Crafting a Successful Business from Hobby to Work-at-Home
The Greater San Angelo Crafts Guild (GSACG) hosted its second show of the year over the weekend, showcasing handmade handicrafts from area residents with a creative flair.
Items from jewelry to wreaths, candles and soaps, to knives, embroidery and even clothes were on display on Saturday and Sunday, however the guild is more than just business for many, it’s about fun and community involvement.
“I still work, I work 12 hours a day. This is my play time,” GSACG Vice President Carol Cruz said. “Sometimes we barely make booth rent, but you never know what the situation is, that people might come and want to buy.”
Cruz had several items for sale on Saturday, but she also gave a demo on making special gifts for retirees. “A lot of people have been retiring, so we pass a little bucket around and ‘say so-and-so is retiring, would you like to contribute?’ We make little corsages and mum-type things,” Cruz said. “Everyone signed a little message.”
For a number of Crafts Guild members, the hobby has become a full-time business. Adversity was a common theme among many of these, who have overcome their conflicts and built a business out of passion.
Misty Hawkins, owner of Double H Custom Jewelry, stood at a stand selling beaded necklaces with cross pendants and a lot of ‘bling’. These are her most popular items, she said. San Angelo loves ‘bling’.
Like many crafters at Saturday’s show, Misty’s business grew out of the unfortunate.
“I was disabled,” Hawkins said. “I needed a hobby to keep my stress level down, so I started making jewelry and made it into a business.”
Hawkins had been suffering from seizures associated with stress and was forced to take a sabbatical. She and her husband, Justin Hawkins, now run the business from their home, and make everything together with their children.
Hawkins does custom work upon request and makes the majority of sales via Facebook. Her personal favorite item is a necklace made from green apple turquoise with a zebra-striped cross pendant.
Also present at the Guild’s Fall Festival on Saturday were Kisha and Julio Arzeno, owners of Kzeno Star, a company selling all-natural bath and beauty products.
“It all started when we were in Japan,” Kisha Arzeno said. “I had a really bad skin reaction to the soap…we were trying everything on the market that said ‘all natural’, but because we were in Japan, we didn’t have access to stuff like people get here in the states. So I was like ‘I’m going to have to start making this myself,’ and it wasn’t until I started making it that it cleared up."
Kisha Arzeno got her start in a Japanese kitchen with a lot of experimentation. It took her a while to master the method, but she ‘put her science skills to work’ and has come up with a variety of soaps, scrubs and masks made from essential oils and natural scents. Even beer has been used for its moisturizing properties, but Arzeno assures you won’t walk around smelling like a brewery.
Around the holidays, Arzeno makes special cupcake soaps with close attention to detail. She says that these are quite-labor intensive, due to the piping and decorating that she applies to each individual cupcake so that they come out looking like the real deal.
“Believe it or not, I used to love to cook,” Arzeno said with a laugh. “Now I just cook products.”
While she might not cook as much anymore, Arzeno says still makes a mean cupcake, and differentiating between the edible and washable sorts has had its repercussions. “We’ve had to start putting disclaimers on them so people don’t eat them,” Arzeno said. “I had one friend…get up in the middle of the night and take a slice out of the soap.”
Each of Arzeno’s bars takes between one to three hours to make, depending on the soap type and appearance. This winter, Arzeno is planning on making snowman soap instead of the cupcakes to do something different, she says.
Like Hawkins, Arzeno does the majority of her business via Facebook, but has a website at www.kzenostar.com.
For more information on the Greater San Angelo Crafts Guild, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GSACG. For more information on Double H Custom Jewelry, contact Misty Hawkins at [email protected], or on Facebook under her name.
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