Friday, September 13, 2013

One Crafty Mama: Maria Isabel Ray de Arosemena

When I look for inspiration, I don't have to look far. I admire several crafty ladies in my life, and Maria Isabel is certainly one to watch...

A new mom, avid crafter, Etsy shop owner featuring Coixí, and entrepreneur/founder of "The Mommy Mall" on Facebook (to promote mommy-made crafty goodness), Maria Isabel is proving mother knows best.

Maria Isabel, How long have you been crafting?
How long have I been crafting, gosh, ever since I can remember! I'm an only child so I would dive into arts and crafts every chance I had. I love to learn! Every class I took since I was a little kid I have used in some way.  I studied architecture for 5 years and it helped me understand design and spaces as well as brushing up my craftsmanship. I've been sewing since the age of 13, cause I wanted to study Fashion Design, and learned jewelry making and sold to 3 boutiques at the age of 14. I know pottery, screen printing, stained glass, painting, model making... I am definitely "A Jack of all trades and a master of none" at least that's what I think. I want to do so much and have so little time!

What is your craft of choice?
This is a tough one to answer! There are a few; painting, sewing, and cooking, 'cause the kitchen is an art to me.

What inspires you?
I have always found inspiration in colors, fabrics, nature and music, and now that I'm a mommy, my baby inspires me all the time. Music sets the mood, colors bright up the room, fabrics give texture, nature ties everything together and my baby makes everything worth while.

Is there a craft you have been dying to try? What is it?
There are a lot I haven't had the chance to get to know better. And it's a never ending list!
First, knitting, my grandma tried to teach me when I was younger but I just didn't get it. Second, book making, I would love to make my own sketchbooks! Third, calligraphy, to add another flare to my designs. Fourth, Origami, I can only make the boat! Fifth, candy and chocolate making!!  I'll stop here because I can keep going and going!

How do you balance being a new mommy and finding time to craft?
At first I would wait when my son would take his naps, but when he turned 3 months, naps stopped! So crafting is difficult now. I work with my parents part-time so sometimes I leave him a few hours with his grandparents so I can make the only crafts I can, my business, Coixí. I have a nanny also, and she is my lifesaver! If it weren't for her, I couldn't do the Coixí, cause it can take me from 3-5 straight hours to start and finish one. If she wasn't around it would take me forever to complete an order, and clients don't like to wait too long.

How did you decide to launch Coixi into a complete business?
I started playing around with the idea circa 2010. In 2011, I started making a few and gifting them to friends, and sold 1 or 2. I don't know why I gave up on them for a while, I was so busy at the time I didn't make the time them.  When I was expecting my first baby, I decided to start again. And I said to myself "great, now that you will definitely be busy, NOW you want to pursue this" I started organizing myself and advertising them better. I always knew they would be a hit, I just didn't give them or me a chance.

Any advice to someone who dreams to launch their own craft business?
1. Love what you craft
2. Find a niche that has not been explored
3. Organize your work space and set it up nicely so it's a source of zen and inspiration
4. Find time to advertise your product in the web (facebook, etsy, Pinterest, instagram)
5. Design everything up to last string on your packaging because it's an extension of your work
6. Make your own business cards, stationery, bags, etc, it lowers costs
7. Try to find scrap material that family and/or friends are not using that way you don't have to invest so much money
8. If while crafting you make a boo-boo, don't think no one will notice, there is always someone who will! Fix it, or, start all over again if you have to. It's worth it!

Find out more and follow Coixí here:

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