect to see a collection of outdoor inspired Paracord accessories (various designs of bracelets, keyrings, self-defense gear, wrist/pocket watches, etc.) and DIY kits. We will also be showcasing our Charmed Fashion Accessories (Bagcharms, Ribbon Bookmarks, Bracelets, Keycharms), and our latest Coconut Lamps.
Where else can we find your work?
On most Saturdays, you can see us at the Greenfield Weekend Market located at the Greenfield District Central Park along Mayflower Street near the corner of Shaw Boulevard.
You can also find us on Facebook, just visit https://www.facebook.com/MadeWithLove.CharmedCrafts and