business

Interview: One on One with ‘Crafting Around 256’s Rytah:

American writer, poet, and Philosopher Suzy Kassem once said, “you are never too old to learn something new, or too young too much”; I do concur with that wise saying. Why I say this is; I have for some time been following a young entrepreneur who I’ll introduce later on and got to learn that with just yarn, lots of magic can be worked with that simple roll. Following Kassem’s quote, I did catch up with Rytah, the founder of ‘Crafting Around 256’. Here’s what she had to share with regards to entrepreneurship, and how her business has adjusted due to the pandemic and how she’s been able to cope. Did you also know Rytah is also a travel junkie? Well read on:

Well, your mates and I do know and refer to you as Rytah. Briefly tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.

I am Ayebare Ritah though most of friends call me Rytah. Before quarantine, my main daytime 9-5 was being a sales person in a boutique. I also do photography, alongside a few social media influencing (digital marketing) gigs here and there. Top of this, I do run ‘Crafting Around 256’; a crafts startup.

    Courtesy of Rytah’s Instagram

Talking of ‘what you do’, kindly enlighten us about your startup ‘crafting around 256’:

Having studied Community-based Rehabilitation I went through the usual job-hunting process and ended up attending a shop in the city. Luckily, with the amount of extra time at hand at the job, I began practicing what seemed like an ordinary hobby and learned the skill yarn bottle wrapping till I was skilled enough and thereby started ‘crafting around 256’ in 2016. I am self-taught and did most of my learning off of YouTube and Pinterest. I have since learnt not only how to make, yarn wrapped bottles, wristbands, yarn chocker, scarfs, phone jackets, colored paper cone, string art, but also decorate events and do home deco as well.

What would you say inspired the idea? And later on, the name of the business?

I do attribute my love for art for being my source of inspiration. As for the name ‘Crafting Around 256’, I did not want the name of the business to only center around bottles, so I gave it a general name; since the work am doing revolves around crafts anyway.

These woven pieces really look artistic and creatively woven? One would assume you studied art in high school or something. What do you have to say about this?

They are not woven. They are referred to as ‘yarn’. *dear reader, remember when I told about how learning never stops?  Rytah goes ahead to say explain that: the yarn is the string like/ thread like material we see being wrapped around the bottles. And to answer my other follow up question; still on the same, she actually did not go to school to learn this skill but rather YouTube and Pinterest. *throws in a kind reminder as to why you and I should indeed embrace the internet and learn from it as much as we can; besides just social media and watching series/ music videos but once in a while look for useful tutorials on how-to.

Is art more of a family thing or it is something you chose to follow as a person?

I love art as a person. And it is this love that was one of the movers towards inspiring my crafts journey.

What is your creative process like? (how do you come up with an idea for a design?) take us through your creative process.

Sometimes, I’d see something on the YouTube channels I learnt from, then try to replicate it. Whereas sometimes an idea just pops up in my head and am I like why not and then I go for it.

With the pandemic came various pitfalls in terms of business. Did you experience any; being an entrepreneur.

Yes, a little. Since I do not have the materials, I use for making my crafts work and so getting access to them was really tough. In fact, it took me 2 months of producing nothing since we were on lock down and this made getting the materials even harder as there was no transportation means to go to the shopping centers where I happen to purchase them. So, production was stalled that all time.

Yarn. Rytah says she uses these to do most of her work

If yes, how have you coped so as to keep afloat (keep operating business normally despite the current situation)?

I do recall one time, I walked to and fro town. She laughs as she narrates how she had to nurse her body for a whole week from walking that long distance since public means of transport had been instructed to pause operations. Rytah says even now, it is still kind of hard to get her hands on the materials as they are scarce and of far reach.

I see these do come in various lovely colors; which one would say is your favorite color as Rytah?

Purple.

How long does it take you to come up with a full design concept, weaving process and deliver? Kindly give us a time frame.

I spend one day or even less on an order and I deliver it the next day.

For someone who wishes to venture into this kind of unique yarn crafting business, what advice would give them?

All I can say is Patience, Patience, and more Patience plus consistency and discipline. These three traits are very important. And not for just yarn wrapping but all other business forms.

Assuming one needed to have one of these sprayed or yarn wrapped bottles/ products, how much would it cost them? And two, what determines the amount you charge a client?

Well, the prices go for as low as Ugx. 10,000. It is heavily dependent on the design someone wants to have wrapped on or sprayed on the bottle.

Any challenges?

The main challenge I do face is in searching for some materials as they are rare to find and some clients place orders but never pick them.  Also, there are some customers who don’t appreciate hand made craft. Some feel like it’s easy. One day a lady was passing me by as I did my thing and she asked me why I was playing with threads and a bottle.

What has the crowd/ people’s reception about your products been like. Any memorable remarks from a client you can recall?

It really gives me joy that people are beginning to appreciate handmade craft.

I for one, when doing work, work outs or even having walks, I always have music to keep me company. Who are the artists you do listen to as you weave and work on clients’ order placements?

I don’t necessarily have a specific artist, but I have two hip-hop playlists on Tidal that are always playing while I work. I sometimes work in silence. s

Ever felt like giving up? And what helped you keep going during such times because like we do understand, entrepreneurship can be quite exhausting and sometimes take long to bring returns. How did you cope?

Sometimes I want to give up nga (when) business is not moving yet I have put in my money and time to create nice stuff; but then I’m a very patient person. So, I keep going and somehow things fall in line eventually.

Here’s a random one. I do understand you are one of the ‘travel addicts’ we have here in Uganda that I know of. So, if you had only to choose any destination to travel to; all expenses paid; where’d that be and why?

The one place that comes to my mind is Tusla Oklahoma.

   Here’s a shot of her during the “Take A Break” trip to Gulu

What would be your final words of wisdom to all budding entrepreneurs out there:

“Never to give up on their dreams. One day the tables will turn in their favor”.

So, in case one wishes to place orders with “crafting around 256’, how do they get in touch with you? [ here you tell me about the delivery options and stuff]

For orders or more inquiries, you can text us on WhatsApp: 0784612417. Alternatively you can check out “Crafting Around 256” on Facebook, Instagram or even sent me a Direct Message (DM) for any orders on my Twitter, or Instagram. I am @RytahUg across all social media platforms.

Thanks for your time. And congratulations on the success and we do wish you the very best.

Here’s some of Rytah’s works. Do remember to come through with that support and place those orders, fam. 😉

screenshot courtesy of RytahUg: Instagram