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  • How This Mom's Home-Based Business Became Her Lifeline: 'Crafting Allows Me To Be Me'

    She hopes to "give inspiration to other moms who have set aside their passion because they are too busy with family life."
    by Angela Baylon .
How This Mom's Home-Based Business Became Her Lifeline: 'Crafting Allows Me To Be Me'
PHOTO BY jen gonzales
  • We've heard of stories about parents setting their passions aside to focus on fulfilling their responsibilities as a mom or a dad. Such was the case for Jen Gonzales until unfortunate events in her life led her back to doing what she loves—arts and crafts.

    Jen used to work as a software engineer. In 2013, she quit her 9-to-5 job and became a stay-at-home mom. This was when she had the time to get her creative juices flowing again.

    You could say that this mom of two always had the knack for anything related to arts.
    "When my eldest son started preschool, I became interested in Bento. So I focused on that and started selling Bento tools so that I can have funds to support the hobby," she told Smart Parenting in an email.

    Soon, the 43-year-old mom was able to hone her Bento-making skills, and she was able to hold her own classes on it. Her works even got featured in the "Bento Expo" Japanese show twice.

    However, her Bento-making classes were among the many things that got hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. "From February 2019, I started teaching Bento but pandemic happened so, I had to stop because of health protocols," she shared.

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    How her arts and crafts business helped her earn and heal from depression

    Jen had to hit stop on Bento-making and tried to get into crafting. "I've always loved crafting. I used to DIY party decors and gifts, but I only used my scissors back then," she said.

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    But just when she was beginning to pursue doing crafts, Jen faced a dilemma that led her to focus on her kids.

    "In 2019, I purchased my first cutting machine which is a Cricut Explore One, but I was not able to maximize it because I was too busy with my kids," she recounted.

    A year later, in 2020, she faced yet another hurdle in life when her mom passed away. "Then, in Sept 2020, an additional stressor is the sudden death of my Mom."

    In her attempt to deal with negative emotions following these unfortunate events, Jen said she turned to do crafts again and brought her cutting machine out of storage. 

    "While I try to cope with depression, I got my Cricut out of the box again and started crafting. I explored foiled portraits and vinyl decals," she said.

    Starting a business during the pandemic

    Jen started doing crafts again as a form of art therapy until a friend asked for her help in creating a cake topper. Little did she know this would open the doors for her to turn her passion into a profitable business.

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    "One day, a friend asked me if I could make a cake topper. So I tried, and I liked the process of creating one. It was fun."

    She adds, "After posting it, I received more inquiries and orders. After a few months, I upgraded my Cricut Machine and created more cake toppers."

    Jen launched her small business, JenCanCraft, in November 2020 and accepted orders through her social media pages. By February of 2021, her cake toppers became a hit.

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    As of now, the mompreneur says she can earn up to Php15,000 per month doing personalized crafts. "On average, I get around Php10,000 to Php 15,000. More in some months if more sipag," she shared.

    "Crafting gives me an opportunity to exercise my brain and allows me to be ME."

    Jen's personalized cake toppers cost from Php200 to Php1,200. Vinyl decal starts at Php15. Her candy holders rate starts at Php250 while foiled portrait are around Php250 to Php750. 

    Aside from local customers, Jen also attracted the attention of the company of the cutting machine she's using. Aside from the recognition, she was also happy to be in a community that shares the same passion as hers.

    "Eventually, I was tapped by Cricut Philippines to be one of their brand ambassadors. I love how I get to craft as my passion and inspire others too by sharing my craft in several crafting groups."

    Challenges as a mompreneur

    Jen still admits that running a business, even a small one, is challenging for someone like her who is a stay-at-home mom. When asked about the struggles she faces as an owner of an online business, she said, "My greatest struggle would be finding time to craft."

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    "Since we don't have household help, my day would really be busy doing chores and attending to the needs of the kids."

    "Their activities for their online class also demands time, so I get to squeeze in time for my crafts, usually in the late afternoon or at night when they are already sleeping. Which can be unhealthy at times when I pull an all-nighter finishing orders," she shared.

    Reaping the rewards

    But Jen's dedication to honing her crafts paid off and helped not just financially but also emotionally.

    She said, "Because of this online business, I got to turn one of our spare rooms here in our home as a crafting nook, which is one of my dreams way back. It is my safe place."

    "Right now, it may sound that crafting will not give me a fat bank account, but it is definitely a big help in maintaining my mental health. Crafting gives me an opportunity to exercise my brain and allows me to be ME," Jen emphasized.

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    As a mompreneur, she also sees her arts and crafts business as "an opportunity to show my kids that perseverance and effort to do our best is a factor in achieving our dreams."

    In sharing her story, Jen hopes to "give inspiration to other moms who have set aside their passion because they are too busy with family life."

    The artsy mom is not yet done improving her business portfolio. She has plans to expand and offer more personalized items. "I purchased another Cricut machine which is the EasyPress 2 since I plan to offer personalized shirts."

    Are you planning to get into selling personalized crafts too? Cricut cutting machines are available on Lazada.

    Price starts at Php12,500 for a Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine (click here). A more advanced model like the Cricut Maker Smart Cutting Machine costs Php17,250 (click here).

    Follow Jen's creative ventures on Instagram @JenCanCraft

    Don't be afraid to reach out if you are feeling anxious, helpless, or despondent. If you need someone to talk to: 

    Crisis Line +632-893-7603 / +63-917-800-1123 / +63 917-123-4567 / +63-922-893-8944
    Manila Lifeline Center at +632-896-9191 / +63-917-854-9191

    Department of Health's 24-hour suicide prevention hotline Hopeline +632-804-4637 / +63-917-558-4673 and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers

    You can also join SOS Philippines on Facebook, a support group founded for survivors of suicide loss and Filipinos undergoing mental health ailments like depression and bipolar disorder.

    Want to start your own online business? Click here for what you need to know and expect, according to other successful mompreneurs.

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