“I lost my job, and needed another door to open”

Q&A with Karrie Kaneda

Karrie Kaneda is a designer, saleswoman, social media marketer and office manager. And that’s just her day job!

Like most mom business owners, Karrie knows how to wear many hats in order to run her company and her household.

Karrie knows the secret to a “happy habitat” is to find the beauty in everything. When life handed her lemons, she turned them into blankets and has been making her customers happy ever since.

Self-promo time. What do you do?

I design blankets for my company I started called Happy Habitat. My throws are made in the US from recycled cotton, and all about pattern and color. I sell them on my website and to stores all over the world.

How’d you get your start?

I lost my job, and needed another door to open. I opened several doors that had no excitement for me. And since money is a necessity, I figured I might as well spend my time doing something that I enjoy. I wanted to spend my days doing something that I could put my whole heart into, not just something that wasted time in my day. After some time playing with patterns, I landed on blankets as a useful, earth friendly way to put what was in my head out to the world, and make some money while doing it.

What inspires your designs?

More like what doesn’t! I just looked through photos on my iPhone to see what I had taken pics of that have recently inspired me. Here’s a few: a rust colored dead rose, spit out cherry pits, clouds, tiles {always tile! Moorish tiles get me every time!), eagle feathers, graffiti, words and rhymes.

Do you have a favorite pattern?

Don’t let my daughter see this because her and her brother fight over which one of their throws sells the most, but Kenichi is probably my favorite. Kenichi is my son’s middle name {means healthy first born son in Japanese}— he helped come up with the colors for the first one I made. Misaki is my daughter’s middle name, which means beautiful blossom. Her throw has flowers in it inspired by her name.

What has been the best part of owning your own business?

No office politics! I can get things done quickly. I don’t have to follow rules, written or implied- that feels good.

Have you had any setbacks?

Because my personal life and professional are very intertwined, I’d say that I’m affected when my professional/personal life is off balance. It’s been a bit off balance lately and that has set me back in terms of inspiration and efficiency. I haven’t been able to respond as quickly as I like to people and have all these design ideas, but just haven’t been able to implement everything that’s in my head I want to do. All I can do is be healthy and take care of myself the best I can. I’m getting my balance back now, and can feel my mojo coming back! All you can do is move forward.

mom business owner family

What is a typical day like for you?

No day is typical, but it starts with getting my kids up and out the door to school. Next up, coffee. Either at home by french press, or I’ll head out to work at a coffee shop and slowly savor a triple short cappuccino. Music is always loud. First thing I’ll do is process orders from my website and for stores— so sending invoices, updating the status of customer orders, getting back to people with questions. So glamorous! 😉 Because I’m constantly making new designs, I’m often busy taking product photos, and editing them. If I’m lucky, I’ll work designing new patterns. And I’m always posting on social media. I then pick my kids up from school and hang out with them— dinner etc., then I’m often back at it at night for a bit.

Finish this sentence. Before I had kids, I wish someone had told me…

Cherish their youth and your time with them, they are only little once. Oh, wait… 10,000 people did tell me that! I’m glad I listened though. I think I’ve savored them, and still do!

Have your professional goals changed since starting a family of your own?

I’ve realized it’s not about money. That’s not what is most important. There is real value to doing things that are just “fun”— you can’t measure that with money. Money will hopefully follow if you are doing what you love and having a good time while doing it. I  mean, I’m always thinking how things affect my business, but I do make a lot of business decisions on if it’s a ‘good’ thing to do. Does it create good for someone else? Is it fun? Does it benefit other people? For example, I have done collaborations with people that didn’t make a ton of money, but the friendship that came from it was invaluable. So, I’d say professional goals have changed from just making money, to making experiences.

Any advice for a woman looking to start her own business?

Start small. Don’t hire people to do what you can do yourself. Know what your strengths are and use them to your advantage, and know your weaknesses and get help for those things. But first try, and try HARD to do everything yourself. If it’s your business, you should probably know about those things anyway. Owning a businesses isn’t just hiring other people to do things. unless your loaded, then that’s another story. And probably a boring, uninspiring story 😉

I’m on a quest to having it all. Do you think you have it all?

I think I’m pretty darn close! My kids always ask me if I could have any job in the world what would it be? And I always answer the same: I would do exactly what i’m doing now. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have 2 funny, beautiful kids that constantly surprise me with their wit and quirks. I am fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with family and friends that is always full of laughter— and what’s better that that? Every day I’m grateful.

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

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