Have you ever thought about launching your own business, but didn’t have a clue where to start? Are you concerned that you’re too young to “hack it” because you don’t have any experience in entrepreneurship? With so many home-based businesses and young entrepreneurs emerging these days, it really is that easy to get your own enterprise going—all you need is some creativity. Just ask Julia Prajza from Etobicoke. She’s a third-year Graphic Design student at the Ontario College of Art and Design, who began making trendy headbands last summer and has since created a business for herself selling these unique handmade creations.
Known as “La Petite Blonde Pouffe”, Prajza designs “a variety of headbands and hairpieces for different occasions, whether you feel like dressing up or down.” From feathers to sequins to ribbons of all colours, there are dozens of designs to choose from, and you can even get one custom-made to match that outfit you’ve been dying to wear. Her Facebook group, “Headbands by La Petite Blonde Pouffe”, has over 200 fans and includes photos of all the styles currently available to purchase. In addition, Prajza has showcased these headbands at events like Islington Village’s “Paint the Street” Festival and will soon be participating in her second show at the Bindertwine Festival in Kleinburg on Saturday, September 11. How did she do it? The Medium finds out from designer herself.
The Medium: Not only are you getting the word out about your business online, but La Petite Blonde Pouffe has managed to create a strong presence within the Islington community. How did you manage to get on the map at local events?
Julia Prajza: Headbands by La Petite Blonde Pouffe would not have been possible without the support of my friends and family. In fact, they were the ones that originally recommended that I participate in arts-and-crafts shows. Interested in getting my name out in the business world, I decided to start with a small show in the Islington community. I answered an ad in The Guardian newspaper for the “Paint the Street” Festival at Michael Power Place this past June, and participated in my very first craft show! It was a great experience being a part of this artistic community and debuting myself as an entrepreneur.
TM: It seems like your headband-making started out as more of a hobby, and then sort of fashioned itself into a business, no pun intended. How did you make the switch from a personal to a professional routine?
JP: I have always been a creative person. It all started last summer (2009) on a shopping trip in downtown Toronto. Loving the feathered headbands at Urban Outfitters but not willing to pay the expensive price, I came to the realization that I could make them myself, and so I did. I love creating things with my hands, as it gives me a lovely escape from my studies. Once I started wearing a few of my feathered creations, my friends and family, and even strangers, were admiring my designs. Therefore, with a little push from the people around me combined with a newfound business initiative, I started advertising “Headbands by La Petite Blonde Pouffe” with the creation of my Facebook group and website this past June.
TM: Did you have any idea that your headbands would become so popular? Do you believe it’s possible to predict whether a product will be lucrative, or does one just hope for the best?
JP: I had absolutely no idea that my headbands were going to be this popular or that people would actually want to purchase my creations. It’s all very overwhelming and exciting! I love finding unique materials to work with and creating new designs in order to show off every girl’s personal style. I think that it’s hard to tell whether something will be lucrative or not at the beginning, but I believe that if you have a good product, and persevere, then eventually you will benefit from it.
TM: What advice do you have for students trying to start up their own business?
JP: Believe in yourself! Don’t be discouraged if nothing comes of your business at first; you have to be patient. Test out your business products or ideas on friends and family before you invest the big bucks. Participate in small events to get your business out there, and be determined if you want to see great results.