I am June Wangome, a 36 year old mother of one son. The One; Neo. I make handmade, custom-designed rugs at Snug Rug for sale and it’s my second greatest passion. I don’t talk much, this is a first for me so I’m both terrified and looking forward to it.
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How Snug Rug was born.
My story begins in 2011. I was pregnant and going around offices selling bras and panties until I couldn’t anymore. I needed some way to make money from home. My sister, who I was living with at the time, had a friend who made mats. She, my sister, learnt how to do it just from observing; I know – impressive. She learnt enough to teach me and that’s how I got into it.
My first mat was a black and grey doormat made by drawing circles using a cup. It was a selfish make and I loved it! Finally, I could do something – something I really loved. After that, I made my first sale: a one by half meter lion paw print mat. It took me a month to make and it was just paw prints! I coaxed my neighbor into buying it, but he ended up liking it.
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After about 3 or 4 mats, with a kid and all, I needed to make more money. I joined the original Kilimani moms, a Facebook group whose mission was to help stay-at-home moms find ways of making money from home. Here, I ended up teaching mat making to about 20 women and that went a long way, financially, with raising my kid. Kilimani moms helped me out, with a lot more than I can put in words.
The inescapable result of teaching so many people was that we flooded the very small market-place we had. So I had to change a few things up. I decided to get creative. I went to my tattoo artist, Gathuku Macharia (@the.madkid), and asked if it was possible for him to advertise to some of his clients. These would be my first original designs one of which was Nefertiti. This was the first time I not only realized, but also proved that I could make original and artistic designs.
So I went the customized way. This is where my passion for the craft grew deeper roots, a trunk and leaves! I trusted my ability to customize anything. And that was a breakthrough for me.
“I trusted my ability to customize anything. And that was a breakthrough for me.”June Wangome of Snug Rug
One day, my friend, Angela, dared me to prove this claim. She picked a random image of Bart Simpson off the internet and told me to make it if I thought I was that good. I made it and it excited me more than I thought ever possible. Angela loved it. She became my favorite and most frequent client to date.
The reception of that piece gave me the confidence to keep working, and the result of that is that I kept improving. My tattoo artist helped guide me along the way. He put my rugs in his shop, and he’s the one who told me the day I stopped thinking of mat making as a side hustle and considered it my main thing, I, and the business would start growing.
This is when I became serious about making mats. I started doing my designs, putting completed works up on social media, and looking more aggressively for clients. And that, in a wordy nutshell, is how I came to be what I am.
Favourite crafting memory.
I recently did an abstract of African masks which was my first original design and it holds a special place in my heart. It also showed people that rugs don’t have to be just plain items to be stepped on. They can also be art that can be hung on your sitting room wall as a centerpiece.
My tattoo artist’s name pops up here again: Gathuku Macharia. Feels like I’m plugging him, doesn’t it? I love and I’m proud of my tattoos and the job he did. I’m continually in awe of his artistry.
Business goals for Snug Rug.
In 2021, if I gather enough funds, I plan on opening an online shop to sell weaving materials and equipment to other ‘yarnists’ conveniently. I’m also working on a way to mass-produce customized rugs in a shorter time period.
Sharing is caring.
Influence of culture.
When I was young, my grandmother used to weave ‘kiondos’ (African baskets). The baskets were beautiful, I remember wanting nothing more than to learn how to do that and she was kind enough to impart some of this skill. This was whilst in the company of other grandmothers, as they talked about stuff I couldn’t understand, probably laughing at my weaving ability. I completed several small kiondos and might have sold one. I don’t know. Baby brain not working too well.
Struggles in business.
It was, and sometimes still is, hard explaining to people my vision with the rugs. There are very few people who would think of this as art. It got to the point where I was just making my designs and hanging them in my own house. This was my Gethsemane moment. I started doubting whether this was the right path for me or should I go down the employment way and be “normal”. It was only when I did the abstract piece that I think people’s perspectives widened to the possibilities of what this could be.
How to offer support.
Buy from Snug Rug or let me custom make stuff for you. It’s the only way to support any business anywhere. It builds morale to any start up.