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Meet Alicia Chiang-Cruz of CraftyCruzz in Rancho Cucamonga

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alicia Chiang-Cruz.

Alicia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It all started with an impulsive Amazon purchase. I had been a stay at home mom for about a year and a half, I was pregnant with my second son, and I felt like I was completely lacking some sort of creative outlet. So I came across a video of a woman doing calligraphy on Instagram and I thought, well that’s something I can do that would be fun. I purchased a “how-to” calligraphy book with some markers off of Amazon and I started messing with it. After a couple of hours of trying my ass off to be able to write, I gave up. I was packing my markers and book back into the amazon package to return, and I felt defeated, like all my artistic ability was gone. Then my husband walked up to me, stopped me from packing it up, and told me not to give up. He had reminded me of some other crafts and things I had struggled with in the beginning, and how I eventually became good at it with practice. So I kept with it and eventually started getting the hang of it. After practicing on paper for what felt like forever, I had this idea to try to make a little wooden sign for our home. I fell in love instantly. I knew in that moment that I had found something that 100% allowed me to be artistic, challenge myself, and create things from scratch in a way that made me feel empowered and bad ass. Immediately I knew I wanted to do this as much as possible, so I made an Instagram and started posting. What started as me on my back patio with a few small sanding block making signs, has become me in a converted garage workshop, with my team, pumping out not only bigger and bigger signs, but also huge custom kiosk displays for a major local outdoor mall. I’m so incredibly grateful for how far all this has come, it’s been a huge blessing.

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?
Not at all, I am constantly facing struggles and obstacles of all different shapes and sizes daily. In the beginning, when I started this business, I was a full-time stay at home mom struggling to find that family time and work time balance. I was eating, living, and breathing my work, not leaving much time for anything else, and dropping the ball in other parts of my life. At one point, I was completely and utterly unaware of my limits. I said yes to everyone’s projects, even if it meant staying up until 4am to meet a deadline, and so I was quickly burning myself out, and making myself crazy. I’ve since then found that perfect family and business balance, I’ve created a system to keep things running smoothly, I’ve learned to say no, and I’ve trained a few AWESOME dudes in my workshop to help with the workload. I have been SUPER fortunate to be part of such an amazing community, and because of that, my business is doing really well and is growing at a rate I could’ve only dreamed of.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
At CraftyCruzz were all about Custom Woodworking and Hand Crafted Signs. We specialize in taking our client’s vision and turning it into something they’re proud to display, whether it’s in their own home, or even their place of business. As a company, we’re most proud of our new initiative were calling “Plank4Plank” where we have partnered up with a non-profit company to give back, and plant trees all around the world. We will be not only fundraising, but we will also be donating a tree for every order placed. I like to think that a big part of what sets us apart from others is that we are a small knit team of parents who are devoted to our families and to our work, and I think it really shows. We treat people like people and love connecting with our new clients everyday. This isn’t just a job, it’s a journey and were just so grateful to be on it every single day.

What were you like growing up?
I was really adventurous, and very much so a tom-boy. I grew up with one older brother, a cousin who was more like a sister, and a bunch of friends who all lived within a minute from our home. We played A LOT of cops and robbers, we did obstacle courses on the daily, climbed all the trees we could, built clubhouses and hideouts, we would get our skates and hockey sticks and knock down all the bee-hives in the neighborhood, It was a blast! I was also very into music and performance, and still am. I’m a singer for fun and I love it!

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