During this COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people have been laid off or are working fewer hours causing economic uncertainty and anxiety. Some people have gotten creative while in lockdown and discovered new hobbies and interests or reignited old ones – everything from sewing to drawing and making candles. Bobbie Schneider was working full-time as a check-in agent for Lufthansa at Frankfurt airport when the pandemic happened. She was forced to accept a temporary reduction in working time and pay as part of Germany’s short-time work program to mitigate economic damages. However, Bobbie’s story shows possibility in adversity: She was able to build something new by turning her macramé art hobby into a side hustle that brought in some extra money. In this exclusive interview with Buhay Abroad, she shares her inspiring story with us.
Can you provide us with a description of your side hustle?
Bob Creates is my small business that offers a variety of macramé handmade arts and crafts.
What kind of products do you offer?
My bestselling items are dummy chains, key chains, macramé wall hangings and personalised dream catchers. I also offer other handmade products, such as bracelets, headbands, macramé plant and candle holders, and product customization.
What was the motivation to start your own Macramé products?
I always had a strong desire to create my own business. Once I became a mother, I wanted to create my own baby items for my son, such as a dummy chain and a teether, as well as decoration for his room. I realised that items for babies and kids are bestsellers online, especially when they are handmade. When the first lockdown came and my working hours have been reduced (I work as a professional check-in agent for Lufthansa) due to the economic situation, I was able to dedicate more time to handcrafting. I was also able to transform my vision into action. I posted my first attempt at a dream catcher online and received incredibly positive feedback. Friends were asking me if I could make one for their children and if I sell. Naisip ko na magandang business yun.
In looking for ways to develop this as a business, I came across photos of gorgeous macramé wall hangings online. I wanted to be able to create products like these and challenged myself to learn it on my own. As I came to understand the different techniques of knotting, I really became passionate about it. It might seem unlikely, but knotting is fun and relaxing for me. I posted photos of my creations on Instagram and, again, received rewarding positive feedback and orders from those posts. My business was underway, my passion achieved because, for me, my business is work and pleasure combined.
Buhay Abroad Bracelet
How did you get your idea or concept for Bob Creates?
Having handmade various decorative items for my son’s room and our home, I found that I really enjoyed making things by hand. I was looking around for ideas that I could take up as a business in combination with my role as a mother. My concept is really tied in with what motivated me as well as taking account of the situation now. Everything is done online kaya naisip ko na I might as well sell my products online, so I came up with a name (Bob Creates) for my online business that reflects on me as a person and the kind of products I sell.
Has there ever been a moment during this pandemic lockdown when you wanted to give up?
There are moments when I feel like giving up my business. Sometimes I find it difficult to concentrate on my work when my son is at home. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, he does not attend the daycare. But, giving up my business is not an option for me because I enjoy my work and it is actually something I also do for myself. What I do to make all these work is I plan my day and create a daily routine. I see to it that I get the most important things done first. I also engage my son in my work. I let him choose the colour of the yarn for the dummy chain, for instance. In that way, I also spend time with him. I try to find ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid the thoughts of giving up.
If you had any piece of advice to someone just starting out a business or a side hustle, what would it be?
You need a business plan and stick to it. Set your goals and be passionate about achieving them. Kasi pagpassionate ka, you are willing to fail and learn from your failure. Push through with passion, kasi „even if you fail, at least you tried.“ So later on, you will not regret the things you did not do.
What has this pandemic taught you?
The pandemic has taught me to be resilient, patient and creative. We just have to make the best out of the situation. The pandemic has also made me realise that there is nothing more important than health, family and time and that I should be grateful for and content with everything I have.
Any advice you can give to people that are struggling with the economic uncertainty this pandemic has caused?
Face difficult situations with optimism. When you keep an optimistic mindset, you focus on possibilities that can help you improve your situation. Remain steadfast because “this too shall pass.” May kasabihan nga tayo : “ang mga pagsubok ay lilipas din, manalig lang tayo sa Panginoon.”
Check out Bobbie’s beautiful and handmade creations in our online shop!