Why I Quit My Job to Start a Handmade Business

Why I Quit My Job to Start a Handmade Business

Hello and welcome to this little blog! I’m Kristina, maker of all things Tiny Curl.

It made sense to start this Tiny Curl blog adventure here, where it started for me. So I will tell you the story about why I started my handmade crochet business, Tiny Curl. Click ‘Continue Reading’ below to read it!

A Little History
I have always had a big imagination. As an only child, I learned early on how to play by myself. I could spend HOURS drawing or making up elaborate back-stories for my dolls. I think I had every one of those DIY “crafts kits,” from pony bead animals to friendship bracelets to needlepoint art.

As I got older, my love of drawing and crafts only grew. Every margin in my school notebooks was filled with doodles. But, they were always just hobbies. I was a dedicated student and didn’t consider my creative work to be particularly good or special. It didn’t occur to me that you could pursue a fully creative life and support yourself with it.

Jack-of-all-trades
I am good at a lot of things. My knack for a variety of randomness has always made it extremely hard for me to figure out which path to take. At one time or another I have been an amateur makeup artist, a book-editing intern, a vegan food truck owner, a graduate student, a marketing strategist, and more. And I am only 28 years old! I am the go-to friend for graphic design, branding, photography, paper editing, DIY crafts, party throwing, and make-up. And I love to do it all!

I envy people that have always known what they were born to do. People that are genuinely obsessed with one thing and are great at it. Even if they aren’t great at it, what a relief to settle on one thing.

I realized I don’t just want to be good at a lot of things, I want to be great at a few things, too!

Finding My Thing
I learned to crochet in 2012 because I wanted something to do on a long road trip from Miami, Florida to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I learned by watching YouTube videos and started making an African Flower blanket (above) using this pattern from Yvestown that I STILL haven’t finished. But, I did catch the crochet bug! Crochet is the perfect solution for my fidgety hands. I love the feeling of yarn and its endless colors and possibilities.

A while later, I made my first crochet doll, Henry (below)! I love that I can bring my doodle characters to life with crochet, something I couldn’t get from illustration alone. It gave me such a thrill that people were liking the quirky crochet dolls, brooches, and jewelry I was making, and the idea for Tiny Curl was born!

Making the Leap
The biggest hurdle I had in pursuing a creative life and launching my handmade business was MYSELF. I told myself my creativity wasn’t good enough and therefore I shouldn’t do anything with it. Or that to be a successful adult I needed to have a typical job with a steady paycheck. But living this way neglected what my real definition of success is: doing what you love to do consistently and with gusto.

I have to say that my mindset really changed after reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. In Big Magic, Liz completely broke down all of the excuses I had been using for years. As silly as it may be, I really needed the “permission slip” to put my creative pursuits in the driver’s seat and do what I needed to do to support it. And because I realized that this creative urge wasn’t going anywhere, I may as well work with it instead of against it.

For me, this meant leaving my full-time job as marketing strategist at a retail agency. My clients were big name brands like Absolut and Bed Bath & Beyond and I worked on huge strategy briefs that occupied the majority of my life. I was good at my job and enjoyed many aspects of it, but it left me very little time for my own creativity. I would squeeze in doodling while on calls or crocheting at night, but it simply wasn’t enough.

So I decided to quit my job and open my handmade business, Tiny Curl! I am very risk-averse and like to do things by the book (terrible for my creativity, I KNOW). But there isn’t a guide to living your own life. You kind of have to make that one up as you go. And it had gotten to the point that it was more of a risk for my personal well being NOT to pursue my creative dreams. While I didn’t find a guide for my perfect life, I did find The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin to be extremely useful in opening the Tiny Curl Shop.

Tiny Curl Crochet Family

Keepin' It Real
I know quitting your job is not reasonable for many people. I really lucked out because I have an extremely supportive and encouraging husband, Kyle, who believes in me more than I believe in myself at times! He is currently financially supporting us while I navigate the start of Tiny Curl and set a good pace for myself. We also don’t have any kids to support (just 4 cat babies), which I know makes life infinitely more simple.

BUT, I feel strongly that with a bit of work and will, everyone can start living the creative life they want NOW. Even carving away an hour a day for a creative practice will add up. And if you feel you don’t have enough time in your life, like I did, there are always ways to make changes! Just do you and do what feels right for your life.

The Blog
The Tiny Curl story has really just begun. I launched my shop on January 20th, so not even a month ago! But I am endlessly excited about the possibilities and am so glad to share my journey with you, dear reader!

Tiny Curl is all about bringing fun, happiness, and brightness to your every day.

My hope for this blog is to bring the fun while being as open and honest as possible, because there can always be more of that in the world!

Weekly* fun will include:

  • Tiny Curl Shop updates and news (and perhaps the occasional discount!)
  • Crochet patterns
  • Crochet tips, tricks, and techniques
  • Product reviews and recommendations – the things I can’t live without
  • My take on creativity and life
  • Illustrations + doodles
  • Inspiring makes and makers from around the web

* I will try my darnedest to post at least once a week, but life may have other plans.

Until then, check out the Tiny Curl Shop and follow me on Instagram!

xo kristina

 

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12 Comments

  1. Kristina,
    Thank you for telling your story. I had to read because I myself left a life of full time employment in December so that I could put all my energy into Florette. It has been scary, and luckily like you I have the most amazing supportive husband. Your work makes me smile every time it pops up in my Instagram! Best of luck in this crazy wonderful journey we are both on ❤ Dawn

    1. It is super scary, but it makes me feel so much better to know that I am not alone on the handmade business adventure! And keep up the amazing work you are doing!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve wanted for years to be self employed with my own creative business. I don’t make anywhere near enough money at it to support myself yet, but I’m steadily working on improving my creations and branding myself. Funny you mention having a vegan food truck. I’m vegan and am very sad that the name veganhooker was taken on Instagram, or that’s the name I would have chosen haha!

    1. Growing and branding your creative business is an accomplishment in itself, so congrats! And VeganHooker would have been awesome, lol! My vegan food truck was called Mushaboom and we sold mighty tasty vegan burgers 🙂

  3. It’s like I’m reading my very own biography! We have so much in common! Big Magic, taking the leap, jack of all trades, being risk averse …. omg! I congratulate you for being brave and accepting life for what it is: a fantastic ride! Can’t wait to read and see more of Tiny Curl! I’m a fan.

    1. Thank you so much, Zania! Big Magic was such a turning point for me! I have never really been a “self-help” type book person, but Liz Gilbert speaks to me! I’ve so been enjoying watching your creative mama life, too!