Cristina Mihutiu turned her wood-painting hobby into a business only 5 months ago, but she has already experienced success that surpasses all expectations, having her ‘Gwoodie’ products featured in a local newspaper and even being interviewed on TV. In this post, Cristina shares her experience moonlighting as a craftsperson whilst keeping down a regular day job, and gives advice to others who are considering making the leap.
I started painting on wood because I find it a very versatile material. You can make a whole range of things out of it. The possibilities are endless! What inspired me to move from a hobby to a business was the will to use my drawing talent somehow. Everything I made started from an idea that became reality so I love all of them from the smallest earings to the big jewelery boxes. I don’t have a favorite product. They are all favorites!
Few people can say that they love their job. I am lucky enough to say I love both my jobs. I work as a hairdresser full-time and I paint as my second job. It’s hard to find time but I love painting and find it very relaxing. It’s just me and the drawing, and I concentrate on how to finish it and make it as beautiful as I can. Plus I don”t have a schedule for it so I can do it only when I want.
My good friend Ramona Barbos helped me come up with the name ‘Gwoodie’. Shes a graphic designer and had the wonderful idea to name all the things I paint under a brand. First we thought of Woodie like the woodpecker in the cartoon, but it was already taken. So from Woodie Ramona came up with Gwoodie a mix between good and wood. I would like to thank her very much for the wonderful idea.
At first I wasn’t really expecting anything. It just happened. I participated at a fair, people came, liked the things I made, bought them and in the same weekend I got contacted by a paper and from the tv network. It was pretty much overwhelming considering both happened one week after the first fair I participated at. I appreciated both because more people could find out about Gwoodie.
When I sell something I’m very happy that people are appreciating my work. I put a lot of hard in everything I do, and the feeling that people are buying what I made is amazing! It’s much better to sell in person because people can meet you and you can meet them. I get to see how their face light’s up when they found something that they like and want to take home.
My advice for anyone else considering making their hobby into a business is ‘If you have a talent for crafting, use it.’ It’s wonderful when you do something you love, it has to came out great! I also have the support of a few friends who like me, use their hands to make beautiful things. We let each other know about fairs and events where we can sell and promote our creations. I promote myself through the facebook page I have and from participating to fairs in the city; the key for letting people know about you is advertising in all its forms.
I think hand painted toys are much more interesting for a child. I believe they give out positive energy because they’ve been already been loved by the one who made them. On the other hand plastic is empty and gives out nothing. Hand painted toys are far more interesting and fun then any plastic toy, plus they are made from natural fabrics which are more healthy for children.
The future of Gwoodie looks like this: I want to participate in more fairs all over the country plus I want to start to sell the “gwoodies” abroad. By the end of this year to start painting pieces of furniture. A few months ago all this was just an idea. Gwoodie is still young but I’m hoping for many beautiful years to come. So I guess the future for Gwoodie looks bright!