A Hobby into a Home Business

Did you see my previous post? One of my favorite gifts on Teacher’s Day was a nice ‘Post It Pad’ that has a cute note that says ‘Happy Teacher’s Day’. I so loved it that I decided to contact its ‘creator‘.

And here she is…

I’m so thrilled that Angie graced us with an interview although I know that she’s busy juggling between her business and family life plus other things like moving her website from one server to another and many more!

1.) Tell us about 3hreedots. How did this hobby turn into a home business?

Handmade items are lesser in quantity and embedded with a signature; you can’t get the same lines and dots on every piece. Along with distorted prints and cuts, we discounted the precision and perfection we can get from machines.

3hreedots uses simple materials like fabrics and papers that are colourful and fanciful. We are not restricting to be specialised in one form: traditional paper art, origami or scrapbooking but by putting them altogether to create a very old way of playing with papers.

In Chinese, dots can also mean “little ones”; 3hreedots (three dots) is inspired by my two children, Haylie and Aydan while we were doing the crafts together, the three of us bonding. Their creativity is better than me now.

I love colours and materials that I can breathe a life into it, from knitting, crochet, painting, paper folding, and handicrafts to web design. I work from home as a web producer since my children arrives. I was further encouraged family and friends. So, here we are, selling it.

2.) What can you advice moms wanting to have a home business but do not know where to start?

As a web producer, I do a lot of research. However, with experiences on “home business” articles, many are written in foreign countries and do not apply in Singapore. I would suggest mommies to think about what and how they want to do it. What they were good at, past experiences and their passions. Keep trying, success is always achievable.

 “If you could find out what the most successful people did in any area and then you did the same thing over and over, you’d eventually get the same result they do.” — Brian Tracy: Author, speaker, and consultant.

Internet is your best tool in promoting your business- you don’t have to be an expert. If you are able to reach this website reading this, you are able to market your products anywhere. And, if you need more advice on web setup, you can also email me.

Be patient. Make adjustments. Ask around. Get ideas and accept criticisms from friends & families, neighbors, other mommies in school or even strangers you happened to meet with a “hello and bye”.

Information is all free around you. Spread your news, start with the familiar places you can sell your products outdoor.

3.) I’m sure there are obstacles along the way, how do you manage them? And who/what inspires you to keep going?

Time and Relationships. If it’s overlooked, all other obstacles surfaced. Support from your dear ones makes a huge difference. Work from home or “home business” is always a big race against time and relationship. It jeopardizes all your efforts if it is not properly  managed.

Honestly, I failed to work what I’ve planned many times. My ex-husband and I have different ideas and grounds. I dropped the plan. Working from home independently with children; everything has to be “customised”. If a project requires extra hours, the programmes, routines and your best plan fall apart. My children are my greatest inspiration. I can’t enjoy what I am doing without them.

So here are some suggestions I can share with other mommies:

The Family. I get my family involved with my work so that they can understand me better, especially my children. I placed high priority on early childhood development while managing my work at the same time. I look at it as a partnership. I take time to explain how things work. My daughter is 7 and my son is 5 years old. They can google, eBay and work around the web with breeze, search for their answers before asking me, play around with YouTube and Apps but still reserved “why” for me in fill in every night before bed.

I don’t mean everything. Getting them involved at a right time helps me to overcome the tension later. When I tell the children, “big project”, they understand ‘mommy needs to be left alone to work’.

I encourage all mommies to seize the most out of the limited time you have for the bonding, parenting and the right exposure to the media you are using for work. But, don’t forget to turn on Parental Control on all media. If you have problems with this, learn with the children. Keep learning with the children is very important in building a close relationship and help you in your ventures. They grow independent (which gives you more time on your own too) and patience (which you require when you can’t attend to their demands and attention-grabbing).

Help. They spend a quarter or more of their time in school and more later. Work with the teachers in school. They know I work from home. You can’t manage every small detail yourself. You don’t have to wait till “Meet-the-Parents” session. I always make an effort to approach the teacher if I have a concern (not complaints).  This method applies to any other area you need to juggle. Home business moms are not super mums. We need help. I learnt over the years to get help from everyone. You never know what surprises they are ready to give you until you ask. Once everyone in the family gets the idea of what and how you work, keep doing it and everything fall into a plan, a “home business-mom”plan.

Leave it. Housework or errands are not chores. It takes you away from your desk. You don’t have to beat yourself up over unfinished housework, it’s endless. When I have no idea for new crafts, I pack up the storeroom or organize my drawers. Most importantly, I learn to filter out discouragements and negative feedbacks that I must be crazy doing this or how much can I earn from this. I guess success is about getting started somewhere. My close friend, Jolene always encourages me, nothing gets moving unless something moves.

The affection – Support. We need a lot of support too. My mom is so supportive with 3hreedots that she does the “critical inspection” at times. With her criticisms, it actually helps me to do and sell better products. She was a multi-talent, a seamstress she made beautiful costumes with beads. She did crotchet, floral arrangement and gift hamper, a certified beautician and fantastic cook. All our dresses were handmade by her when we were young. She did all her craft with a simple mind, “for a living”. And down the road, all her crafts were beautifully created “from your heart”. I remembered my school bag was made out of a carton box with fancy papers. I am picking up where she left.

4.) Your products are really gorgeous! (I know that firsthand having been given a cute Teacher’s Day present recently) How can we get in touch with you if we want to order? Will you be accepting bulk orders or international orders?

Thank you, Viviene. I do customised design with client’s personal message. It’s beautiful to include wishing in their words, not mine. I have clients who verbally tell how they wanted the design to look like, I will draft it and email them later. I post it for them to the receiver to save them from sending it out again. Since it does not take me too long to personalize the craft, I don’t charge addition unless it requires extra hours.

I do bulk in hundreds but that does not mean I have to switch to a mass production mode. In fact, I did more than 400 bags for Teacher’s Day with my mom and children’s help. I still make sure each and every piece is done with the same passion. I also receive orders from other countries and ship them anywhere as long as there is an address. You can reach me at angela@3hreedots.com or visit my website at http://3hreedots.com.

Just a little to share…

It is very convenient to do shopping in Singapore but there is something diminishing; handmade trade with a personal touch. We used to play with anything we can get hold of, from stones to marbles, grasses to twigs, calendar or used paper for folding paper plane and boat but we don’t do it anymore. It is hard to find hawkers using leaves or used papers from old telephone directories to do business these days. Everything is replaced in bulk from factories. Our ancestors are great at recycling and did a better job than us.

Playing with paper allows us to use a simple piece of paper, add a dash of imagination and transform that simple piece of paper into all kinds of shapes and objects. We are losing touch with our imagination with our constant contact technology and hardly any playtime outdoors. With 3hreedots, I hope to revive the interest in this craft and pass on the tradition to our next generation.

Thank you so much, Angie for all these. I really appreciate you taking time to answer all questions people might have been dying to ask you! Thanks and more power! =D 


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5 Responses to A Hobby into a Home Business

  1. ElizOF says:

    Great interview Vivienne! :-)

  2. Angie Png says:

    Thank you so much, Viviene!

  3. Pingback: Online to Real Life « Journey of a Woman

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