Each Saturday, we're going to be featuring a different small business owner or content creator! Getting our content, products, and voices out there to the world can be tough, so creating an inclusive and supportive community is incredibly important. As a small business owner myself, lending a helping hand to others is a key part of our business plan - we want to give back to the community that has been so key to our success!
Our fifth installment is with Chewbekah Handmade who has been creating handmade goods from various fandoms since 2020!
Tell us a little bit about yourself before we get started!
My name is Bekah and I'm from Colorado Springs! I'm married and I have two little fur babies, both cats. I've always been crafty, but only started really pursuing it as a business idea in the last year or so. My dream is to be able to travel to Comic-Cons all over the country with my geeky wares!
What are your favorite fandoms?
Oh, so many. Star Wars is my first love and main obsession, but I am also a big fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Animal Crossing, How to Train Your Dragon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Muppets, all things Disney, and Broadway musicals (from mainstream ones like Hamilton & Les Miserables to more obscure ones like The Scarlet Pimpernel and Next to Normal).
When and why did you start Chewbekah Handmade?
I originally started Chewbekah Handmade in early 2020 as a way to share the little geeky projects I was making with others, then when Covid hit a month later, I was making nothing but masks until manufacturers were able to catch up with the demand. Because of the stress from having constant orders for months for masks that were made-to-order and because those items were urgent due to masks not being readily available, I was totally burned out and I took a long break from Chewbekah Handmade, not entirely sure if I would ever return to it. But though I am thankful I was able to help in a time of crisis, I learned that the way a business runs in a time of crisis should not determine how a business *should* be run any other time. Once I realized that running Chewbekah Handmade didn't mean forever feeling burnt out, my creative brain started dreaming again. I desperately needed an outlet for my creativity and for my geekiness. I finished a huge project in June that left me believing that I really could do anything I put my mind to, so I officially relaunched Chewbekah Handmade in late July and have been working on new products and ideas ever since.
Talk us through a little bit about your creative process.
I've always wanted to see the world be a little more geeky, specifically with a more niche bend. It's not terribly difficult to find T-shirts with main characters on them, but what about t-shirts with minor characters or smaller fandoms or any kind of product that uses art to express one's fandom? I am driven by this in my creative process, trying to find products to appeal to this kind of crowd; the crowd like me who wants fandom to be reflected in every part of their life. I currently specialize in pet toys, headbands, and home goods, but I've got so many ideas for other products like pet beds, pet wearables, magnets, masks, coasters, etc. I don't make anything that I wouldn't want to buy myself. Honestly, a lot of my prototypes end up being used in my home. They say, "Make what you love and it won't feel like work," so that's what I do.
Where do you sell your products?
What have been some of the lessons (both good and bad) that you've learned since starting your business?
I've learned that finding the best word or picture for a post or listing isn't always the best use of time and it ultimately takes away time from making and creating products that the listings/posts represent. You can always go back and edit posts or listings if you have extra time, but you cannot go back and get time that you've already spent. I've also learned that playing the social media game is absolutely important for growing my business, but I am allowed and able to set boundaries on it so that I am still managing my time effectively.
What has been your favorite product to create and why?
I really love making cat toys. Probably because I always give the prototypes to my cats and seeing them go nuts over something I made just brings me so much joy.
What is your favorite fandom to work on?
Star Wars, always.
What has been the most popular product you've created?
My lightsaber tug toy has been the most popular! It makes me so happy that both cats and dogs love this toy!
What is one product you've created you wish got a little more love?
My Animal Crossing bell bag cat toys. I know this fandom is not as far-reaching as Star Wars, but I think that a bell bag toy is the perfect toy for pets since in the game, you give such things to animals on your island! Funny story, actually, I first made this toy because when Animal Crossing New Horizons came out, I didn't have a Nintendo Switch and I was having serious FOMO. Haha.
What is your favorite social media platform to use and why?
Where else can we find you on social media?
I love the idea of TikTok, but I know the minute I get on there, I will be very distracted by it, so I’m just sticking to Instagram and Facebook for now. Maybe Pinterest in the future.
Is there anything else we should know about you or your content?
I am the biggest geek in the world and I LOVE when people just geek out with me in my DMs. It brings me so much joy! So, please, don't be shy!