Maine, what made you decide to go into this line of business?
makerMaine was originally a way for me to share my love for art. Crafting then was more of a hobby than a business. My family and friends started recognizing my works and supported me by buying my crafted items.
What's your role in it? Do you handle both the creative and the management side?
From the lay outs down to customer support, I handle all aspects of makerMaine. My husband would help me book deliveries every now and then but it’s still mostly a one-woman small business. It's not an easy feat but having a dependable support system and a very understanding significant other makes it manageable.
Did you prepare for anything before officially launching your business?
To be honest, there was no official launching of makerMaine because it only started as a platform for me to share what I love doing. When people started asking how they can buy my crafted items, I did research on how I can properly price my works. I looked around for reliable couriers and tried to find how I can ship my products locally without them being damaged in transit. I also thought of how I can pack my items in a way that the receiver would feel the love I’ve put into making their orders.
How long did it take before you received your first official order?
My first orders were really from family and friends. They empowered and enabled me to trust myself and offer my craft via makerMaine. It took a little less than 2 months for me to get an official order from outside my support circle.
And I guess the rest is history. Of all the projects that you have made, do you have any that really stand out for you?
I have three most favorite craft! The first one is this:
It's my first Cricut project. Bam (my daughter) celebrated her 5th birthday. We made her invitation cards using Cricut and I remember asking for your advice then because the cuts were initially so misaligned. It's where I was able to master getting the print and cut function right. 😂
Bam and I made about 40 of this card and she was was proud of it! She was so thrilled to give them to her classmates and I really thought she was going to give them all away. A few months later, I found out that she hid one for herself. She told me that for her, it's a reminder of our love for each other. (Awwww, that's so sweet!)
Then these are my second favorites! Daya ko no, tatlo yung second favorites.🤣 Hahaha! I cut these using Cricut's rotary blade and spent hours sewing them together. All the efforts are worth it because my kids were so happy and they were always saying then that mommy made these just for them. Katabi nila magsleep! 😅
And lastly - my third favorite are these invitation sets for my best friends' wedding. I had to cut half of these invitations manually until I was gifted my Cricut Maker. This is that "say yes to getting a Cricut already push"! Haha!
Thanks for sharing these projects that you love! What about with your business - what do you love most about running your business?
Oh, there are so many things that I love about running makerMaine. Who knew that we can actually earn while doing something that we love? It’s just amazing how this business allows me to pursue my passion in arts and crafts while giving me opportunities to earn through selling. Being makerMaine also allows me to share my craft and guide co-crafters into learning and exploring new things. I also love that through running this business, I meet friends who share the same interests with me.
Were there any challenges for you along the way?
Juggling makerMaine and motherhood sometimes takes a toll on my health. I work late at night when my kids are already asleep because it’s only then that I’d have plenty of time to craft. The problem is that I have this tendency to be a little workaholic and would sometimes not notice that I’ve already spent excessively long hours crafting, therefore losing plenty of sleep.
I also used to have this self-doubt of not being good enough; always asking myself if my craft is decent enough to sell. Will people actually have interest in what I’m making? I have always had the imposter syndrome but being surrounded by very supportive people enabled me and made me decide to push through with selling. Their support empowered me and gave me the courage to start this line of business.
Listening to you, I can hear how important your family's support is to you. Aside from support, what other things do you think newbies in this business would need in order to thrive?
It doesn't matter how small or how big a business is. For us to thrive,
a. It’s important that we know what our brand stands for (have a clear set of values that we know we can be faithful with).
b. We should have a vision, a mission and an achievable goal.
c. Then we should give value in the relationships we create with our clients (and partners too). We should give importance to good customer service. Customers love to engage with businesses that are reliable and trustworthy. In fostering this sense of trust, we need to be transparent, authentic and consistent. Authenticity and consistency mean sticking to the values and message of our brand. From every service or product, we provide, every piece of content we create, ensure that we remain true.
d. It's also very important to plan and allocate resources effectively. Part of this is pricing our crafted items properly. Always remember that time is a very important resource, and it is what we sacrifice to create quality crafted items. It is only right to make every effort count.
Couldn't agree with you more! Pricing and branding are important parts of the business that are usually overlooked.
For crafters who are planning to go into crafting as a business, I would advise them to know what they want their brand to stand for. Try to set clear values for their brand because it is only then that they can be authentic and consistent. A business will not thrive if your only goal is to earn, but it will not also work if your only fuel is your passion to create. You should try to balance both. You should set clear and achievable goals so you can always remind yourself of your “WHYs” when things become challenging. When crafting, it is normal to get inspiration from everyone in the community but it is not going to do you good if you deliberately copy or imitate someone else's work (because by then your craft would be compared and valued according to how accurately you copied, not according to how creative and beautiful your output is). It's always best to express yourself through your craft and never reproduce what is given for you to recreate. Keep in mind to allocate your resources effectively. Do not hoard things initially. It's not resources but resourcefulness that ultimately makes the difference.
Cricut machines owned:
Cricut Maker and a Cricut Explore Air2.
Favorite crafting tools:
My favorite crafting tools include my precision knives, my carving knives, my silicone brush (I use for both crafting, glue application and nail art), and my scissors! I love scissors! I hoard scissors!