For today’s interview please welcome Cathy Rowe from Cathy’sFavorites.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? My name is Cathy Rowe, I am from Penn Valley, California, about 60 miles north of Sacramento, the capital of California. I am married and have two children who are now grown and I have one granddaughter, Allison Bean. I love being a grandmother.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your craft/crafts and business. I call my business CathysFavorites, actually my son Steven named the business. It started out with us making plastic canvas kits to sell. I have added crochet crafts now and have some embroidery pieces I shall also be adding soon.
3. What first interested you in your craft? I first started crocheting when I was first married, (almost 40 years ago) as I am married to a wonderful man, who is fine with me staying at home. I wanted something creative and fun to activate my mind and keep my hands busy. So crocheting went on to knitting, and then embroidery and then plastic canvas came along. I have fun doing them all.
4. Did you have any formal training or have you learnt by yourself as you have gone along? I do not have any formal training, I have learned my crafts from instruction books and just doing them by myself. Asking a question here and there of someone who is skilled in the craft if I needed help. I found that being creative and making projects is very satisfying to me. I really love making things.
5. How did the idea for your business/website come about? Actually it was my son Steven that thought of selling plastic canvas kits, canvas cut to the pattern already to go, the instructions to be easy to follow and you place the canvas on the graph and go. You can see where each color and stitch are to be put. Then giving all you need to complete your project in one package. The yarn, canvas, needle and easy instructions and stitch guide are placed in each kit. His thoughts were that there have to be other people out there who are unable to cut the canvas to size due to health reasons (as I am, no strength in my hands to cut the plastic) or people unfamiliar with the craft that would find it hard to do. It is great for beginners or children, actually people of all ages to start a new project and have fun with it.
6. How long now have you been established? I started my etsy site in October of 2009, but I have sold at craft fairs off and on for several years. Hope to be doing selling online for several years to come.
7. How do you find inspiration and where do you locate your materials? I do a lot of internet searching for patterns and ideas, I see ideas in magazines and items that my friends make or just shopping around. (Be thoughtful of others and don’t steal their ideas or make what your friend is doing just to sell). I buy mainly from local craft stores my supplies, they are easy to find and readily available in the colors I want. I have shelves full of yarn and craft instructions.
8. Do you undertake your business/website on a full-time basis or are you also working elsewhere whilst you get it up and running? I am disabled and unable to work, so I work on my crafts when I am able to do so at my home, and I am hoping to make it successful enough to have some side income coming in. I find crafts keep me busy and it is a passion I seem to want to follow. I make each item with love and think of others who might want the project I am working on and think of what that person would like or enjoy with each item I make.
9. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business/website. I spend most of my day working on my projects, I have a day set aside for plastic canvas work, for knitting, for crocheting, for working on afghans, for a season craft to make such as for a holiday coming up, and I watch my favorite TV shows, or a DVD, or listen to a CD while I craft away. I then need to take pictures of the work and to post them to my etsy site, CathysFavorites. I find the posting part is harder to do but am working it out. I am trying to post at least 3 items new each week this year on my site.
10. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft based business/website? I would say choose something you like to do, and spend some time on it on a regular basis and do things that make you happy while keeping in mind what others might like and will get enjoyment from themselves. I also consider that I make my items in a smoke free and pet free environment and would suggest that you might consider where you choose to make your item that will be best for the products you produce.
11. How do you sell your wares – through craft fairs etc or through your own website and or Etsy or other shops? Please let us have the links to these. I sell mainly now on Etsy CathysFavorites. I am unable to do craft fairs currently due to health restrictions. When my family is home, my husband and son are driving semi-trucks now, so are unable to take me to fairs and set up my booth to sell my items at. My daughter is married and has a wonderful daughter and is busy with family and work and is unable to continue in the craft business with me. So my family run crafts is now down to me to follow through with.
For someone like me that wants to keep my mind active, and enjoys making items and has a very supportive family and friends network, doing crafts is easy and fun. I would recommend them for anyone. You don’t have to have a business to enjoy making something. Just try to do things that complete your daily living and if it turns out you can share it online and make sales that is a great blessing. Make your life what you want it to be. Here is wishing happy crafting to all. Take time to share a craft with your child and teach them a sense of pride and accomplishment. It is worth the effort.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts and reasons for me being who I am with you and others.
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