Tell me about yourself:
Hi! I am Kristi, aka kiki. I am a wife to my engineering husband and mother to four creative and fun kiddos. I was born in Nebraska, moved with my family to Minnesota, started my teaching career in Montana, moved to Fargo/Moorhead after getting married, and currently we live in Eau Claire, WI.
What did your business look like when you first started?
After making the leap from teacher to a stay-at-home mom in 2009, I was able to spend more of my time on my own creative endeavors. (I loved finding projects on-line to fill in the extra moments in my days.) I would often give handmade gifts and was continually told, “You should sell this!” I took their advice and started sewing children’s items to sell at small sales in the area. At the beginning, I had a very diverse product line, including decorated onesies, hair clips, burp cloths, and embellished picture frames. (Pretty much any idea on the newly begun Pinterest I was game to try and make and sell.)
Tell us about what you make now and why you love making it:
After a few years of making and selling, I realized the benefit of a smaller, more focused product line. I focused on my crayon rolls and art carriers. Then a small indie craft show popped up in Fargo called Unglued. 😊I was trying to come up with a more unique product to set me apart, and that is when the Up-Cycled Friend line was born. I love being able to purchase put together different fun and unique textiles for my products. Going into a thrift store and finding the perfect discarded clothing item for a certain animal makes my day!
At what point did you decide your “hobby” had the potential to be a business?
So, funnily enough, we affectionately call my business a “self-supporting hobby.” At this point I view it as a creative outlet while I manage our children and home. Although, those days when I do well at a show or receive an unexpected check from one of my stores helps me to see that it really is more of a side-hustle than a hobby.
How did you come up with the name of your business?
I get asked this question all the time! I really didn’t give my business name all that much thought when I first started up. I wanted a name that was unique and playful. I combined some of my nicknames and settled on kiki b omi. Thankfully, I haven’t ever regretted that decision!
Who is someone you follow on Instagram that inspires you and why?
I love seeing what other creatives are up to and have a loooong list of wonderful people that I follow in Instagram. Boss mom and business babe Jenna from bumbeloushop is a great account. Another favorite business mom boss is Missy from thelittlegreenbean.
What has been a highlight since beginning your business?
I love bringing joy to others with my products. When you create from home, it can be a bit lonely. I will sit and cut, stuff, and sew for weeks leading up to a show without receiving any feedback. When you set it all up and hear that other people love what you make, it is just so rewarding! I also have to say that I love connecting with other makers and being inspired by their story.
What advice do you have to share with someone who may want to start a handmade business? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They are just going to happen. (Just keep your fingers crossed that your mistake isn’t auditable by the IRS!!) You probably don’t know everything there is to know about running a business and you probably never will. So just get started and learn as you go. And along with that, don’t be afraid to change things up. If something doesn’t seem to be working, try something new.
How can people purchase from you/connect with you?
Facebook: kiki b omi designs
Shop Here: www.kikibomi.com