By JR Valrey
The Bay Area is filled with creative and talented entrepreneurs, and Danae “Naye” Hooker is the cream of the crop when it comes to taking her ideas to market. She currently is in the memorial business, which includes making lanyards and other memorabilia of people who passed away. I wanted to interview Danae “Naye” Hooker to inspire other people to follow their dreams of creating their own business, as well as to expose the rest of the community to a local business that may be needed in these trying, pandemic times. Check her out in her own words.
JR Valrey: When did Naye’s Creations start?
Danae “Naye” Hooker: I want to say somewhere around 2015-2016. My grandma had passed away, Deborah Sipp. And I always just wanted to know how to make buttons like they used to do at the mall, in Eastmont. I don’t know if y’all are familiar with that, but my mom used to go to Eastmont all the time. She had this picture of us that we took at the mall, and they put it in a button. So when my grandmother died, instead of making lanyards of her, I made buttons of her. I started off cheap, with the “Michaels click-in buttons”, I didn’t know how to advance my product or where to turn to get a better quality product.
Naye’s Creation is the name that I came up with because I make a lot of things. I make bracelets and lanyards. If y’all aren’t familiar with lanyards, it’s the thing that you have around your neck with a photo of a person, in memory of them. I just perfected my craft in the button area. I did keychains. I do all types of things, and I am learning more, as I progress in this business. And I’m looking to do scarves, socks, t-shirts, etc, because this is what I like to do.
JR Valrey: What kind of service and products do you provide?
Danae “Naye” Hooker: The kind of services and products that I provide are push pin buttons. As I said before, I used to do the cheap buttons from Michaels that you close together, but now I do lanyards. I have perfected that craft, now I do bracelets. If need be, I do invitations as well. And that’s pretty much all that I am doing at the moment. I’m looking to improve my craft, to get into a bigger situation.
JR Valrey: Where do I see Naye’s Creations in 5 years?
Naye: In 5 years, I’m hoping that it will be like a Fedex or Kinkos type of thing, because I want to do more than what I am doing right now. I want to invest in myself and get a big printing machine, and be able to do different things. I’m very creative. In 5 years, I hope that my business expands a little bit more. I have two businesses. I just hope the names get out there a little bit more.
JR Valrey: Has Covid-19 affected your business?
Danae “Naye” Hooker: No. Covid 19 has not affected my business, actually it has brought me more business. As bad as it sounds, and not to brag on the dead, but my business really comes from people that have lost a loved one. Honestly, it’s about memorializing people, and giving people the opportunity to always remember their loved one. And that is why I put my all into it, because I know how it feels to lose somebody close to you, whether it is your grandmother, uncle, brother, cousin, anybody that’s immediate family, it hurts differently. Since there’s not anything to do, there has been a lot of senseless violent crime going on. My business has been booming, due to the simple fact that people are losing loved ones. Again not bragging on the dead, but covid 19 has boosted my business. It’s bad how I am talking about it, but covid 19 has boosted my business to another level.
JR Valrey: What advice would you give other young business owners struggling to keep their businesses through the pandemic?
Danae “Naye” Hooker: Just stay focused. Keep your eyes on the prize. Yeah, you are going to have some days when you sell more than others, then you’re going to have days when you don’t sell anything at all. Just keep promoting, keep going, keep progressing. It’s going to get better. Even if we are in a pandemic, just stay focused overall. You want your business to expand, and yeah it seems like your friends aren’t supportive enough but there are also people that are outside of your friends that will support you. Strangers will always support you, more than family and friends. I just say stay focused and don’t give up. You have your good days and your bad days. Overall just stay focused, and eyes on the prize.
JR Valrey: How can people see your selection of products, and stay online with you?
Danae “Naye” Hooker: You can actually go to my instagram, it’s Naye’s Creations_, and you can view my highlights on the story, and it will tell you pretty much everything that you need to know. I don’t do individual buttons any more, because I realized that that is taking more ink from me versus doing 4 at a time. So the least you can order is 4. Everything that you need to know about how much it cost, who you need to talk to, who to cashapp and pay to order, everything is on my instagram. I/m not working on a website because I am only one person right now, and it is hard because I do other things. I go to school. I work, and trying to keep up with a website for my businesses is hard, I’ve tried it before. Until further notice, I’m always on instagram. You can inquire about anything on my instagram, again ig: @nayescreations_. And you will find me there.