Many of you will know by now, that as well as writing my blog, Me Becoming Mum, I also own my own business, Mama Naii’s Crochet. Over the past few months I began to slowly take on a few orders here and there, to start getting back into the swing of things, and build up to the day that I would re open my order books officially.
Well today is that day!
To celebrate the fact that I am now officially reopening Mama Naii's and I thought I would do a little write up of the story of my business. This post is not only marking the reopening of Mama Naii's but also is starting off a new blog series which I have named, "Meet the Maker".
With a mixture of some lovely guest writers, and some interviews, this series is all about celebrating the amazing small businesses out there and sharing their work with you all. There is also a cheeky giveaway running over on my Instagram account here that gives you the chance to win one of my best sellers, so be sure to pop over and enter!
Mama Naii's Crochet - The Story
When I first discovered that I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, the usual things that go through everyone's minds went through mine. I knew that I needed to register myself with the local midwives, and get the relevant checks and scans done. That wasn’t all though, almost immediately I began to think about what I was going to do about work.
At the time of my first pregnancy I was working in retail management, and I was doing upwards of fourty five hours a week, which I knew was not really the perfect place to be working once the baby arrived. All I have ever wanted was to get married and have a family. When it actually happened, however, I wasn’t sure what that meant for me. I am one of the lucky ones, and my husband earns enough to cover the costs of rent and bills and other outgoings, so I didn’t need to go back, but I had no idea how I would cope as I had been working full time for years.
Deciding not to go back to my full-time management position brought forward a whole new set of problems. What exactly was I meant to do with my time? I would have gone stir crazy if I had been home alone all day with just the baby and TV for company. After receiving a handmade crochet gift selection from one of my younger cousins shortly after our daughter Squidgy was born, I began teaching myself to crochet. I had previously tried to learn to knit, but hadn’t managed to succeed with that, but I took to crochet like a duck to water. After a short while I realised that not only was I able to do it, I was actually quite good at it!
As we began to move towards my daughter’s first birthday, and began to plan it out, we settled on a Minnie Mouse theme for it. Meanwhile I decided that I had mastered the stitches I need to really do a proper item rather than just rows and rows of different stitches and decided to set myself a challenge. I decided that I would do my usual trick of making all the bits I needed for the party (I am well known for hand-making everything I can, and home-making all the food and cakes!) but this time I would have the addition of a few crochet items thrown into the mix.
My first big project was the dress that my daughter wore, styled after Minnie Mouse herself. I also made little Minnie Mouse silhouettes in a variety of sizes which I used to make bunting, centre pieces and even party favours. I also crocheted a set of numbers one to twelve, which once attached to the silhouettes on the bunting, were used to hold up a photo from each month of Squidgy’s life to that point, a year’s worth of photos of my beautiful first born daughter. It was all pretty good (if I do say so myself!)
Friends and family who attended were amazed by how much effort had gone into the party, including all my handmade additions. It wasn't long before I had people asking where I had bought the dress, and other items from. When they realised I had made them myself, they first were shocked and some even a little in awe, soon followed by them asking me to make them items too. After making items for a few different people, I began to have messages from complete strangers who had seen the items, asking if I was available to make more items.
I decided to set myself up a Facebook page and other social media accounts, and began to advertise my wares. I chose to name my business, “Mama Naii’s Crochet” after the name my daughter calls me, the name my hubby calls me, and of course it had to include crochet, as that is what I do! I joined some friendly business boosting groups and slowly began to build my business from the ground up. I put a lot of time and effort into building my social media following, and found that Facebook was the place that I gained the most support.
Soon I was regularly getting orders, and not just from my friends and family! In just over a year I paid off all the initial outgoings I spent getting it started, and now my business is thriving. It has moved from strength to strength, growing, evolving and becoming a massive part of my life. I enjoy what I do, and everything that I make is made with so much love. There is such a massive sense of achievement that I feel every time I finish a new project, seeing it sitting before me and being able to say, “I did that”.
Over time I began to realise that certain items sold better than others. I have two best selling items, which are my amigurumi giraffe and star blankets. I have even made my girls a giraffe each, because I myself like them too! Just in case you were wondering, the giraffe was named by my hubby, who came up with, “Gerald” (or in the case of a girl giraffe, “Gloria” – yes you can laugh if you like!) I never get tired of creating these who beautiful and popular items, although I do like the odd unique customer commission!
Of course without a shadow of a doubt, the best thing for me is seeing my work out there. The fact that my items are so well loved and always enjoyed by the people that I make them for, is the best feeling in the world. I even have regular return customers! I love when notifications come through on social media, letting me know that I have been tagged in photos of people’s gorgeous children with my handmade items. Seeing something that I have spent time creating being used and loved for more than a fleeting moment makes me so happy.
I am so pleased to say that I still love it as much today, as I did when I opened my order books for the first time three years ago, and there is no sign of me giving it up any times soon (even if I do wish that there was more hours in the day sometimes!)
Don't forget to follow my business accounts on social media, to keep up to date on everything that is happening and see all my latest makes!