Describe your business
I am running a homemade craft business that focuses on handmade crafts such as paper flowers and other decorative items for special occasions. Everything is made by hand.
Why did you choose this profession?
I am a highly creative person with a passion for crafting and DIY projects. I thoroughly enjoy learning new skills, and I have even taken small courses that cover various aspects of crafting. I constantly strive to create unique and innovative pieces. When I first came to America, I lacked the necessary degree to work, so I decided to pursue my crafting hobby and turn it into a business.
What inspired you to open this business?
Everything around me serves as an inspiration for me to create something new with my own hands. I have a strong desire to experiment with various materials and techniques to produce unique creations. I am particularly fond of painting and drawing, as well as other forms of art.
What was it like when you first started?
When I was back home in Pakistan, I ran a handmade card business, which gave me some prior experience in the craft industry. Upon coming to the United States, I discovered many craft stores and decided to invest in a cutting machine. I began creating cards and offering to make paper flowers, favor boxes, and cards for family occasions. Over time, I expanded my craft to include woodworking, such as frames, signs, and even T-shirts.
What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?
I am motivated to support my family and husband in the United States, even though I do not possess a degree. Currently, I am studying to improve my qualifications. In the past, I yearned for recognition and a sense of self-worth. When I create something new and unique, it provides me with motivation and a feeling of accomplishment. My family appreciates and values my craftwork, which further inspires me to continue pursuing my passion. The recognition and appreciation from others around me for my skills motivate me to push myself further and explore new possibilities.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I take pleasure in every step of the creative process, from the initial consultation with clients and sketching out ideas to bringing the design to life on the computer and ultimately seeing the finished product. Each moment of the process is enjoyable for me.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face?
I am currently facing challenges in promoting my business and establishing it as a proper enterprise. At times, I receive an overwhelming number of orders, which forces me to temporarily halt the production process.
What are your long-term goals for your business, and how do you plan to achieve them?
My plan is to expand my business by promoting it within and beyond the community. I intend to acquire additional machines to increase production. Currently, I am prioritizing one or two aspects of the business, but I aim to achieve financial stability to focus on more areas. I also aspire to elevate my business to the next level by further promoting it.
Where are you from, and how did you find Mountain House?
I am from Pakistan, and when I arrived here, my husband had already been living in California for approximately 26 years. He had initially resided in San Jose before moving to Tracy. I arrived here in 2011, and we lived in Tracy for 5 years. However, we were in search of a house in Mountain House and after visiting, we really liked it there. Consequently, we relocated to Mountain House in 2017 and have been renting in Bethany, then moved to Hansen ever since. I have two boys who previously attended Wickland School and now attending Questa Elementary School.
What do you think about the school system?
We are still concerned about the school aspect, especially because our children initially attended school in Tracy. There is a noticeable difference between the schools. The teachers in Mountain House seem to be more invested in their students and their well-being. Personally, I prefer the schools in Mountain House because I have seen a significant improvement in my children’s learning. Additionally, there is a significant difference between the county program and the district program, as they are blended and not separate.
What do you like about Mountain House?
I really enjoy the entire community in Mountain House. This community has helped me to grow and expand my business. When I lived in Tracy, I also had a business but did not have a proper platform to promote it. However, after moving to Mountain House, I learned more about Facebook groups and my neighbors informed me about various ways to advertise my business. Since joining the Facebook group, I have met many other people and have been contacted by numerous individuals. I have recently joined community groups and have found them to be very beneficial.
Have you seen big changes in Mountain House?
There have been significant changes in the area, such as the addition of stores, Starbucks, and Safeway. Previously, we had to go to Tracy to get gas. The villages are expanding, and there are more apartments being built. The community is growing, and I find it quite enjoyable. The small town felt quite empty, and being a part of a larger community is crucial. Many people from the Bay Area are relocating here, and it’s nice to meet new people. In terms of improvements, we need more banks and businesses. It would be great to have everything we need in the community, so we don’t have to travel to Tracy for everything.
What does the term community mean to you?
A group of people staying together in one place, where every person respects one another. I belong to a Muslim family, and when we celebrate our festivals, we are met with happiness and respect from others. It is great to witness and learn about other cultures as well. The teachers in this community are more open to teaching about other cultures, which is wonderful. Additionally, community events have a wide range of cultures being celebrated, which makes it a very inclusive environment.
When you moved here from Pakistan, were you working, or did you get into crafts right away?
I used to do crafts in Pakistan as well. After my son was born in 2012, I started doing crafts again. Since I couldn’t work outside the home after my son’s birth, I knew I had to do something to keep myself occupied. I had the skill for crafting, so I started working on it. I grew my business by connecting with people through Facebook. Before starting my craft business, I was working for a family business, which kept me busy. Although I wanted to do crafting full-time, I’m currently doing it part-time because I have to take care of my kids. I receive a lot of business through WhatsApp, and I only market my business through Facebook groups. The community websites on Facebook are also good, but they only allow one post per month, which is okay since it’s their policy. I have noticed a good amount of traffic through the website.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a part of this community?
I would suggest moving to Mountain House. The schools are the main reason to move here.