Can you make money doing what you love? Kathy Cano-Murillo is the living proof that success can come from your passion if you pair it with smart entrepreneurship.
Known as Crafty Chica, Kathy has brilliantly shaped her own life by pursuing her two creative paths, writing and crafts. Third-generation of a Mexican-American family, and born in Phoenix, AZ, Kathy has maintained the artistic traditions of her ancestry and developed them into powerful, colorful and contemporary designs.
“I have always been creative and entrepreneurial,” she told LIBizus. “In school, I used to buy colorful candies to resell during recess to other children. I have always liked to take something and turn it around into something beautiful.”
When asked what came first, her writing or her artistic side, Kathy remembered she worked for The Arizona Republic in the Features newsroom but before that, “I used to write since I was in 5th grade, telling stories for my schoolmates that would make them laugh. I loved that!” she said.
But her creative side was always present in the way she saw the world. “I noticed that there were very few contemporary Latino design artists and no competition in large stores such as Bloomingdale,” she recalls. Her creative juices started to flow.
While keeping her day job, in 2001, Kathy launched CraftyChica.com, a site that started as an online journal about juggling family, a full-time job as a newspaper reporter and a craft designer by night.
It became the inspiration of women who were looking for clever lifestyle ideas while keeping their family traditions. Kathy became known for her glittery “Mexi-boho” style, which use brilliant colors and voluptuous designs.
“I decided to change the stereotype of the ‘starving artist.’ We all have the power to change that belief system. I knew that as long as I had my creative art, I was never going to go broke, and would always find ways to make money,” she said.
Her business acumen is 90 percent self-taught. She launched her first website in 1995, wrote her own press releases, took pictures of her products and once she started blogging, her readers came pouring in. “I used to pick my own brain on what was next,” she said.
CraftyChica.com has evolved into a well-rounded lifestyle site that embraces books, shopping, fashion, business, movies, food, travel, beauty, tech, family life and more. Kathy has written books on crafts combined with the grace of her writing style, anchored on storytelling.
“I love bright colors, patterns, contrasts and try to be resourceful. Recycling and reusing materials come naturally to me,” she told LIBizus.
She believes her success is due to her discipline and organizational skills. “To-do lists are a great way to set goals and push you into taking action. To young Latinas who want to start their own business, I would recommend to set two or three goals to determine where you want to be, and then work backwards. Set a to-do list for each goal and keep moving!”
She has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, HGTV, DIY Network, Lifetime TV and other media. Her new passion is to encourage newbie artists and startup businesses by teaching classes and giving motivation and business presentations. Kathy also writes fiction, has published two novels, and is working on her third one.
“I never expected all this to happen,” she said. “You have to stay positive in order to let the creative process evolve.”
Kathy Cano-Murillo will be talking at Hispanicize 2015. Don’t miss her!
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