Client Profile: Niara Johnson

A client who knows that she wants to achieve and strives towards those goals everyday.

Niara Johnson has been a master seamstress since she was a kid and has continued to pursue this passion in her college days. Realizing where she wanted to go with this talent, Niara connected with LaunchNET and even won a microgrant through the organization to get her business idea started. She now has her own Etsy store and we had the opportunity to talk with her about how this venture came to be, her career in fabrics and fashion, and how she prioritizes mental health while balancing work and life. 

 

Prairie Lande butterfly embroidery piece

5 Things You Need to Know About Niara:

  • Graduated this past May with a degree in fashion merchandising and a minor in costume design

  • Creates beautiful crocheted home goods available at PrairieLande on Etsy

  • Just got hired as a fabric buyer (one of her dream jobs!)

  • Hopes to own a tiny house, but it has to be bigger than a college dorm room

  • A very kind-hearted, creative individual who knows what she wants in life and strives towards those goals on a daily basis

 

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Smart, creative, and intelligent.

Can you share some background on how your entrepreneurial journey started and where you are now?

I always knew I wanted to start my own business and I have been sewing since elementary school, so it just made sense to put the two together. I had heard about LaunchNET through different art fairs and events and decided it was time to reach out. I pursued [and won] a microgrant opportunity through them, took some classes on creating a business plan, and then opened up my Etsy shop.

Is there anything you would do differently? If so, what?

No, I wouldn’t do anything differently. All the choices I’ve made so far have taught me something and I’ve been able to learn and grow from them.

What’s the most valuable thing you learned along your journey?

How important it is to manage your mental health and take time for yourself. You need to take care of yourself first before you can take care of your business.

What method did you find most helpful for promoting your business?

Group boards on Pinterest and reels on Instagram.

What advice would you give to students pursuing an idea?

Get a calendar to manage your time and schedule personal time -- whether that's getting food or even taking a nap. It can be hard to balance life, school, and work so it’s important to give yourself those reminders.

What is one of your proudest student and/or career moments?

I just got a job in fashion merchandising, the field I studied, as a fabric buyer, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.

How would you describe the entrepreneurial mindset?

I think to be an entrepreneur you need to be bold and not worry about what others might say. You just need to focus on what you want to do and what you want to achieve.

What role has LaunchNET played in your life/venture?

LaunchNET has been great for connecting me with Small Business Development Centers, discovering my customer demographic and how to target and market to them, plus the microgrant was a huge help for my business.

How was your experience with LaunchNET?

It was a great experience and really helpful to talk to someone who understood the position I was in and what I was hoping to accomplish.

What’s something that makes you happy?

I really enjoy creating, especially stuff like new color palettes for products and projects.

What 's something that makes you happy?

I really enjoy creating, especially stuff like new color palettes for products and projects.

Do you have a favorite song / band / podcast right now?

Oh there’s so many podcasts I’m listening to right now *laughs* but some of my favorites are Balanced Black Girls, Yoga Girl Daily, Optimal Living Daily, and How to Save a Planet.

If you could be any animal what would it be and why?

Either a phoenix because I love the colors and how they look, or a Lion because I’m a Leo.

What's your favorite or go-to cereal?

So this might be weird but I like to eat my cereal without milk, and my favorite is probably Honey Nut Cheerios.

Editor's Note: As a fellow milkless cereal muncher, I was glad to know I’m not alone in this habit.

 

Thank you Niara, for taking the time to talk with us! It was great to learn more about your endeavors, especially as a more creative based entrepreneur, and see some of the embroidered and crocheted pieces you’re working on. Good luck with your new job and know that you always have friends at LaunchNET.