This month for summer we’re hanging with April Iverson of Crafty Ninja! Her wraps are the go-to summer accessory for lake days and backyard patio hangs…
Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is April, and I live in Fargo with my husband, Josh, and three pups, Ninja, Buster, and Luna. My husband and I are both elementary teachers. He teaches 4th grade, and I am an elementary physical education teacher. We are very fortunate to have our summers off together, and we try to pack in as much fun as possible. In the summer we enjoy hiking, camping, going to the lake, wake surfing, eating meals out on our deck, and having fire pits in our backyard. We try to be outside as often as possible. Our favorite indoor activities include playing board games with friends, date night movies and eating out, and binge watching a good show.
Describe what you create under Crafty Ninja?
I love to sew and create a variety of things. Crafty Ninja focuses mainly on kimono wraps, and with these it is a lot of fun to work with a variety of fabrics. I make some wraps that are warmer for fall and winter, and some that are lightweight and sheer for summer. Recently, I have started using my scraps to make scrunchies! I have a very hard time getting rid of, or throwing away scrap fabric, so this was the perfect opportunity to use some up. I have also really enjoyed getting back into making zipper pouches and tote bags. I am a little bit of a bag addict, and it really sparks my creativity when I get to think about all the possibilities within making one little pouch.
Tell us where your name came from?
My husband and I will be celebrating our 14th anniversary this July. Shortly after we got married, we got an adorable puppy and named her Ninja. As I was developing my business, I threw around a lot of names, and that was one that stuck. I love that I named it after her. She is still spunky as ever and we love her so much.
What’s your most popular product or pattern currently that you sell?
Crafty Ninja is primarily known for kimono wraps. I created the pattern myself after not being satisfied with what I was finding in stores. Many of the wraps I found were of low quality, would not stay on and fall off your shoulders. Also, being short, most of the things I found were way too long for me. So I went to work and created my own kimono wrap. It has been really fun developing and improving the pattern as Crafty Ninja has grown.
What is your favorite thing about having your own business?
My favorite part of owning my own business is being welcomed into a community of makers, artists, entrepreneurs and small business owners. The support network in the FM area is unreal. The relationships I have made with fellow entrepreneurs is nothing I ever expected. The way this community shares information, looks out for each other, and reaches out to support one another, is next level. Also, the local community always shows up and gets excited to support their local makers. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of.
What is the most challenging thing?
The most challenging thing is balancing time. I always think how great it would be if I could be in three places at once or have 10 sets of hands. It is a challenge to make sure you are putting in time with friends, family, a full-time job, and a small business. But, again, I have an amazing support system, which helps me do what I do!
Where do you get inspiration from?
I am a very visual person and get inspired in a lot of ways. I love seeing people out and about and observing what outfits they put together, or what color palettes are popular. Instagram and Pinterest are great visual search tools to get me inspired. A lot of times ideas just come to me, and I have to try it out.
Also you began a new group this past year called Maker’s Membership – tell us most about it!
During the pandemic, I started putting together Virtual Craft Markets. All of the vendors would be invited to a zoom meeting before the event. Once everyone got in a room, the camaraderie, sharing, and support was palpable. I absolutely loved the mix of makers and artists that would come together and just learn from each other.
My friend Heidi and I wanted to continue this support system, and Makers Membership was born. Heidi and I bonded over our shared love of community and helping other entrepreneurs grow and thrive in their businesses. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we know how hard it is to run your own company. You are a one-person show, doing all the things needed to run your business – ie. creating the products, taking the photos, running your marketing campaigns, fixing tech issues, fulfilling orders, and all the bazillion other tiny details that need to get done on the daily.
We get it. And it is hard to do it all by yourself. That’s why we created the Makers Membership. In a nutshell, Makers Membership is a subscription membership group that gives you a community of fellow makers, resources on running a productbased business, and guest speakers in monthly virtual meetings so you can create movement in your maker business, even if you’re just getting started (or haven’t started your business yet).
Heidi and I are working hard to launch to the public this fall. We are SO excited!
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
Work smarter not harder. Streamline as many things as possible. Get your finances and tracking in order right from the start. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to say both “yes” and “no.” Talk to people who have done it before. Reach out and form relationships with people who are willing to mentor you. Find people who are in your shoes and lean on each other. Once you’re in a place where you can, give back in the same way others have helped you.
Where can people find your work?