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Life and Work with Christy Nieto

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christy Nieto.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My Lucky Dragon was started with hope and love in my heart. My mother committed suicide in 2012 and I was devastated. Her death affected me emotionally, mentally and physically. It became hard to get out of bed, let alone talk to people. One day, I was watching TV and saw a lady making soap. I saw how happy and excited she was sharing her creations and wished I could feel that way. I then remembered who I was… I’m not a quitter! I’m not going to let my grief take over! I got up ordered my supplies and started creating as soon as they arrived. I went big! Not even knowing if I would enjoy making soap… I bought everything I needed. My dining room was filled with molds, essentials oils, fragrances, colorants, packaging, and a mixer… I went crazy. I put my mother’s picture in a pretty frame next to me and went to work. I found that making bath products made me happy and it also helped me remember the happy moments I shared with my mother. I began focusing my creations on her, I made dessert inspired bath and body products because she could never have sweets due to her diabetes. It was my way of giving her the sweets she loved and wished she could have. I also decided to name my business in honor of her. She was always so tickled and proud that I was a dragon. The luckiest and strongest sign in the Chinese zodiac, my mother would say. She called me her lucky dragon, so, My Lucky Dragon, was born.

I found a happy place again, making soap cupcakes, scrubs, bath bombs and bubble bars helped me heal. It was time to move to the next step, I opened an Etsy shop and applied for craft shows. Again, I went big, I bought myself a fancy sign, beautiful glass candy jars, business cards, etc. and I did my first craft show. It’s here where I met some of my best friends. I was surrounded by so many amazing artisans and crafters who were very supportive and helpful. I quit my job and made My Lucky Dragon my full-time business.

I then inherited my grandmothers vintage singer sewing machine. I was so excited because I had so many wonderful memories of my grandmother making my dolls and beautiful dresses on that machine. I remember us going to the fabric store buying fabric for my next dress, I would sit for hours watching her sew on that old Singer. In the drawers of her sewing desk, I found a couple of vintage patterns. I decided that instead of that gorgeous machine sitting there, I would learn to use it. Once again, I bought all the supplies I needed and purchased yards and yards of fabric. I spent hours watching tutorials and practicing different techniques. The rest is history, I now make purses, wallets, aprons, accessories, and clothing.

My business has grown into something healing, wonderful and meaningful. With every pour of soap and stitch I make, I feel love and pride. My Lucky Dragon means a lot to me, I make sure I provide a quality product and excellent customer service. I want every one of my customers to know that no matter how small or big their order is, it was made with love.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest struggles I faced, were oversaturation and expectation. There will be times where you may feel that your category is oversaturated with similar items. Do not feel discouraged. Use this as motivation to innovate and make your product or business stand out. Don’t let oversaturation ruin what makes you happy, It will be ok. Stay positive and remember there is more than enough business to go around.

We all want our business to be successful and pay the bills. Don’t expect to make hundreds of sales overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, a realistic budget, and time. It took me years to finally make steady sales and customer base. Don’t give up! As long as you keep a realistic expectation and stay focused you will succeed.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with My Lucky Dragon – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I seriously love everything I make. I make fun dessert inspired and natural bath & body products. From cupcake-shaped soap, sweet-smelling butter infused sugar scrubs, to natural clay soaps, they are all made with care and love. I also sew gorgeous bags made with unique fabrics and quality hardware and notions. I love to sew pinup inspired handbags, stylish everyday bags, and geeky inspired items. I feel that my business and products are a part of me. I feel I need to show my customers my deep appreciation for their support and business, by creating a unique experience. I make sure to package all my products and orders beautifully. It’s like they are receiving a present. Many of customer reviews mention my packaging and comment on how happy they feel opening their order, I love that.

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
I do believe my childhood did play a part in my business. As a child, I always felt the need to make my own money. Here’s a fun fact, in elementary school, I would sell pencils and fun erasers to fellow students. I remember the school calling my parents and requesting I stop because I was competing with the school’s gift shop. My family loves telling that story. I also feel that growing up in a creative environment played a part in the success of my business. My mother was a painter, my father is an amazing craftsman, and both my grandmothers were seamstresses. Creativity is in my blood.

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