From Hobby to Income Earner: The Story of Craftiva246 Designs
Richelle Taylor was pretty much a reluctant entrepreneur. As a teenager, she made wall décor and jewellery “just for fun” and she would give the pieces away.
She recalls that everyone kept telling her she should go into business and charge for her work, but she was hesitant.
“My response was always ‘I’ll think about it’. I was doubtful that I could make that a reality because I would ask ‘am I ready for entrepreneurship?’ ‘Is it really for someone like me?’” she says.
It took some time for her to begin seeing jewellery-making as more than a hobby. However, Richelle eventually realized that by charging for work, she would be able to buy more materials and experiment even more.
Craftiva246 Designs began in 2015 when she launched a very small jewellery collection at Agrofest “just to test the waters to see the level of interest the pieces would attract”.
Richelle soon began selling her pieces at various trade shows and markets and recently, she has been taking part in pop-up shops with other creative entrepreneurs.
The 21-year-old designs and makes a wide variety of
jewellery. She uses suede for her bohemian-inspired pieces and glass, wooden
and gemstones beads in her other work. She offers two main collections: Hunted
which is a nature-inspired men’s line and Festive Summer, a limited collection
of statement pieces made from vibrant African print fabric and wood.
Like many of the designers featured on this blog, Richelle’s love for fashion started early. She played lots of dress up games, sketched fancy outfits and dressed up her dolls. Today, she enjoys collaborating with fashion designers.
Richelle is self-taught and she relies on customer feedback and constructive criticism from experienced local jewellers to learn how she can improve.
“Two of them gave me a quick crash course on some techniques I use throughout my designs. However, a jewellery course is definitely on my to-do list,” she says.
So, where does she get her inspiration?
“My inspiration usually comes from surfing through Pinterest where I would search to see how various materials are used to create certain looks. It really has aided me in overcoming designers’ block. You may have a material for months just sitting there and it just takes seeing an idea where you can incorporate it and make it wearable.
“Or sometimes I’m out somewhere and I’m drawn to a piece someone is wearing and I would take a mental picture of it until I get back home and sketch it or look for what existing materials I have that can create a similar look,” the Linguistics and Communication Studies student said.
She added that satisfied customers also keep her inspired.
“Jewellery is competitive with so many options and just having a customer choosing your brand is inspiration in itself.”
Asked if there were any designers she looks up to, Richelle stated just one: Arthur and Livingston.
“I admire the presentation of their products so that inspires me to keep my presentation game up to standard.”
Richelle said she enjoys the challenge of working with various materials to create something new and with Craftiva246, she hardly ever gets bored.
Her daily routine varies depending on the time of week or year since she has to balance school and her business. During the semester, she uses her weekends to fill orders, make new pieces for upcoming events, or attend events to sell her work. New collections are created during the summer and Christmas vacations.
In the long term, Richelle wants Craftiva246 to become a regionally-recognized brand with an international clientele. She also wants to create an outlet for people to learn how to make home and fashion accessories from the materials around them.