Mekaila Blasko was looking for a hobby after the birth of her first child and decided to teach herself how to crochet. She quickly discovered she loved making booties and socks for her son, especially with winter on the way. But it never occurred to Mekaila that this hobby could one day evolve to become Huddy Buddies, a successful hand-crafted business.
After seeing her crochet creations, family and friends began asking Mekaila whether she ever thought of selling them. Her sister suggested she ask around the community to see if people would be interested in buying them. She posted a picture on her local moms Facebook page, and her inbox overflowed with orders. After three months of selling socks, Mekaila was able to pay for a trip for her family. That was when she realized she would be able to fulfill her dream of staying home with her kids, while also having a flexible home-based business.
With no business background, Mekaila was nervous about venturing out on her own. She began to seek support from local Facebook groups where she could connect with other small business owners and ask for advice. She found that looking to her peers for advice helped her relate to other people going through a similar experience to her own as a new small business owner. Mekaila is now able to offer advice to other small business owners.
She has realized that owning your own business allows you to follow your own goals and dreams and she continues to create new products every day.
Understanding your customers
To market the Huddy Buddies business, Mekaila attends many trade shows which allows her to interact with customers and get a sense of what they’re looking for. Because she operates the business from home, having both a website and strong social media presence is key to reach customers who do not attend trade shows. Since she started her business in 2013, she has gained a wealth of valuable insights into her client base, and she is now able to apply those learnings to drive sales and grow her business.
Mekaila uses GoDaddy’s Website Builder which allows her to feature new product images, is very user-friendly and gives her back-end help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which allows her to secure a higher search ranking getting more potential customers to the Huddy Buddies page. Through the Huddy Buddies website, Mekaila sells product, tracks inventory and keeps the her customers up to date on new items. The site has helped her gain a loyal customer following and is a central place for people to learn more about the business. She believes that having a great website is key to helping attract more customers and continuing to grow her business.
Huddy Buddies is one of the winners of GoDaddy’s Life Fulfilling Ventures contest, which encouraged Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners to pursue their dreams. Huddy Buddies is the perfect example of a business that continues to grow based on the passion of its owner, and Mekalia knows she will never get tired of seeing the smiling faces of her customers. She is excited about winning the contest and what it will do for her business. It has given her the reassurance she needs that this business is something special and has motivated her to continue on her journey.
Since winning the contest, Mekaila has made some amazing improvements to her website. By having a new and improved website, she is excited to see her digital presence grow stronger and hopes to expand to more markets, gaining more exposure. Mekaila plans on taking more professional photos of her products to help with her marketing initiatives and boost sales. She applied to have Huddy Buddies at “The Make It” Trade Show in Calgary this winter; she is one of the 265 selected to participate out of thousands of applicants. As her business is based in Edmonton, this will be a great chance for her to expand the market and she hopes to join the next trade show in Vancouver. Mekaila also plans on taking some online marketing and business courses.