Crocheting is a fast-evolving craft that has been in existence for a very long time, and Ahiakwo chimere trisha the founder of Crochets by Mere has carved out a profitable niche for her brand at a very young age. Let’s read up on her story!
Tell us about Yourself
Hello, I’m Chimere Ahiakwo, 21 years of age from Rivers State, Nigeria. An accounting graduate of Babcock University, I am the founder and creative director of Crochets by Mere. I’ve always had a passion for arts and crafts, and I learnt how to sew at a young age so instead of the regular tailoring, I use those skills in my crochet creation. I love to cook, swim and have fun.
What does your business do and how it started
Crochets by Mere (merecrochets) is a fashion brand that deals with crochet and knitted outfits for mainly ladies of any age and size. We’ve been creating for 5 years now, and I also tutor students who are interested in learning this awesome craft.
My brand started as a mere hobby and has turned into a full-time business. We started in 2018 after my first year at the university. The holiday was too long so instead of doing nothing, I decided to pick up crochet which is a craft I learnt in primary and secondary school. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube and started creating for my friends. We started our Instagram page (@merecrochets) the same year and It has grown ever since. Instagram is where we get our major clients from.
How do you solve your customer’s challenge?
I see my brand as my first baby, so I treat her with caution. I try not to attach too many feelings when dealing with business and often find myself apologizing for things out of my control, but at the same time, you cannot please everyone. I’ve also had sizzling challenges with my clients where the outfits were too big or too small and I had to remake them. I see it as part of the business and if you are to maintain good customer relations, you must go out of your way to please your clients.
Who are your ideal customers?
Over the years I’ve dealt with different types of people, and I can say for sure that my ideal clients are often outside Nigeria. These crochet outfits are handmade and are appreciated more by foreigners. Nigerians see it as ‘just wool’ and forget the hours or even days involved in crafting the outfits.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
I start my mornings with God, having family devotions. I make breakfast for myself and my family between 8 am and 10 am. I give myself a break 10 am-12 pm when I am on my phone (mostly on Instagram) to make new posts and reply to a few comments and DMs. I would say my day starts properly by 1 pm.
I get to see a movie or two on my laptop/phone (very essential) while doing my crochet work. I usually take breaks in between but stop crocheting around 4/5 pm to make dinner. Sometimes I resume crocheting by 10 pm till whenever the spirit leads me to sleep and the other times I spend my night on my phone (Instagram again) doing research on new content ideas or planning my posts for the next day(s).
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
When I started crocheting, it was a struggle between my parents and I to find time for myself and my business. But over the years, they grew to realize that it was something I was passionate about, and I was earning a decent sum of money from it, so it has been better.
My parents are currently my biggest supporters, I run everything I do through them and my siblings. My siblings help in the content and creation process. Being an entrepreneur has affected my family life in a positive way.
What motivates you?
I’ve not come this far only to come this far.
I have built an online community that supports me every step of the way. They are my biggest motivators. Days I feel I am not doing enough, I go back to my previous works/posts and talk to myself, like ‘I was the one who created this so why should I doubt my other creations’.
Other times I talk to my friends. I have like 2 business advisers other than my parents; I ask for a second opinion on different matters.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is not becoming the person I know I could be. I don’t like failure, so I fear that a lot. I remember the first time I failed an exam, I cried so much. So, me failing in life is a big NO.
I also fear losing my Instagram page, I know it sounds a bit off but it’s the truth. I built my page all by myself from scratch and it’s something I am most proud of. Majority of my clients are from Instagram, so I fear rebuilding.
How do you define success?
Success is not defined by how much you make or what you buy.
To me, success is who you are and the people you inspire. To set your goals and achieve them is being successful. It gives you this sense of fulfilment. To influence and inspire a great number of people positively is also being successful for me.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
To me, my favourite part of being an entrepreneur is talking about my brand. In the continuing journey of learning my craft, I get so excited telling people what I do. I also love the profits 🙂
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would study my market very well and carve out my niche from the very first day. This would guide my creation and posting process. This would help me to know exactly to who I’m selling my products and services and would enable me to charge my worth without feeling guilty about it.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Money and time management
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My mom is a superhero, she doesn’t give up easily or at all. I’ve seen her run several businesses since I was a child just to make sure she provides for her children and family. She comes back home every day very tired from work but is up the next morning to keep pushing, that is something I admire about her and hope I cultivate the same attitude towards my business and other businesses to come.
My dad has also done all it takes to ensure his children are educated and well provided for. I’ve never lacked anything, so I just want to make them proud.
What advice would you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs?
Be mentally prepared. We entrepreneurs may come online smiling and laughing BUT we only post what we want you to see. We go through a lot behind the cameras. I can’t count how many times I have cried over my business.
You can go weeks or months with little to no sales but use this period to get prepared for your ‘fully booked’ season. Business will not always be rosy but make the best use of your time.
And lastly, I’d advise that you stay consistent. People may tend to give up when something isn’t working but if you stay consistent with your craft, better days will come.
What business-related book has inspired you the most? (or, What is your favourite book?)
I don’t like reading
If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
All about HER.
I’ve watched myself evolve and grow over the years. I’m not who I was last year, and I didn’t get to realize it until I thought of it. My mindset changes every day as I learn from my past mistakes, and I am becoming a better version of myself.
Please share the contact details you wish to be made public.
Instagram – @merecrochets
Email – email@example.com
Website – crochetsbymere.com