In this episode, we are talking with Crispina ffrench, entrepreneur, online coaching pioneer, and book author who is turning recycled textile artists into successful entrepreneurs. She is sharing with us how to turn your passion into a successful business with minimal funds and resources.
In addition to being an environmental optimist, Crispina ffrench is an OG Used Clothing Recycler/Up-cycler who began using discarded clothing as raw materials for her collection of stuffed toys called Ragamuffins as a college student in 1987.
Two years after graduating from Mass College of Art and Design Crispina’s recycling company grew to manufacture clothing and home goods and employ 40, serving over 350 international retail outlets.
In 2009 ffrench’s teaching book The Sweater Chop Shop was published by Storey. Crispina began teaching her craft and sharing her knowledge about the importance of careful textile consumption.
She has been awarded the SBA’s National Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and has been a guest presenter at the Social Venture Network’s annual conference.
Crispina works with large volume textile waste generating companies turning their waste into a marketable product. Her best-known projects are with Patagonia and Eileen Fisher where she initiated the well documented ReWear and ReNew programs.
Today Crispina is focused on helping creative textile recycling and up-cycling entrepreneurs build businesses that support their ideal lifestyle while nurturing the planet and building awareness of our textile waste crisis and each individual’s ability to affect change.
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3 Big Take Aways
- How to build a business with limited resources and funds
- How to get a better understanding of the needs of your clients
- How to create meaningful collaborations to upscale your business
- Crispina ffrench Website– UPCYCLE, grow impact, live your ideal Life – How to design a thriving upcycled textile business.
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Melissa: Welcome to our special membership site interview series, where Paul and I interview successful online entrepreneurs about their membership sites. Talk a little bit about marketing and selling and learn a little bit more about their entrepreneurial journey.
So today we are talking to Crispina Ffrench, and Crispina has a really interesting membership that we hadn't heard of before, which is all about.
Recycling and upcycling. And she's so passionate about this cause you could definitely tell that throughout the interview. And what's amazing too, is that she's taken her passion and it allows her to not only make an impact on the world, but also the lives that she's touching through her membership.
So. Listen today's episode because Crispina has a lot to share, especially about getting started no matter where you are in the journey. And of course, having fun with the membership, that's important to her and Paul and I, a hundred percent agree on that. So let's go ahead and dive in today's episode.
Paul: Super excited today that Crispina, we have you in and, you know, we are in similar circles and get to see a chat and we go back and forth and, and brainstorm and mastermind all the time.
So it's a true honor to have you on the show today.
Melissa: We would love first to start off by hearing a little bit. You your journey, what you do, because just looking at some of the information that you're sharing with us about your business,
it's so interesting. And I think very much needed in today's world. So tell us a little bi about...
Crispina: Well, I'm so happy to be here. I really appreciate just being here with both of you. So I started a business when I was in college in 1987, and honestly I had no idea that that's what I did, like took me a few years to be like, oh yeah, this is a business.
And when I was graduating college, I went to art school in Boston and everybody was trying to figure out like, what's the next step is. And I thought, well, I'm already making an income. So I think I'll be able to spend more time doing this and literally two years after I graduated from art school, I had 40 employees.
I had never taken a business class in my life. Both of my parents are artists. We were all just like, oh my God, like what? You know, I worked for a guy who had a gallery for a couple of summers during college. And he said, well, as long as the money coming in is more than the money going out, you're doing it right.
So I just kind of followed that real simplistic way of making a business and. You know, I've actually never really had any kind of, I mean, I worked at a gallery, I've done a bunch of waitressing through the years, but like really other than that, I've always worked for myself. And in 2021, I had kind of a major pivot.
I've, you know, I'm I make blankets, I make home goods, blankets and rugs, as well as clothing and a low line of stuffed toys out of recycled folding. And for years I would teach people my craft and about halfway through 2021, it became really clear to me that really what people wanted to learn from me was how to run a creative textile recycling business.
And it was kind of a shocker. I was really, it was unexpected and I started a membership. Based on that. And it's been this amazing journey for me to kind of challenge myself and continue my learning. And looking back, it's like, so refreshing, honestly.
So here I am, teaching something that I never really thought I was good at, but then like, well, it's been going on for 30 years, so I guess I know how and so yeah that's how I got it.
Paul: Yeah. And it's interesting, you know I think a lot of us are accidental business owners or entrepreneurs. You know, some of us might not, as self-identify as an entrepreneur, we might just see ourselves as a business owner and for you to accidentally stumble upon that because you, you woke up and you're like, oh, I'm making money doing this.
I, you know, I guess this is something that's sustainable. And what's simple advice is that is going back to what you originally learned is that as long as more money's coming in than going.
I think, I think as simple as that is, I think that's overlooked a lot. You know, especially in this online world where a lot of people are just like investing like crazy anything and everything like the next shiny object and what I really would love more.
Cause I th what you do is just so amazing for us. Cause I have to say. We're definitely in our own little bubble and we don't have an awareness like we should. And I think most people in the world don't have the awareness. Like it wasn't I binge on documentaries on Netflix and and several other services.
And whenever we stumble upon one, that's like fast faction in, like we see all the waste and we see all the, like the craziness and, and the impact environmental impact that has like local countries and societies and everything. And like the, just the living conditions that people were in, that, that are actually at those factories.
And just to think like what you're doing, would you consider upcycling recycling? Is there a different, better term for it? I'm very naive to all this.
Crispina: One of the things that I think is really important for everybody just to know is educating is kind. Right. And that's what I honestly spent like the first 30 years of my business is like people. Initially when I started back in the day, like I did my first trade show in 1989. And people were kind of horrified, like what's it made out of like, is it clean?
Like they weren't being jerks? They just didn't know. So when you ask if the, if it's recycling or upcycling, I've always used the term recycling, but recently in my research, I realized that recycling and upcycling are kind of different in that recycling takes something, whether it's a plastic container tin can, whatever. And it changes, you know, it recycles it and that often means to deplete the value, right? So it's, you know, now it's this thing and it's no longer useful, so you're going to recycle it and it kind of like brings it down. Like maybe it turns into the asphalt augmentation or something like that.
Upcycling often will take something that's a waste material and add value. So, technically speaking, I'm an upcycler. Cause I take all the clothing and textile waste from manufacturing companies and I add value so that it can turn into a saleable marketable product. That is for me, it's important that it's useful, not just (inaudible).
Paul: Yeah. so you, you said that your parents were artists, but then you went this opposite direction of being a business person, but really it came full circle and you're monetizing art in a way because you're creating right? And you're, you're teaching other people to find their creative outlet and I guess monetize it as well.
Did I understand that correctly?
Crispina: Yeah, totally. It's funny because I didn't, I was not a successful student. my mom and dad were both art teachers at the high school that I went to. So my sister was a year ahead of me and she got a perfect score on her SATs. So my whole kind of, you know, early education career, I was always in my head thinking like, there's something wrong with me.
Like, You know, I'm just not that smart honestly. And you know, I think things have changed quite a bit since then. So kids aren't labeled or they're, there's different ways of addressing those kinds of alternative learning styles. But one of the things that I think is unusual in, or people have brought to my attention that they think was unusual is that I am an artist and I'm also, I love math.
So I'm like left-brain right-brain and I feel like art is, is like learning a language. Like anybody has the ability to hone their artistic skills and it just takes focus and commitment.
So not like a magic pill. It's just, that's your path. And that's something that makes you feel good.
And you want to create a life around your artistic talent. I think that's an option for anybody who has a committed interest in doing that.
And I am of the mind that if you're having fun, you're doing it right. And I love to make things so. It's, I think it's totally possible for anybody to make a career doing something that they love.
And so that's why I love to encourage that. I love to encourage people to be really, you have to be very creative about the way you look at things, right? Like, you know, 95% of the people who graduate from art school do not use their degree in that career. I was like, I just paid, I just worked my tail off going through art school.
There is no way I'm not going to use this for my career. Like, that's what I just did. I didn't really like school to start with like, oh, I got to go on and go to college now. Like, it's gotta serve me. Right. And going back to that initial, like simple advice, the more money coming in and going out I've never had any kind of investment in my business.
Yeah, waited tables. I made little tiny bits of money and then I would just invest it in my business. And because my business uses recycled textiles, meaning used clothing. There's very little investment. So there's not like I remember the first time I went to the bank when I had my production company, I needed to have working capital because it was quite seasonal production.
My production company was quite seasonal. So they were like, well, what do you have for collateral? And I was like, I don't really know what collateral means, but
and they were like, well, do you have like big equipment? Do you own a building? Do you have anything that you can put up for collateral to get like, you know, working capital.
I going for that. And I just had a pile of old clothes and a whole bunch of scissors and sewing needles and yarn. And at the time I had 40 employees and about 25 to 30 of them worked at home. And there were people who were, for some reason needed to be at home. They had young children, they were caring for elderly parents.
They didn't have a vehicle. There were women who were deemed unemployable. They were all women. And the thing that I saw happen, which was so empowering for me to see was that they flourished, they had the, they, you know, I paid them well, which they got paid by the piece. And I had to jump through a million hoops to make it all legal in the state of Massachusetts.
And I saw people go from like turn into butterflies, honestly, like just never thinking that they could ever earn a living and then earning a living, doing something creative that they loved that's kind of what stuck with me. And that's why I'm so passionate about re encouraging people to don't doubt yourself.
And no, of course you can do that. You know, of course you can sell the business to have something you love.
Melissa: Oh gosh, I can feel the passion and just it's, it's so amazing. And what I would love to do too, is asking more about, cause you were doing this in person and then you switch to like an online presence with this.
So can you tell us a little about that transition and that launch and what that was like? And what the experience was like for you.
Crispina: Sure. So I actually started doing online teaching before the pandemic, which I think gave me a real kind of like so I was familiar with like the technology that we are all familiar with today, the zoom and the, you know, the Calendly and all the kind of platforms.
And so I started doing that because, you know, I started my business very young and I have a son who is. He was born in 1992. So when he was young, I was a single mom and I would just bring them with me till like I did like 12 trade shows a year and I'm just like, truck them along with me. And it was a lot for both of us.
It was a lot just, you know, remembering that I pack all his stuff anyway. When later when I got married in 2003 and I have two teenage girls and when they were born, I was like, I don't really want to do that with them. I don't really want to have to like travel with kids and, you know, pull them out of like their schooling and, and, you know, have them in like hotel rooms.
God knows where, whatever city like so. My husband and I just kind of like, okay, well, what can we do that will be different that will encourage you, you know, enable you to continue doing what you love, but like, how can we change it up a little bit? And so I wrote a teaching book back in 2008 and it was published in 2009.
And from that point I started teaching in person and there was a lot of people who could write figure out how to get to where I was, you know, like it's expensive to travel and leave their families. Right. So that's kind of what prompted me to dive into the online teaching world.
And then I I just saw that as it was an opportunity for a lot more people. One of the things I love about what I do is it's not there. Isn't a huge investment. You know, these women who worked for me could, I could send them home. Literally I would send them home with like garbage bags, full of claimed material that had sorted for them.
And they would bring me back finished product. And all they had was a scissors. You know, I'd give them like a little sewing kit. They had a really nice pair of cutting fabric, cutting scissors, pens, and sewing needles. It was all hands on. They didn't even need a sewing machine. And so it was very accessible.
It didn't, you didn't have to have trust funds. You didn't have to have a workplace. You didn't have to ha you could start a business literally in your kitchen. And that's why I think that important to, to know you don't need to have any of that extraneous. I mean, it's great. If you have a studio or if you have a sewing machine, like that's going to help you, but you don't need it to get started.
Yeah. So I, I hope I answered the question. I kind of lost track of it there, because
Paul: if you think about it, You started off with very little, you know, resources yourself. You were that single mom, you know, on your own, you're traveling a little bit and you know, it wasn't sustainable longterm. And I'm sure that impacted finances and relationships because you had to get yourself to places and locations and whether it was successful or not like you, you took on more risk.
And here we are in the online world going, oh, this is a big, huge risk. And it's like, wow. The trip for you to get the one location years ago is probably more money than what you pay for your zoom account all year. You know,
Crispina: it's also the interesting, like, you know, the trajectory. If you look at like anyone who's my age or older, like the difference, like I sold to stores, so I sold it. You know, I would pay the people to make like a sweater. I'd give them whatever it was. I don't remember how much it was, but that then I'd sell that sweater to a store.
I might charge, let's say a hundred bucks for it. The store's going to sell it for $200. So there's all these kind of like incremental increases. Right? So now you put it on Etsy, they charge three and a half percent and it makes your product more obtainable. It makes that person able to have a business with like so much less expense.
Like, you know, I hear people complain about, oh, you know, whatever platform costs, $80 a year, or, you know, $80 a month. I'm like, that is just such a deal. If it helps you, you know, it's, it's, it's good. So, yeah, I think that's starting a business. It's certainly easier now that it was then.
Paul: Yeah. And, and just the journey that you're on right now.
So it, so you got into the online marketing, you were a little ahead of the curve. So a member coming into your world, like you're, are you teaching them actually how to create the product or are you actually helping them with selling, you know, marketing online? Like
Crispina: funnily enough, I started my membership a couple of years ago.
It was actually right around the time the pandemic started and it was kind to cobbled together. It was like Facebook group. And I actually sent out like a snail mailing each month and we had a zoom calls every week and, you know, you'd have to like get the link on an email and it was all kind of, you know, patched together.
Kind of fits the bill for me.
so the people in my group really loved it. And it was interesting cause I didn't really target people. I was just like, Hey, I'm doing this right. So I had this beautiful group of women who are generally a little bit older than me who were really interested in learning crafts. So I taught crafts and I got to a point where I was like a little bored with it and I, I loved the community aspect of it and I loved it.
I could see there was like this capacity to do so much more with it. So I started looking for a platform that would serve me better and serve them better. And I wound up deciding to go with mighty networks, which is a platform that I, I love mighty networks.
and I think it was probably June. I do this thing every, every month I interviewed people who follow me on social media. I want to know if they're getting value from me, I want to know what do they want from me?
Do they want a blanket? Do they want me to make a bigger size sweater or dark blue? Or like, what am I doing it right. Is basically what I want to know. And I've done this for a very long time, and it also is fun because especially in isolation, you can probably tell that I love to chat with people. And I love to, I want to know what my end user is saying.
And when I get all those shows, I've heard it all the time. Hmm. I don't get that anymore. So I interviewed anywhere from like three to seven or eight people every month. And I just put on my social media, like, Hey, can you, you know, what styles sweaters are you wearing this season or whatever. And if you have 20 minutes to hop on a zoom with me, I would love that.
And I generally, you know, there's more people say yes, then I can accommodate, but I just kind of randomly choose people. And it became very clear to me. That people were completely cool with like they know how to craft. There's a million different places that can learn that. But what they don't know is how to build that buyable business.
And I always thought of myself as an artist who kind of cobbled together this business. And when I started hearing that, I shouldn't be like, wait a sec, that they've seen me in a way that I'm not seeing myself. And I was able to say, look, I want to back up here for a moment. And I want to just see if I can see what they're looking for.
And I was, it was the first, honestly, it was like the first time in my whole career where I stopped and I looked back and I was like, what do I want, I want to affect global change in textiles that point in careful textile consumption. I want everybody to know what fast fashion means. Everybody to understand that if something is really inexpensive at Walmart is because the person who made it got treated like shit, they didn't get paid enough.
They didn't get what they needed. Like. And people think all that happens in China, it happens in Los Angeles. It happens in New York City. It happens all over our country. And we're very quick to point fingers at other places where this is happening elsewhere. And we're very quick to think, oh, that sale at that place, that we're going to go get that pair of jeans for $14 is a good deal.
And I want people to understand that it's really not, it's really not a great deal and it's really you can make choices in your everyday life that have ripples that go out and do really good things. And so when I stopped and ascertain, like what I wanted to do and really clearly decided like that is my goal is to.
Help other people grow their recycling businesses so that I can grow the awareness of our global excessive consumption when it comes to textiles and that's clothing and that's any kind of textile. And it was really, it was very empowering to me. So now when people come into my membership, we talk about both.
We talk about, I have two levels in my membership. I have I call it the curious membership, which is just a $10 a month, come in, learn of that. Like check the, you know, your feed is there for you. You can learn all this stuff. And then we have the collaborator level, which is a $49 a month buy in. And you got an hour of my, my live interaction every week.
And each week we have a different subject matter and it's all geared towards entrepreneurial textile recyclers. So we have enterprise hour, we . Have mindset and motivation hour. we have creative technique and we have product technique kind of development.
So it's kind of both what, rather than me teaching my technique. I it's a group call. It's all, you know, people who interact with each other, which I feel is very valuable for. It's much more valuable to have, you know, 50 people as input than just me going like, oh, I love that. Or, you know, people have more critiques that are more valuable to them.
Cause there's so many different people . Participating.
Paul: I love this because at the beginning of this, you, you said something very key, which I think is a lot of us in our own journey. We do the thing that we do really well, but it took us like the journey to get to where we're at. It didn't just like overnight happen. And a lot of times we don't see like, the value that we bring are the eyes, like the projection that we're illuminating the world.
Like what people, how people see us. And like, I forget how you exactly referenced it, but it was like you basically your audience, because you did engage them in conversations, you realized like they see you differently than you see yourself. And one of those things that they saw in you was the business and entrepreneur expertise, which you took for granted because it's just a function of what you do. And that ended up being like the, the little nuance.
I was like, wow, there's the opportunity, you know? And you just, there wasn't, you didn't have a light shined on it. Like if somebody is going to say, what are you an expert in? You probably would naturally would have went over to like what you do and what you teach and what you're doing then it's like, because you're doing all those things.
And because you're a monetizing, you, you actually create desire over this audience. And I was like, but we want to know how to do that from you. And this is a membership, that idea that I would have never like on earth, if I want to run around and interview people and like different like membership concepts, I would've never thought.
That there would have been a membership on teaching, you know, individuals around the world, how to recycle up cycle textiles to monetize. So not only are they making an impact in the world by reusing these resources and, and having them being placed back into society again, but also like they're impacting their family and their livelihood as well, this is such an incredible ripple effect.
Crispina: Thank you. Thank you. I'm so excited about it. And it's, it's funny because you know, I have been doing what I do for such a long time, but it becomes a little rote. It becomes a little like, okay. Yeah, that's going to be Valentine's day soon, but make some heart blankets. And it's such a, like, it just makes me feel like that first date feeling, so excited
I'm just like crack the door, open to this world that I can just tell is like the most amazing place. And it it's it's really empowering for me as well as the people who's who are members at the moment.
One of the big things that I'm working on and I'm super excited about is an annual summit of creative textiles recyclers who are entrepreneurial or, and actually one of the things I've done that kind of like helps me put my feet, like on the map was I've done a bunch of large volume projects with people, manufacturing companies that use textile waste or that use textiles in their process and generate a fair amount of waste.
The first project I ever did was in 1995 of Patagonia. And Patagonia approached me. I honestly, at the time, I didn't even know what Patagonia yet. I didn't, I would, I was a single mother. I was like, I didn't have a lot of money. And Patagonia stuff is quite expensive and it's worth it. And it's produced in a really sustainable way.
They're very mindful about their whole pipeline. They came to me, they asked me if I do a project with them. Now, if you go to the Patagonia website, they have like, rewear is a big part of what they do. So they took that work that we did together and they added all their expertise and development capabilities.
And they turned that into this thing. That's like this huge, beautiful really well put together project that brings a lot of awareness to my passion. Right.
And then years later, I did a similar project with island Fisher and they did the same kind of thing where they have that what's called re new and it's you know, it's all, it's a whole collection of clothing manufactured in this country and they're tiny factory in Irvington, New York that is all zero waste and it's all made out of their Garments that have been recycled and they've even changed the way that manufacturer their first run product so that it's easier to recycle.
So those kinds of projects are ways to, you know, both of those companies promoted those, those lines that they do and were able to help me kind of grow my business. Other manufacturing entities are more aware of who I am and what I do based on those projects. So that's kind of a nice way to kind of bring that artisinal kind of craft based business into a larger scale where you do have more volume.
You have a louder marketing effort, and it's a nice match between the two
Paul: And it's great to see the, you saw those as opportunities of growth. And it's like for a lot of us, like the thing that we know, and we do really well. Sometimes we're very selfish. Like we don't want to share that knowledge and wisdom, you know, so we keep it to ourselves.
But at the same time, we're like, oh, we want to make an impact. And it's like, well, We can only do so much if like, if we don't put our tentacles out into the world, you know, and empower others, like we're, we're really restraining, you know, we're, we're throttling that, that opportunity. So it just so blessed that you had those opportunities and you leaned in and you seize the opportunity.
And then because of that, the ripple effect gave you that social proof gave you that authority, that the, this other group that's coming around you these days. You know, and it sounds like it again, it's just rewinding back. It's I think a lot of people think you just wake up and you're an expert and you have the authority to be talking or teaching on a thing, but it really was the road that you traveled back when you started out.
And, you know, it was just . The scissors and the metal. I only know what to call all the things like I want to say at symbol, but I'm going to be wrong and they're going to be, no,
I went back in my home-ec class in middle school. But it just, something like just the beautiful echo effect that actually happens throughout the entire process. I'm just curious that if you, if you were to go full circle, And you are going to go back to that version of you way back when, before you had this claim to fame and this membership and the people that you serve and everything, if you were to go back and rewind, has there been any major lesson or, or perspective that you gained experience that you could tell your younger self?
Crispina: Yeah, I think the thing that I really value and actually this time of year is when I really dive into it is I stopped like the month of January for like the last three or four years. I, I just stopped and I look at what do I want, what do I want? Like what, there was a long time when I had my production company had 40 employees for 22 years.
I didn't think I could stop. Hm. I couldn't figure out how to stop. I couldn't figure out like, it was hard. I worked so hard. I was like always, always, always working and, you know, I mean, I also parented my son really well, and I like, he, he wasn't like a second thought, you know, he was definitely priority before my work, but I would allow myself that time to think about what I want and then if I need to change direction or, or reassess something that, that it's, it's possible to do that, like you don't have to just keep going.
And I, I didn't know that, and I never, I didn't consider the options because I didn't really think about there being options I just worked. And that is something that I think. Was that way, because I started working as such a young person and I never, you know, I didn't have that class that was like, oh, you look at your numbers at the end of the year.
And if there's something you want to change, you change it. I was just like, those are my numbers. Okay. Let's go back to work. Like not really thinking about what is serving me as a person on the planet.
Melissa: I'm glad you brought that up because I think sometimes we forget that we are the boss of our business and that we get to decide what we want and how, you know, how the business serves us.
And like you said, like you kind of look, he woke up and it's just like, oh, I don't want to necessarily do that anymore. Let's figure out a different way.
Crispina: Yeah. Yeah. It totally. And I, you know, it's interesting too. When Paul, you were mentioning about how like sharing what you, your knowledge. And one of the things that happened with my business is that first of all, when I started, I thought anybody could do this.
Like, all you gotta do is go to the Goodwill and buy yourself a bunch of clothes and a needle and thread. And like this person, you just go do it. Right. Well, a lot of people would feel it come into my booth and they'd go, oh, well, that's really cool. I think that I could do that. And I'd be like, you probably could, you know, Realizing later that they could try, but they're not going to make stuff that looks like mine, which is why I started teaching, but I got knocked off a lot.
So like companies like big companies with big catalogs, I flipped through. I mean, I sold a lot of big companies, but you know, sometimes the price point was an issue or whatever they'd knocked me off. And I never, I never, I didn't really have a lawyer. You know, I was always operating by the seat of my pants.
So I would write letters to them and say, Hey, you know, I noticed that you have a sweater that looks exactly like the ones I'm selling. And I really, you know, please don't sell them. Like, I'd make up my own cease and desist letter. It always worked. Like I never, I, it did, like, I dunno, I, I would say, you know, if this is something that you need my lawyer to talk to you about, I will make sure that happens and that it, I never had to go that route, but as I kept working toward, I thought, you know, I could spend a lot of negative energy on taking these people to court and, you know, give me your money, whatever money you made. And I thought, you know, I really don't have time for that. Like I'd much rather spend my time focused on things that bring me joy rather than dragging me down.
And if you want to make a sweater that looks just like mine, let me show you how it's done. And you can pay me, pay me to tell you how to make a sweater. And that's kind of, it kind of worked out well because people that, like, if you go on like Etsy or even if you just type it into Google, like, you know, recycled wool sweaters, you will see literally hundreds of thousands of people who directly or indirectly have been influenced by my work.
I think that's awesome. Mm, you don't have any sweaters that we've recycled doing a lot more than I ever could. And so that's how I kind of, I feel like that's an option for everyone. Like you don't have to fight, you can just be like, cool. You want to do that? Okay. Just let me say that. It is actually my thing.
So if you want to use it, you can, but you do have to either credit me or you have to, somehow it has to come back and shine light on me. People have been really happy to do it. Like they're excited to have the opportunity to sort of collaborate if you will.
Paul: Yeah, I think collaboration is definitely key these days, even more so because of social media and crossover of audiences.
And it's great that you have that abundance mindset that it's like, Hey, at least attribution, you know, like something that, that shows gives credit, maybe potentially link back. And I think a lot of us, we could grow even faster. Because again, if there's tentacles in another way, from an influence standpoint, it's great that you did that because otherwise you could have went the proper legal route, like you said.
And I always loved the scary letter. You know, that, that back when I used to own my real estate company, we had to have the lawyer actually send some of those out from time to time to just jolt people a little bit. So it's, it's interesting that you being creative and, you know, think outside the box and being resourceful is that you, you came up with your own version of that at the time
now, just kinda wrapping in on this, that if, if we were to challenge you and you have all the knowledge and expertise that you have, and we were able, if we accidentally hit the reboot button on your business right now, and you were limited to only $500, that you can invest in any type of online marketing, how would you use that money?
Crispina: That's a really good question. I think I'm not sure I'd need the 500 bucks. I think that I would use social media. I think I would buy you know, starting from the ground. I would have a website. I would buy some, whatever it is, if it's
my themes are a Squarespace platform and I would Talk to people who follow me.
I mean, you're talking to somebody who started a business with like $1,500.
Crispina: So I'm a proponent of encouraging people to start with whatever they got and use what they have before they start using what they don't have. So, yeah, I think it would be it's it's I, I personally feel like it's completely doable.
I mean, there's people who, I mean, it's doable. You can, you can start a business with 500 bucks without question. And I think the social media is important. I mean, more than money, the thing that's important is time, right? Like where do you spend that time? Like that? For me, it's still a challenge, right?
Like I always have, you know, more ideas of how I'm going to spend my day then I have time to do those ideas. You know, you have to prioritize what is going to bring you the most important connections. Right. And it's all about connections.
And if it's, you know, you have to kind of figure out like if you're starting a business and you only have $500, where are your people?
Who do you want to attract? Are they? Are they on LinkedIn? Are they on Instagram? Maybe they're YouTubers and TikTok like wherever they are, you gotta be there. And you also have to be able to resonate with them. Right. You have to be able to. You know, imagery is so important. Imagery is so important.
Like it's, you know, so then that's what you're thinking about. So maybe a camera's important, maybe, you know, like my setup to be with you today. I have like a little web cam that gives a nicer image than your typical like laptop, computer or whatever. So those are the things that are, you know, one time investments that are going to serve you for.
You know, however long you need them. Microphonic that kind of thing. I don't think that there's a lot of outside stuff that I would need to purchase. Yeah. Yeah. And the thing too, people say to me, which kind of answers your question too, is like, are you going to run out of material and. No, I'm never going to run out of garbage.
Paul: And you know, I want to bring this full circle because we challenge you on, like, if you had to start over, like where would you be? And know, what's really interesting. You have the successes you have right now. And you're also creating relationships and having those conversations on a monthly basis with the people that you're attracting still great.
Now I think that's a very key distinction. There is that never be too busy to develop the next relationship, having the next conversation. Cause that does cost the time, but there's no financial exchange typically. And you're so plugged in, like, even though you have all this years of experience of what you do.
You still are listening to those that you serve. And I think that's so important. I didn't want to skip over that.
Crispina: Yeah. Thanks. Yeah. It's it's it's I find it to be, it's inspiring to me to, you know, it serves me like it's not a one way thing. Like I learned, I always think that too, when I teach in person, I walk around, teach a workshop and everybody asks me questions.
I love to teach so I'm always, you know, answering, like, it's, it's a lot of energy going out. And at the end of the day, I go back to wherever I'm staying and I'm like, oh, learn so much. Like I learn, if not more than I teach, like the questions that come in with colors, people are using what people are drawn to.
Like all of that is just food for thought and like fodder for future offerings, right? Like it's always just to pay attention to what the incoming information is. Yeah.
Paul: Wow. So, Crispina, I'm just curious that if, any of our listeners or people that might be watching on YouTube wanted to find you reach out, maybe even check out your online presence with your membership anything that you want to provide or tell them about.
Crispina: Depending on when people are connecting with this episode, you can look at my my website is my first name is Crispina which sounds like a breakfast cereal.eco E C O. You can get there by crispina and.com too. And that'll give you lots of information about any kind of events that are coming up. I do a live every week on Tuesdays, I do a live on Facebook at 11 o'clock in the morning, Eastern standard time.
And we talk about all things, textile recycling, upcycling and then there's this upcoming textile recycling summits called rags to riches. We got the rags, we're working on the riches and that's going to be around earth day.
So that this year 2022, that'll be April 20th, 21st, 22nd. And every year it will be right around earth day. So yeah, I encourage anybody if you, if you want to be one of those people that got interviewed pop me a note. There's lots of ways to reach out, all there on my website.
Melissa: Awesome. Crispina, thank you so much.
This has been amazing. You're so passionate about what you do, and it just, it's really encouraging also just to see your journey and how you just have been resourceful and determined and try new things and listening to your audience. And it's just, it's very inspiring. I think for all of our listeners here just to, to put yourself out there and get it started and get it going.
So thank you for spending the time with us here.
Crispina: Oh, you're so welcome. Both of you. What a pleasure. What a pleasure. Thank you so much.