Crochet your way to success

BVH students show off their skills by running small businesses

Picture+provided+by+Arianna+Cruz%E2%80%99s+Instagram+page+%E2%80%9C%40ariannamakesstuff.%E2%80%9D+It+depicts+two+crocheted+%E2%80%9Cstarburst+skirts%E2%80%9D%0Athat+were+to+be+sold+at+an+in-person+market.

Picture provided by Arianna Cruz’s Instagram page “@ariannamakesstuff.” It depicts two crocheted “starburst skirts” that were to be sold at an in-person market.

Sofia Murillo, Features Editor

Finding creative outlets is an easy task for the students of Bonita Vista High (BVH). Many students on campus run small businesses to earn money when there is not enough time to work a part-time job due to academic obligations. Students also use skills they have learned and turn it into a financially advantageous hobby. Not only do these students enjoy an income on the side, but most importantly, they take pride in having a number of satisfied customers as they create items they love.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many students picked up short-lived hobbies to keep themselves occupied during quarantine. In particular, one small business owner really hit it out of the park as she began promoting her crocheting work to eventually start taking commissions. Small business owner of “@ariannamakesstuff” and senior Arianna Cruz explains how her business began.

“During quarantine I was really bored so I picked up some hobbies like crocheting and I really liked it. I realized I could sell these things and make money out of it,” Cruz said. 

On the other hand, small business owner and senior Audrey Fernandez explains that she revisited skills she had previously learned to start opening commissions to the public.

“My mom taught me how to crochet many years ago and I decided to pick it up again a little over a year ago,” Fernandez said. “I take commissions year round and make things like tote bags, hats, clothes, stuffed animals and crochet flower bouquets.”

My favorite part [of the process] is handing the items to people and seeing how happy they are.”

— small business owner and senior Audrey Fernandez

However, not all students share the same journey. Senior Krisna Masangkay took commissions for people at the time the crochet crystal necklace was popular, which is why they wouldn’t classify their efforts as a “small business.” Being as they weren’t financially motivated at the beginning, Masangkay expresses that their hyperfixation led them to sell the necklaces in their spare time.   

“It started with me just posting on my Instagram story and I had a lot of people asking for one,” Masangkay said. “I didn’t have a goal, I was just giving people what they wanted.”

While social media platforms like Instagram have been a crucial part in promoting and selling products for Cruz, Fernandez and Masangkay, this is not the only way they sell their products. For example, Cruz sells products such as crochet accessories, home decor, clothes and even embroidery at in-person markets.

“I mostly sell them through online commissions on Instagram, but I also do some in-person events at farmers markets and vintage markets,” Cruz said.

Furthermore, Fernandez has also expressed wanting to participate in farmers markets and recently has gotten the opportunity to sell as a vendor at the Dance for a Cure event. Dance for a Cure is an annual event hosted by the BVH Junior Optimist club to raise money for childhood cancer research at John Hopkins University.

“I signed up to sell as a vendor at Dance for a Cure on April 8, so I’m really excited. They are reaching out to vendors right now for food, clothing, etcetera,” Fernandez said. “So I will be there selling [crochet] flowers and tote bags, and we’ll have a build your own bouquet where people can pick out their flowers.”

While managing commissions may sound like a simple job, it can be very demanding of a student seller as they manage academic life and a time consuming activity such as crocheting. In fact, Fernandez learned from a high yield of crochet commissions that it was a challenge to keep up with.

“During the season around Valentine’s day I was commissioned to make over 100 flowers and had a two week time frame to get those delivered to people on time, so that was very stressful,” Fernandez said. 

In addition, being involved in person can add a bonus to the time consumption of having a small business. Cruz came to learn that it was difficult to continue some activities such as selling at markets, while trying to balance school.

“I had to stop doing in-person markets because it would be difficult for me to do school work as well as crocheting enough things to sell,” Cruz said. “But once we go on break I’ll do more in person markets.”

To add on, Masangkay has also had a difficult time managing priorities, which is why they have stopped taking commissions and are taking a different approach to selling their products.

“It [their small business] would give me some sort of small beginner income even though I wasn’t making the amount I would make working retail or fast food establishments,” Masangkay said. “I couldn’t balance it with my priorities anymore.” 

Although small businesses can prove to be difficult at times, family support and satisfied customers has made a positive impact on these students pursuing entrepreneurship. Even though school life has prevented students from fully developing a business, it is good exposure as it holds them accountable for finishing their work on time and interacting with people.

“I put a lot of time into everything I make. It’s mostly me, but for the bouquets, my mom makes all the roses,” Fernandez said. “My favorite part [of the process] is handing the items to people and seeing how happy they are. I’m a perfectionist so I hold myself to a very high standard and get worried they won’t like the item. But once they compliment my work, I feel relieved.”