Many individuals have been able to earn, at minimum, a part-time income by selling their handmade creations through websites like Etsy. It has given both men and women the opportunity to take something they enjoy and turn it into a small business. It also gives some parents the opportunity to stay home with their children.
That would include Diana Gonzalez, the owner of Sweet Buddha Designs.
Diana’s talents are not limited to her business, she also blogs at Confessions Of A Craftaholic and regularly hosts classes, as well as craft workshops, through the NYC Craft Circle. To say she is a busy woman would be an understatement. However, she was kind enough to find the time to answer a few questions about her business and her life as a work-at-home mom.
What was the inspiration behind Sweet Buddha Designs?
I’m really inspired by nature, and the world around me. I’m inspired by spirituality, and the art behind religions like catholicism and Buddhism.
How long have you been knitting? What other crafty things do you enjoy?
I’ve been knitting and crocheting for about 5 years now. I also make cards, which I sell on my shop. Cardmaking is something I’ve been doing for about 3 years now. I love working with paper. I also make soap and candles, sew and do some batiking.
Why did you choose Etsy as your place to set up shop?
I like Etsy. I chose it because they have a lot of press, and have been on television, etc. It makes sense to be with a high profile site like etsy.
Did you have any previous experience that aided in the building or growth of your business?
Before this, I was a secretary, and worked at various companies. I mostly did a lot of accounting work, and work with AP/AR, so that did help a bit, but I’ve always been an artist and creative person.
In the 2 years since you’ve set up shop, what have you learned from your business?
I’ve learned to be patient. And I’ve learned that I can’t just go and try to create things I think will sell. I have to sell things that I am proud of. I have to create things that I feel genuinely inspired to create. Then people will respond.
What made you decide to go the handmade route as your business? Did you consider any other
ideas before making the final decision?
Well, being an artist, handmade is really the best way to go. I try the best I can to support handmade craft businesses and artists.
What are some of your best selling items?
Actually, it’s a tie between my knitwear and my cards. I have an old etsy shop that I ran for years, and in combination with my new shop, Sweet Buddha Designs, it’s a tie between the two. Everything I make is one of a kind and unique. I never produce more than 3 or at the most, 4 of one item. Usually I only make about 1 or 2 items. When you buy a hand knitted item from me, you are getting an item that was created and designed by me. I don’t enjoy mass production, so you won’t see very many of them.
Do you have any tricks that you’re willing to share on how you have managed to balance your business and family life?
I think it’s about having a supporting spouse. That’s the key to having time. And you have to make time. Just find the time, in between the children napping, go and work on your business. You have to make it a high priority, or it will end up on the back burner.
Do you have any advice that you’d like to share with other crafter’s interested in turning their products into a business?
Just believe in yourself, and your product. Don’t look at what other people do, or measure yourself. Don’t ever feel badly because your product looks less “mass made” or “factory made”. Always just believe in yourself and your product, and everything else will follow. Make it a priority. Make your success happen with your belief in yourself. That, and drive, are what will bring you to the road of success.
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