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Meet Your Maker- Cleo's Ladder

This week on MYM we have Candice from Cleo's Ladder. Candace makes both crochet and paper crafts! Her work is adorable and I am sure you will all love it as well :)

"I love incorporating both fiber and paper art in a project! Here are pins I made for a friend’s Cinco De Mayo themed baby shower! "

Introduce yourself and your business.


Hi, my name is Candice, and I am the creative behind Cleo’s Ladder. I sell handmade items - primarily crochet and paper crafts - but I dabble in many other crafty things! I’d like to thank Bethany for using her platform to support other creatives and inviting me to be featured on her blog!

How did you launch your business & what made you want to start a small business?

I learned to crochet about 3 years ago. I wanted to make toys for @Knotforgottenod and that’s what first started my interest in crochet. Around that time, my husband also gifted me a Cricut Explore Air 2, so I started playing with vinyl. I first opened an Etsy shop and sold vinyl and paper crafts, primarily baby stat collages. I eventually closed it, and ended up combining my shop and personal Instagram and slowly introduced crocheted items and sold them through Facebook. I wanted to start a side hustle like Cleo’s Ladder, because I really love making things and being creative, and wanted to (at least) break even. If I can make things and make enough money to pay for supplies and have some “fun money,” then that’s perfect for me!

What are some struggles you had starting your business and how did you over come them?

The first time I opened my Etsy shop, I struggled placing a value on my time, and factoring in the cost of shipping. I was charging $14 for a mug with vinyl personalization, and it was costing me about $3 to make, and $10 to ship, and then after Etsy took it’s cut - I was in the negative! It’s still hard to value my time and work, but I at least make every effort to make SOME profit on each piece. I also really struggled to find my place in the maker community. After combining my two Instagram pages, I tried to stop caring about follower numbers and focused more on building other makers up and supporting the missions that I was passionate about. This helped me find my maker tribe and they are who encourage me and help me when I face challenges.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I love the practicality and individuality of handmade items. Growing up, my mom was (and still is) very crafty so I learned early the joy of making things with my hands. Even before I dove headfirst into fiber arts, I would always learn something new to make for friends and family for holiday and birthdays. I felt (and still feel) like this was an inexpensive option and much more personal.

"I love testing patterns! This was a test for @spottedhorsecraftcompany "

What motivates you as a maker?

I am motivated by the use of creativity as an outlet. I’m a very anxious person, and being a creative offers me moments of stillness. When I feel like I’m spinning out of control, taking a moment to make something with my hands almost always centers me.

What is a goal you set for yourself as a maker/artist and how did you achieve it?

When I first started Cleo’s Ladder, I felt like I had to be focused on one thing in order to be successful. Just recently, I have set a goal for myself to follow whatever interests me. I am a licensed counselor and really enjoy what I do during my day job, so my constant goal is to only do what I enjoy, so that creating can continue to be an outlet for me.

What is your favorite part of being a maker?

I love being able to create things with my own hands. I believe God gives us all gifts, and I feel that one of mine is to think creatively. I also really love the community! Shout out to my best pals Laura (@that_crafty_bitch) and Madeline (@ofbooksandhooks).

Do you have any tips for new makers/ small business owners?

Just do what you love and don’t worry about who is watching! Decide what you want your business to be. Do you want to do it full time? Do you want a side hustle? Whatever it is, it is a good idea! Give yourself some grace to make mistakes and find out what works for you.Also, take time to support other makers. When I started making it a priority to share and celebrate other makers' successes, people started to notice and celebrate mine!

What are some hobbies or interests you have outside of your small business?

I am a fur mama and love my fur babies! I have a three year old dog, Philo, and an old man cat, Cricket. If I’m not working my day job or making, I’m spending time with them (and my husband!). I also love to write!

"This is m most recent favorite picture of Philo. 💙"
Share a fun fact about yourself.

After my parents divorced when I was 5, my mom and I moved to North Carolina and she married a farmer (I call him Doodalang - story about that on my Instagram!). My mom grew up in New York, and noticed that I was starting to put a southern twang at the end of some of my words. When she would drive me to school, she would make me repeat the words until I said them “properly”. Now, I’m kind of a hybrid! If I’m talking to Doodalang, I have an unconscious southern accent, but any other time I barely have a trace of an accent.

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