Title: From Crocheting to Clay Charms: A Creative Journey
During the circuit breaker period, many of us picked up new hobbies and passions to cope with the challenges of the pandemic. For Singaporean creator, Vanessa, it was crocheting that helped her manage her anxiety and unlock her creativity. But as her love for the craft grew, so did her desire to explore new ways to incorporate it into her life.
In this interview, Vanessa shares her journey from crocheting to making clay charms, stitch markers, and clay handle hooks, as well as the challenges and joys of being a creative entrepreneur.
Q: Can you tell us how you got started with making clay charms, stitch markers, and clay handle hooks?
A: I’ve been crocheting since I was a kid, along with my mom who was a knitter. During the circuit breaker period, I actually picked up crocheting more aggressively because of my anxiety. I’ve had anxiety since I was a kid, but it worsened as an adult, especially during COVID. I was stuck in an office job that I wasn’t happy with. I then picked up crocheting again and I realized that it was something I really enjoyed. I started my business and started selling crocheted scrunchies. One day I saw an account based in the US and the creator made really cute clay charms, and I thought, why not use the clay and put it on the hook. So that was how I got into making clay products.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the creative process?
A: I think it is market research. I think the more I go on Pinterest, the more I see what people have done, and I’m pretty inspired by all the little doodles I see!
Q: What inspires you to create?
A: I have always been creating since I was a kid, and I was really good in art in secondary school too. As a kid, I really enjoyed drawing and making stuff. I was always into stationery like colored pencils, which basically was me wasting my mom’s money haha. But I was always been a creative and crafty person all my life.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face as a creator, and how do you overcome them?
A: The current challenge is to juggle between my job and my business because the COVID restrictions have mostly been lifted. And this caused me to not be a very consistent creator, which made me feel a little disappointed with myself. This is something I have been trying to improve on.
Q: What is the most popular item in your shop, and why do you think that is?
A: The most popular item would be the onigiri design in both hook and stitch markers. It is the first design I have ever made, and I guess everyone really likes sushi! But my personal favorite is the teddy bear series!
Q: How did you get started with your business?
A: I think when crocheting was a hit during COVID, I saw keysstringsss and mongscrochet’s Instagram accounts, and I remember talking to them and asking them how they managed to do this. I basically just slid into their DMs and asked questions. So that was how I started selling scrunchies. I also did lots of trade and gave people free scrunchies!
Q: What were the biggest challenges you faced when starting your business, and how did you overcome them?
A: I think when I first started, the biggest challenge was getting support. At first, I gave out free products to my friends and asked them to please support me or spread the word. I remember giving free stuff to 10 friends, and only 2 or 3 came back to support me while the rest literally disappeared.
Q: What kind of support or resources have you found most helpful in starting and running your business?
A: I guess it’s support from my loved ones. I received lots of support from my family and especially my ex-partner. He really helped me a lot emotionally, and he also did my accounting for a while to make sure I don’t overspend. He was always there, and it was the subtle things he did that mattered to me, which made him a really good support system. For resources, it would be Shopee! I buy lots of supplies from Shopee!
Q: What lessons have you learned along the way, and what advice would you give to someone just starting out?
A: Just be open and be willing to connect with people. I think it is very easy to be distracted by social media because of the constant comparison. My advice is to cancel all the negativities and do what you are best at, someone out there would definitely appreciate your work! Another piece of advice is to really just do it. Just create an account and start posting it.
Q: What are your future plans for your business, and how do you see it evolving over time?
A: I hope to create more and gain more traction. I also would like to conduct a workshop soon or later to teach people how to do this because I don’t believe in gatekeeping anything.
We would like to thank Vanessa for giving us a chance to interview her and for the readers, we hope that you will always remember that success is not a linear journey. Embrace the ups and downs, learn from your mistakes, and keep pushing forward. Surround yourself with positive energy, and don't be afraid to seek help or guidance from others. And most importantly, never give up on your dreams. With hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn and adapt, you can achieve great things. So go out there and create something amazing!