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Divergent Stitches

Marion, Iowa

Matching Partner: Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust

My name is Victoria and I’m an autistic adult. Part of my neurodivergence is a focus on crafts of all kinds. For many years, I’ve enjoyed dabbling in graphic design. Two years ago, I began sewing, and in 2022 I created my business Divergent Stitches. Originally I began selling just my own graphic designs on fabric and sewing items from the fabric, but then I developed the idea to incorporate the designs of other neurodivergent artists.

My site currently has 8 neurodivergent artists who partner with me to sell their designs on fabric and/or fabric-made items.

The site has struggled because my neurodivergence makes it difficult to market and grow the business. I am partnering with another neurodivergent business owner, Inclusivity Designs, to create a new site, develop the SEO and online presence, and grow my business.

Business Description

I am autistic and love to support other autistic and neurodiverse adults. I created this business originally to sell my own work; I create graphic art and use it to have fabric printed, and I sew handbags and such using the fabric.

In 2022 the business blossomed to include more than just me: on my website, I also showcase the designs of other neurodivergent artists, and sell fabric and sewn items using their artwork. The artists license their work to me for this purpose and they receive 90% of the profit of fabric sales. They also receive part of the profits for sewn items using the fabric with their designs. The artists help with the social marketing of the site.

I work out of my home. I’d love to have a location where I could have all of the sewing machines set up and fabric storage, but for now it’s just from my craft room. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to make this my full-time job and expand to an outside location.

What is the Purpose of This Loan?

This loan is to pay for the website development, SEO, and marketing pieces. The proposal from my partner is to develop a fully optimizezd website with SEO and mobile browsing. This will be my primary way of selling my items.

Right now, my business doesn’t have much of a presence online. I work at the social media part of it, and my artist partners help, but my neurodivergence makes it difficult. The website and SEO will help me get the word out and bring visitors to the site.