This 19-year-old in Toronto makes insanely cool custom rugs
Grace Martin-Chacon, a 19-year-old student at York University in Toronto, started up Dizzyrugs, a custom rug business, in December 2020.
Dizzyrugs offers custom-designed tufted rugs, tufted mirrors and even tufted tote bags that range from $20 to $200 in price.
Before December, Martin-Chacon had no experience making rugs whatsoever, and the extent of her sewing skills came from her grandmother who had taught her to sew when she was a little girl.
Martin-Chacon was inspired after seeing TikTok videos and YouTube tutorials on making rugs and decided to make one for her boyfriend for Christmas.
"I saw other people creating rugs, and I thought I could actually do this. It was all tutorials online, and once I started doing it, I didn't realize that I could actually be good at it," Martin-Chacon told blogTO.
Her first hand-tufted rug was of the Toronto Raptors sign, which took her about 32 hours to make.
Despite the tedious nature of rug making, she fell in love with the craft.
Martin-Chacon had more free time during the second COVID-19 lockdown, so she decided to make her newfound hobby into a business.
"I worked at National Thrift, but with the lockdown, I'm out of work, so this is a way for me to make some extra money," she said.
After posting a picture of one of her rugs on Instagram, Martin-Chacon got the encouragement she needed to start up her business.
"I was like 'wow, I could really turn this into a business, people seem to be really interested'... people were like 'you should make more' and telling me that they wanted commissions."
Making rugs is no easy feat, though. It takes a lot of time, patience and supplies.
"You need a lot of yarn and a monk's cloth which is a cloth that has a lot of tiny holes that you put a punch a needle through or a tufting gun," she said.
At the start, she was making each order by hand.
"I started my business doing only punch needle, so I was doing all of my rugs by hand punching every single strand of yarn into the fabric."
After growing her business, Martin-Chacon purchased a tufting gun that saved her about 24 hours of labour on each rug order.
For her designs, Martin-Chacon traces patterns with a projector and does some free handwork designs.
"I'm so thankful that I could purchase one of the guns, and now it only takes me about 8 hours to finish a rug," she said.
Martin-Chacon is a full-time university student, but she manages to balance her orders, classes and school work.
In the future, she would like to make her part-time business her full-time gig.
"I would love it to be my full-time business but it's obviously about financial security and once I feel comfortable enough to quit my job ,but I will definitely still be going to school and trying to get my degree," she said.
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