We met Ava Van Auken, 15, at our market in El Mirage, AZ this year! Her crocheted creations were so adorable, we just had to learn more about her business!

We met Ava Van Auken, 15, at our market in El Mirage, AZ this year! Her crocheted creations were so adorable, we just had to learn more about her business!

CEM: Tell us about your business. How did you first get the idea?

Ava: I started crocheting during the summer of ’23. My mom is the craftiest person I know; she taught me to crochet. We started with easy granny squares until I improved and moved on to more complicated patterns. That’s when I discovered I love making plushies! I spent much of my summer crocheting for fun because I love keeping my hands busy. As time flew by, my inventory grew. My dad saw an ad for the children’s entrepreneurship market, and we immediately booked a date! If this is something that I enjoy doing, I could make some money off of it!

CEM: What supplies and resources did you need to get going? How did you get ahold of them?

Ava: I now use chenille home slim yarn, but it didn’t start out that way. At first, I used whatever acrylic or cotton yarn my mom had tucked away since I was a beginner. As my love for crocheting grew, I became curious about other yarn textures. Me and my mom got some cheap dollar tree yarn for me to keep practicing on. Eventually, I bought some chenille home slim from Michaels, and I quickly fell in love with the softness of that specific yarn. Thankfully, my mom already had all of the basic materials I needed, such as crochet hooks, stitch markers, etc. I also got huge bags of stuffing at Walmart to stuff my plushies. I’m lucky to have amazing, supportive parents who immediately ran with my business idea and bought the materials I needed to get me started. But now that I have made a profit, I buy all the materials I use myself!

CEM: What are some challenges you’ve faced in business, and how did you overcome them?

Ava: The only challenge I have faced is how much time I have to crochet. I’m a freshman in high school, so school already takes up most of my day. I’m also an athlete, so I get home late from practice every day. This results in me using my Saturdays and Sundays off to mass-produce crochet items. I don’t particularly mind, though; I always have a good time creating cute things!

CEM: Do you have any advice for other aspiring kid entrepreneurs?

Ava: My advice would be that if you are considering starting a business, you should go for it! I love participating in these children’s entrepreneurship markets and seeing kids my age and younger pursuing their dreams. It’s always best to start things out at an early age. These markets give great opportunities to improve your business and people skills! Who knows what could happen in the future? Starting as a small business can one day turn into something huge! P.S. Never pay full price for yarn if you want to buy yarn at Michaels. Sign up to be a rewards member and use the coupons they provide! Trust me on this one.

CEM: How can potential customers get in touch with you?

Ava: People can contact me @buns.biz, my Instagram account! I’m debating whether I want to expand my business by making an Etsy or keeping it small with local markets. I love doing what I do; I feel that expanding and making custom orders will make it feel more like a job rather than a fun hobby. I appreciate all the support I can get, though! And I’m always open to questions of any kind. Don’t be shy if you want to DM me! I always try to post on my Instagram about the markets I will be at a few days ahead of time! 

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Ava! We hope to see you again soon!

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