Chaunda Fabio, Founder of Creative Custom Crafts
Regularly, we interview a successful SOURCE RW client to ask how SOURCE RW has impacted their business. This month, we feature Chaunda Fabio, Founder of Creative Custom Crafts.
What services have you utilized at SOURCE RW and how have you benefited?
Actually, I utilized them all. I love the Kauffman and Business Track. Both are amazing because when a lot of people go into business, they start off in the dark. It was really great to have the option to sit down and go through each detail from everything like trade, marketing and supplying, to knowing how to research your competition. It really helps to give you a clearer path on not only how your business needs to be structured, but how you can actually increase your chances of having a successful business.
What made you interested in being a business owner?
To be completely honest I got into business by accident. Literally, I am a Minister and I had a very dark time in my life. I was coming out of a horrible divorce and I remember asking God to make me whole. With that being said, I had a ministry conference called “Be Made Whole” and I am a crafter, so for fun I just made T-shirts for my volunteers. The t-shirts didn’t really sell, volunteers didn’t show, and the meeting didn’t go as well as I planned. However, the next week I was attending an event and I was supposed to help someone with their vending table but at the last minute they couldn’t get their product. They suggested that I sell my shirts at their vending table. At that event I actually sold out, so I had to make more and that’s how I ended up in business.
What have you enjoyed most about being a business owner?
What I enjoy most is when I am in situations and I provide a service without being the person they were shopping for. Here is an example. I was at a wedding this last weekend, no plus one, and I was talking to a lady at the table and she was talking about her women’s conference. While she was talking I just got on my iPad and brought up some things for her. She said, “That’s exactly what I was thinking!” Then I told her that I have a shirt business and can do the T-shirts, make canvases, and coasters. She said, “Are you serious?” I love not necessarily needing to sell myself, but just having a product and a service that people need and being able to offer it.
What have you enjoyed least about being a business owner?
Being in business while I am still working a 9-to-5 job. My 9-to-5 I actually love. Most people hate their job, but I love what I do. I am an educator by profession, but I am an entrepreneur by passion. Sometimes it is just hard balancing both. I work with children with exceptionalities, and I always say I’m going to leave, but I love it so I won’t. But yet I have to find time to balance the business. What I have learned is that it is amazing for kids to do a canvas art project. So I have actually been able to incorporate my passion into my 9-to-5 but marketing my business separately has been hard.
Was there ever a point when you wanted to quit?
Nope, I’m not there yet. I’m still trying to get started.
Was there ever a point where you realized you had “made it”?
Yeah, at my first actual business event - that I wasn’t even supposed to be at - I sold out. I think that’s making it. That’s success.
If you could tell aspiring business owners just one thing before their journey – that you wish you had known prior to starting your journey – what would that be?
The one thing I tell everybody is to use the resources at SOURCE River West. All of the time, people will tell them “don’t quit” or “you’ll have bad days,” but the real reason people feel like quitting and giving up is they don’t have the knowledge or support they need. If you are someone starting out right now, there is a wonderful organization who will give you training and the tools necessary for your business to succeed and thrive. SOURCE River West!