Warning - the photos in this interview are so cute they'll make your uterus hurt!
Who is the woman behind Beanie Designs?
I'm Yacine, a stay at home mom to 3 beautiful children. I'm from Senegal, a country in West Africa where you will find the most loving and kindest people. Came here when I was a child, grew up here, fell in love with the US. When I'm not working you'll find me in the kitchen cooking a lot. I love food. I speak four languages, love to read, love to search about anything on Google when I'm bored. Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet?
How did you come up with the idea for Beanie Designs?
Not many people can say that their husband taught them to crochet. Well I can! My wonderful husband took the time to teach me the intricate art of crochet and I have been addicted ever since.
At first I crocheted to relax. That was before my baby girl was born. I became obsessed with crocheting her adorable little hats and blankets. Then I realized the total satisfaction of sharing my one-of-a-kind creations with other mothers and Beanie Designs was born!
Crocheting is more than a hobby or even a business to me. It's a passion, and that passion comes across in each special hat I offer you. I look forward to crafting a special hat just for you and your baby!
Is this your first business? Was it a big investment financially?
This is actually not my first business. I was an ebay seller selling cartridges. I was making a lot of money with that but I was more passionate about selling my handmade hats. I spent a lot of that ebay money buying yarns!
I sold my hats on etsy at first which did not require much money. When I decided to start my own web site I realised a serious online business does cost money. It's a big investment if you are serious about the site design and marketing.
How did you create your web presence? Do you spend a lot of time on the internet?
I strongly believe the saying that good products sell themselves. Our website, facebook page and twitter help make it easy for people to find us. I must say, I also have some of the sweetest customers, they help get the word out about Beanie Designs.
I spent a lot of time on the internet just learning about the basics of online business. After a lot of research I realized it was best, for me, to hire some help while I focus on what I do best, providing the products.
A helpful websites for ecommerce owners is http://practicalecommerce.com/
I also like the etsy forums business section. I used to spend a lot of time there reading and answering questions. On the forum you just feel like you are among people who understand you. It's a great community for handmakers to share ideas and get help.
Is Beanie Designs now your full time job?
I will say I have two full time jobs. The first is the kids and Beanie Designs comes second. I work early in the morning when the kids are not up yet and late at night when the kids are asleep.
How do you create the work/ life balance?
I will say this is the hardest part with working at home. It takes a lot of discipline to balance it and I'm still working on it. My biggest help on this is my husband who sometimes just takes a day off work for me to catch up with my work.
One thing I will advise work at home mothers is no matter how busy you are, make it a goal to never let the TV babysit for you. Once I made that decision I found it easier to take time away from the computer and work to play with the kids or to find them healthy activities to do while I work.
A downside to being a busy work at home mom is the lack of a social life outside of the home. Most times the only adult conversation I have excluding my husband are with people online. Some friends just quit calling me because I didn't even have time to return phone calls. I hope to win them back soon :)
What inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Online women business owners, who've been there, done it and are doing it. My kids and yes, my husband, make keep me happy. Right now my 2 year old is hugging and kissing me. At the end of the day that is all that matters.
There are so many gorgeous hats on the Beanie Designs web site. What are some of your favourites?
I love the cable style earflap hats not only because my son is modeling them (how gorgeous is he!) but during winter they wear it a lot and we get lots of compliments.
Another favourite is this white knitted hat. When you see this hat in real life is when you appreciate it's true beauty.
It's so simple yet so cute.
When we're packing orders I often find myself staring at this hat. Our customers are usually impressed when they receive them. The quality is quite impressive and I'm honestly not just saying this because I'm the owner. :)
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