When we hear the word innovation, we often think about computer geeks in hoodies launching new web technologies in Silicon Valley. But, sometimes, innovation is as simple as using something we all have in a fresh (and profitable) way.
Amber Mund of Rock Hill, S.C., asks her customers to find new products for her to make on Pinterest. The crowdsourcing effort has resulted in her most profitable item: the Mermaid-Tail Blanket.
“Several people posted images of these blankets to my Facebook and said I should make them,” Amber recalls. “I took the hint and cashed in. It’s my hottest seller and I have received so many compliments!”
Now, that’s an innovative use of social media!
We caught up with this entrepreneurial stay-at-home mom to discuss the growth of Crazy Couture Crochet since launching just under a year ago.
The DRIVE: What inspired you to start Crazy Couture Crochet?
Amber: It was sort of a New Year’s resolution. I’ve been crocheting for years and just giving away my creations to friends and family. I decided to start the business after a number of people continually suggested it. I’d run a home daycare before, but this is my first artisan business.
I just love the creative process. I love designing new things, experimenting with color combinations, and exploring new techniques.
The DRIVE: What’s been the highlight of your time in business so far?
Amber: My first sale to a customer that I didn’t already personally know was fantastic. I was so excited to have a complete stranger on the other side of the country want something I’ve made. I literally squealed with joy when I got the email notice from Scott’s Marketplace saying “Congratulations, you’ve made a sale!” I had to call my mom to celebrate.
The DRIVE: Were there any major challenges on your journey?
Amber: Finding the right online selling platform was a serious challenge. I lost money trying some of the fancy, complicated store-hosting sites. I won’t name names, but I’m so glad I found Scott’s Marketplace. You really focus on ease of use, both for the seller and the buyer. It makes it a lot easier to sell when the buyer doesn’t have to jump through hoops to find what they want.
The DRIVE: Thank you for saying so! You donate 50% of all pet item proceeds to local animal rescue operations. What inspired that choice?
Amber: I have always been an animal rights activist. I ran an animal rescue with my family for over a decade. Together we saved over a thousand animals. Most donations go to the rescue where we adopted my fur-child Sherlock. Now, he models the Fancy Dog Bowtie Collars in my store.
The DRIVE: Is there anything else you’d like to add about your entrepreneurial journey?
Amber: I have a fantastic support system. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my husband. He’s been a big help balancing both me and my books. He takes a peek at my numbers periodically so I can remain focused on what I do best – creating new stuff!