Mompreneur: Jennifer Cirka
Company: Jaybird Designs
Website: www.jaybird-designs.com and www.MyPinkZebraBoutique.com
Tell us about your Jaybird Designs
I am a professional crochet designer with published designs in major crochet magazines such as Crochet World and Crochet Today. I also self-publish many crochet patterns and give away a free pattern once a month on my website and blog. Another aspect of my business is that I crochet many items and sell the finished product and I am always happy to custom crochet something for my customers.
I am also the online manager of www.MyPinkZebraBoutique.com which is a showcase of amazing designers, who all happen to be mom’s too! It is the online counterpart to The Pink Zebra Boutique located in Katy, Texas and owned by my best friend, Trevor Thorson of Kraftymommas Boutique.
What inspired you start Jaybird Designs?
I became a SAHM after my daughter was born. I have always loved to crochet, but without my income I didn’t have the spare money to buy more yarn. I thought that if I could sell some of my items, that would give me yarn money!
How long has your business been in business?
I started Jaybird Designs in 2005 by selling my crocheted items on ebay. MyPinkZebraBoutique.com launched in September 2007.
What did you do in your past work life?
I worked for the United States Postal Service for 10 years.
What is your ideal workday like?
Working on the computer and crocheting in front of the tv!
What have been some of your major successes and challenges?
My most exciting success is that I will soon have a booklet of my designs published with Leisure Arts. It is due out in Jan 2009. My biggest challenge is getting a decent amount of money for my completed items. Customers don’t seem to comprehend how much time goes into making a crocheted item. Plus, yarn has a bad rap and some customers think that it is scratchy and itchy. Yes, some of it still is, but I tend to use more upscale brands that are WONDERFUL on the skin!
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Basically the fact that I love what I am doing! I am almost always found with a hook in my hand and a skein of yarn on my lap.
Do you have a motivational quote?
“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….” From Dori in Finding Nemo.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
If you love what you are doing, then it is worth the effort.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
Ahhhh!! I couldn’t have done it without my wonderful web designer Denise of www.MiaDesigns.com ! She’s helped me with so much! Plus I am a happy member of the Crochet Guild of America and in their Associate Professional Program. I have found so many friends and resources through them! Also, the support of my friends and family is probably the most important!
What advice would you offer to aspiring mompreneurs?
What is next for your business?
Hmmm…..not really sure. I hope to have 5-6 designs published in magazines in 2009. I would also like to self publish at least 4 more and continue with my free monthly crochet patterns. I would also like to boost sales of my completed items on my website.
For MyPinkZebraBoutique.com I would like to find more talented designers to join us and promote the website better through link exchanges and advertising.
Your two cents sales pitch?
At Jaybird Designs you will find a wide variety of items, both crocheted and sewn. I specialize in crochet baby blanket sets (which include a crochet baby blanket, matching crochet hat and booties), boutique style children’s clothing and accessories (such as halters, sweaters, and hats), women’s accessories (beautiful purses, scarves, and more!), and original crochet patterns.
“If you’re not wearing Jaybird Designs, you might as well be naked as a Jaybird!”