It has been a while - almost 2 years since my last blog post and whew... a lot has happened since then. In April 2014, I decided to make my crafting hobby a professional enterprise. In a nutshell, it meant that no longer would I be a full-time mom of 2, crafting for fun, but rather an entrepreneur struggling to juggle the demands of a fledgling business and the needs of my two little monsters.
When I began, I was a one-woman-shop working from my craft table at home to service the orders I received. Since my kids were still quite small, I was always crafting late at night hence the name of my business. I created a Facebook page and starting getting orders via Facebook and Whatsapp. As the work started coming in, I hired one girl to help and very soon after I needed a second girl. They worked from my dining table. My craft materials found place in all sorts of makeshift locations including my mom's garage and for a while we were ok. But very soon, by August 2015 Crack of Dawn Crafts became too big to operate from home. I needed to hire more staff, needed more space for my materials and needed my house to become a home again!
Very fortuitously I found a studio space right next door to my apartment and grabbed it in a heartbeat. I decided since I was just starting out, it was better to hire rather than purchase furniture to fill it up. I set up the equipment, hired more girls, lined up my suppliers, negotiated special rates for services like printing and couriers and while all this was going on, Crack of Dawn Crafts was building up a fabulous customer base.
But... It sure was hectic! It was CRAZY hectic! I found myself working ALL...THE....TIME!!! I was designing new projects and managing production of confirmed projects. I was running to the printer, the paper supplier and the courier office all day. I worked from 5am to midnight 7 days a week! It was INSANE, excruciating but very very exciting! With each crazy day I was learning something new and this knowledge became the experience I desperately needed to build this entity.
Today 2 years on, the landscape has changed. We are not a one-woman-shop anymore but a team of six employees all of who are really good at their work. My girls (God bless them) turned out to be wonderful additions to the business and it is due to their painstaking attention to detail that we are able to take on large bulk orders and deliver them without any compromise on quality. Gratefully I am no longer so overworked. One of my original staff members turned out to be a total rockstar and she has become the supervisor of the studio, managing production. Another girl handles packaging, another quality control and another takes care of purchasing. I hired a office boy/ driver to do all the running around and with that there were finally more hours in the day.
My role has become more of designer rather than producer. I figure out what the client wants, design something to match her requirement, then show it to my fabulous team and they re-create it in bulk. In this way we are able to take on more custom work because I don't have to worry about production at all. The team takes care of that while I focus on designing.
The sales channels have also widened greatly. We have our own dynamic website where customers can place orders and pay online. Crack of Dawn Crafts products are listed on 3 major marketplaces with umpteen more in the pipeline and collaborations with a number of event planners, chocolatiers, bakers and other linked businesses. Also with it being our second year in business, we have so many repeat customers who have come back for the Crack of Dawn Crafts touch!
It has been fun. It has been nerve wracking. It has been INTENSELY rewarding. And I would say it is JUST beginning. There are so many ideas I want to implement, so many avenues I want to attempt and so many opportunities I want to explore!
Well...explore them we will! And blog about it every step of the way as that's what the focus of this blog is going to be from now on!! 2016 is going to be the year where we take a moment to reflect on the highs and lows of the week and what better way to do it that with the blog that started it all. So stay tuned as we share snippets of the journey which will hopefully be interesting... and ..... regular!