UCLA student adapts his creative outlet to the embroidery business

This post was updated on October 31 at 9:55 p.m.

Andrea Karkafi is carving her way to success.

The third-year communications and psychology student started her business, Los Angeles Embroidery, during the pandemic out of boredom and a desire to find a hobby that would channel her creative expression, she said. After learning to sew for five months, Karkafi said she started selling embroidery hoops, tote bags and wallets through Etsy and Instagram. Now, she said her business mainly focuses on embroidery hoops for wall decor that she can create with a few tools.

“I wanted a hobby that was…something I could really take on and be really creative,” Karkafi said. “I’m not an artist – I don’t draw, paint or play musical instruments, so (embroidery) is really something that allowed me to be super creative and make know my ideas.”

Karkafi’s professional journey began when she was inspired by her family to learn how to embroider, particularly when she frequently drove from Los Angeles to Texas to practice sewing with her aunt and grandmother, he said. she stated. For details like basic stitches, Karkafi said she uses YouTube and Pinterest for practice and inspiration. Once she felt ready, Karkafi said she started designing her own designs, such as her home collection and best-selling zodiac car charms.

Los Angeles Embroidery’s newest collection is its home collection, which captures the essence of different rooms, such as a living room with a television and a lounge chair. (Courtesy of Andrea Karkafi)

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The process begins with the conception of an idea on the Notability app using his iPad. She said she finds her inspiration in current trends or large fanbases. She said she then places the design in a wooden hoop and uses cotton fabric and string to stitch it together in a process that can take anywhere from a few days to a week. The product is complete once she creates a stand for the hoop, which features her logo and name, Karkafi said.

Her latest project, a collection for the home, is a special interior design set that she is currently creating to put in different rooms in the house, such as one of a living room with a TV and a sofa, a- she declared. Karkafi’s favorite work so far, however, has been her zodiac car charms, which she says are also the only made-to-order items on her Etsy.

“(Customers) can choose their zodiac sign and I embroider it on a small hoop three inches in diameter,” Karkafi said. “It’s a constellation and then I put little stars around it on black fabric.”

While creating the hoops was fun for Karkafi, one hurdle she had to overcome was branding her company, she said. When she started out, Karkafi said she did extensive research on marketing and found spreading her business through word of mouth was most effective. His cousin Muriel Lussier was someone Karkafi often turned to for style advice on his account, she said. Lussier, who works in media relations and communications in New York, said a key aspect Karkafi needed to focus on was making sure she was consistent with how she told her story online. .

“A lot of the stuff we talked about was about consistency with how her Instagram looks — the way she talks about products and the personalization she does,” Lussier said.

(Courtesy of Andrea Karkafi)
Karkafi said his most popular item was his Zodiac Car Charms. As the only hoops made to order, they can be customized according to customer wishes. (Courtesy of Andrea Karkafi)

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Another client who has supported Karkafi is her friend, Isis Doss-Wassily, a third-year human biology and society student. Doss-Wassily had purchased a hoop from Karkafi before setting up her Etsy shop, and she said the process was professional despite the two being close friends.

“She treated me like any other customer,” Doss-Wassily said. “She put so much effort into it, and I still have the laminated thank you card.”

From getting started on Instagram to transitioning to Etsy, Karkafi said she’s excited to see where her business can go from here. She said she has seen many embroidery artists who use their talent to create full-time jobs for themselves, and she would also appreciate having her hobby as a part-time job at the coming. Karkafi is excited to keep improving her works, she said, especially stitching in more intricate and intricate details.

“It was really fun,” Karkafi said. “Making something out of nothing is the coolest part for me – making something before when it didn’t exist, then I created it.”