When planning this blog series on the entrepreneurial journey of small business owners we immediately knew that we wanted to feature Nicole from Ni-Chern Designs. Nicole is smart, collaborative and giving…everything that a successful entrepreneur needs to be. She understands the need for community in the handmade entrepreneurial world and when she couldn’t find a community that fit her she created her own! How is that for initiative? Check out this community of talented artists (including Hang Ups in KC) at: http://handmadeinkc.wix.com/home.
If you are wondering what her company name means, Ni-Chern (Nee-Churn) is Nicole’s Chinese name, meaning little girl. Nicole does some of the finest work we’ve seen and has an eye for fun, vibrant fabrics. Her creations have been featured several magazines including This is KC, The Pitch, Vintage KC Magazine and the Better Homes and Gardens Do It Yourself Magazine.
Check out Ni-Chern’s website at www.nicherndesigns.com. Here is a peek at a few of her creations:
Ni-Chern Designs is a part of the Made In Kansas City Initiative (www.localstart.org) and donates 10% of her profits to the non-profit organization Kids TLC (www.kidstlc.org). We could go on and on about this dynamo handmade entrepreneur but thought it would be more fun quiz her about how she got started, what drives her and what celebrity she would love to see using her products.
Q: When did you start your sewing business and why?
A: I started my business back in 2005. At first it was the lack of handmade items out there and I needed to pay off my student loans. As we all know when we starting out with handmade business, there is no income in any of this! So I refocused and went with my desire to help out by donating 10% of my proceeds to preventcancer.org for the first few years.
Q: What has been the single best thing you’ve done for your business?
A: Connecting with fellow handmakers. I think a lot of times when we start out, all we can think about is how to make money, but the best thing that I’ve done for my business is to make friends and connect with other people. There is a difference between connecting professionally and just making friends. I always hope that the connections made will turn into a lasting friendships!
Q: What is your favorite business book or blog that inspires you?
A: The business blog that has caught my eye recently is Create and Thrive.
Q: If you could have a celebrity use your products who would it be?
A: Oh man, I really like Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, and Rachel McAdams. So, I guess any of those ladies would be great!
We would like to thank Nicole for participating in this blog series and for including us in her circle of handmade friend-preneurs! Find Ni-Chern Designs on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nicherndesigns, follow her on Twitter @nicherndesigns and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/ni_chern.
We are always looking for tips, tricks and feedback. If you have a fabulous entrepreneurial story please share it with us in the comments section!
Best wishes to all of you!
Kristi & Carolyn