Ms. Yonggum Kang runs Craftie, a matching platform that connects arts and crafts workshop instructors and students. She encourages entrepreneurs to look at fundraising in a positive light, saying that the meaning of support from investors goes beyond the mere financial aspect.
As a crafts fan myself, I wanted to create a service that would really satisfy my needs
I started my company in 2016 after working for consulting and IT companies for about seven years. From a young age, I have been into many creative activities, including water painting, oil painting, and making accessories. However, there had been no service that fulfilled the needs of crafts fans like myself. That is why I started my company. The crafts industry has a very large market, which was another encouraging factor for me. I never imagined that I would start a business at that time, as I had never been a bold risk taker. However, since I took courage and started my business, there have been many wonderful things that I would otherwise have never experienced. My company has grown to provide monthly subscription services, planning and running workshops for TSUTAYA BOOKS and other corporate clients.
Financial knowledge will expand your business options
My company has raised about 120 million yen to date. In addition to venture capitals, we have also been working with multiple angel investors. This is because I wanted to gain financial and other knowledge which I don't have and receive advice from the investors by talking about “one-step-ahead future" through mentoring. Fund raising is just one of the many ways to run your business. Whether if you need it will depend on the target market and the business model. If you are to raise funds, it is important to strategically develop your financing policy, clarifying whether you will obtain the funds via equity financing or debt financing and the goal that you want to achieve in a certain period of time. Many female entrepreneurs, including myself, may often lack financial knowledge. However, we should make sure to thoroughly learn such knowledge, especially when you are looking at equity financing. The more actively you participate in pitch events, the more opportunities you will have to meet new investors. You will learn from them what figures and information investors and VCs are looking at, while also receiving a lot of beneficial feedback. For this purpose, too, it is important to thoroughly learn the basic language (knowledge on finance and business models) to effectively communicate with them.
How I refresh myself
Since I tend to be obsessed with things related to my business during the day, I consciously force myself to turn off the “switch" to give a good rest to my brain. I have been to pilates reformer classes and yoga studios since a few years ago to make time to take a deep breath and refresh myself.
I would like to create a community that unites women through handcrafts
Women tend to experience isolation from society from time to time according to the changes in their life cycle, such as marriage, childbirth, and parenting. I would be happy if I could create a community where women going through such a time can connect with various people who share interests and hobbies through our handcrafts services. I'm not sure if it's because of the recent work style reform, but we are seeing an increasing number of instructors who hold workshops on weekday evenings and holidays as a “side job." I would like to expand the possibilities of handcrafts even more by creating a warm environment to connect workshop instructors, students, and companies.
Craftie Inc. CEOYonggum Kang
Born in 1985 in Tokyo. After graduating from Keio University Faculty of Business and Commerce, joined a foreign consulting company. After working on overseas expansion and other projects for about four years, joined a Japanese IT company. Involved in overseas marketing projects in Singapore and Japan offices. Founded Craftie in 2016.