Tell us about your business.My knitting career began in 2005. I began knitting squares to donate and baby items to gift. I am a single parent; my son is fourteen years old. In 2010, I was laid-off. Everyone enjoyed my work and suggested that I should try to sell them. In 2013, I started my business, "Toledo's Talents." One door closed as another opened. I also taught myself to crochet in order to create these adorable Amigurumi animals. The revelation from creating these little animals coupled with the joy it brings to other people motivated me to create a new line of "Beautiful Dolls." I have an Etsy shop, Pinterest and a Facebook page. "Toledo's Talents" are for people seeking handmade items to cherish. My line also includes unique Diaper Cakes. Each one is custom-made. I am currently designing original patterns for the Amigurumi animals and dolls. I am looking to expand my business. My dream is to open up my own craft shop in order to display my items as well as organize craft classes for others.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.My studio is my one bedroom apartment. My son has the bedroom and my living room is my studio/bedroom. Every day I crochet day & night to get my little guys made so I can post them on Facebook and list them on Etsy to sell. All of my merchandise is either displayed on my wall unit or packed away in storage bags. I am an extremely organized person. Throughout my apartment, I have different compartments, labeled for all of my notions, books, yarns, fabrics, eyes, etc. Everything is kept neat, tidy and organized. As I work on multiple projects, each project has their own project bag or tote bag.
What inspires you?Once I've completed a project, I am inspired to see the creativity and beauty expressed in my work which I've created with my own hands. I'm inspired to create. I look at each amigurumi animal and doll and it's like I brought them to life. Also, listening to the people's compliments about my work: how cute, how well made, the attention to details, etc. is inspiring. My inspiration is my grandmother (May she rest in peace) who has inspired me since I was a young girl. She was a very talented lady. She sewed, crocheted, knitted, embroidered and knew all manners of needlework. I know she is very proud of me as I feel her presence in all of my projects.
What makes your business stand out?Not many young women have the patience and dedication required to take out the time from their hectic lives to grab a skein of yarn and a hook or needles to create a work of art. I am a perfectionist, a very creative and detailed person. My business includes a variety of items for all occasions from crocheted Amigurumi animals, dolls, clothes, knitted scarves, knitted baby clothes, as well as the diaper cakes. You know you are getting an item made with "lots of love and great detail".
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?It takes a lot of work to brand your name. My passion, coupled with the combination of hard work and perseverance, is the recipe for success. Referrals and social media are very important tools. You must take risks in life... You never know when you can enter a contest like this one and hopefully win to help you continue to grow your business. It takes a lot of hope, determination and persistence.
What does American Made mean to you?An item made here in this country, the USA. An item which will bring joy to someone who will cherish it! An item which will be an heirloom to be passed down and treasured for future generations.
Mark Your Calendar
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE MEETUPNov. 7, 2014
Join Martha at the American Made Summit kickoff cocktail party.Buy Tickets Now
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 8, 2014
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City.Buy Tickets Now
RENEGADE CRAFT FAIRNov. 15 - 16, 2014
Shop for holiday gifts at the Martha Stewart American Made Pavilion.Learn More