Scottsdale entrepreneurs turn side hustle into a startup in pandemic – AZFamily

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A year ago this month, our worlds changed. Kids and co-workers got sent home for months, and some never went back. Arizona’s Family is trying to spotlight the silver linings of how our lives changed over the last year for the better.

While a lot of people took up new crafts during the pandemic, others went all-in on their hobbies and passions, turning their side hustle into a startup.

Jeni Himmer gave up on her 9-to-5 to be a full-time artist then started up her passion project right at the start of the pandemic.

“I really really wanted to do what I loved, and working in a call center was just not very fulfilling for me personally,” Himmer said.

Her new company, Radnaut, is a play on words.

“It’s based off the word astronaut. Astronauts are trained to explore space, so we took that and transitioned it to ‘Radnaut,’ the explorer of all things rad,” Himmer said.

It’s an online showcase & printing service helping 20 other artists take a leap of faith and go all-in on their dreams.

She also has a booth at The Merchantile in Old Town Scottsdale. She’s noticed more people are going out of their way to shop locally, recognizing the value in investing in small businesses.

“It’s like realizing that is handmade, that someone’s blood, sweat, and tears went into that piece,” Himmer said.

Katie Kahoun, who owns Crafting Goddesses, also has a booth at The Merchantile.

“I think it’s great to have other people backing people’s dreams because they all now feel that too. That life’s a lot shorter than we thought it was, life’s a little bit more unexpected than we thought it was,” Kahoun said.

She used only to sell her one-of-a-kind handmade crafts on Etsy working other jobs to make ends meet.

“I just really started embracing what I love to do,” Kahoun said.

Now, she’s even offering workshops. Everything from calligraphy to glass etching, giving others an outlet for this creative boom we see of pandemic DIYers.

“People wanted to come and craft and get out and feel safe and do something fun,” Kahoun said.

While she admits it’s scary to have a startup in a pandemic, she says there’s also no better time to lean into your passions and, if you can, try and make a living doing what you love.

“You want to do something, do it. Don’t let something hold you back. Go for it because, whether it’s running a small business or something, it just takes a leap of faith, and I feel like if you’re willing to put our heart in it, if you have passion about it, it’s going to work out like it just is!” Kahoun said.

“It’s been really, really powerful to see how much good can come from this if we focus on the good,” Kahoun said.

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