I was recently interviewed by The Knoxville Voyager where I share my story and a little bit about my experience as a small business owner. Check out the excerpt below or click here to read the full interview!

Woman crocheting

Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor Bento.

Hi Taylor, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story. Two years ago, I was working in corporate finance and was incredibly unhappy with my career. I wanted out but was having trouble finding a way forward. When I was suddenly let go from my job, I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I had no idea what I should do next. As I was job hunting the pandemic started. Covid-19 did a number on a lot of people’s mental health and I was no exception. I have a form of OCD that causes a compulsion to pick at my skin. My therapist suggested working with my hands to relieve anxiety and fulfill my compulsions. I thought I would try out crochet. It was love at first stitch! I had this idea that I should start a business because I didn’t want my hobby to become wasteful. I enjoy being creative and also wanted to have a positive impact on my environment. Bags by Bento was born! Getting fired was one of the best things to happen to me. I needed the push forward to go after what truly fulfills me and utilizes my skills and talent.

Woman sitting in the grass with a basket of yarn

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect? I started my business in April of this year. It started out really well and I got super busy. My hands started to cramp up from crocheting so much! Things slowed down over the summer which allowed time for creativity and developing new ideas. I just released my crochet bag kits that come with the instructions and everything you need to make one of my custom bags to diversify my offerings and give my hands a bit of a break. I’m hopeful sales will pick back up as I develop more patterns and kits. The competition is fierce for online businesses these days and it can be a bit discouraging at times. I have to remind myself that things are constantly changing and to keep trying new things.

Woman on a  bicycle with a crocheted bag

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work? I design and make crochet bags with eco-friendly materials. I’m known for my natural aesthetic and crochet tutorials on Pinterest. I’m the proudest of my innovative designs and patterns. My unique perspective as a former business professional sets me apart! I get compliments all the time on my branding and marketing.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk? I’ve taken quite a few risks in my life. I moved to East Africa straight out of college, bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand, to backpack for six months, and married the love of my life in a courthouse on a Monday. When I started working in corporate America my risk-taking spirit was dampened. I was constantly told to stay in my place, not to ruffle feathers, and keep my head down. I wanted to start my own business but I was afraid of failure after being told for so long I couldn’t do it. When I FINALLY took the plunge and just made it happen I felt relief. It didn’t matter if it was a success or a failure. I had done what I thought I couldn’t do and now the possibilities are endless.

To see Bags by Bento creations click here!