Founder Feature: Regina Kazanjian of Areni Rose

Meet Regina Kazanjian.

Owner, Designer, & Maker at Areni Rose.


"[Cincinnati is] a big enough place that you have access to a meaningful market, but small enough that it truly feels like there's enough support... and resources to go around! The small business community here is so supportive of each other. "


Areni Rose creates custom shoes made with high-quality materials tailored exactly to your measurements.

 

Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur?

A: Look for help! It's out there. And don't be afraid of numbers. That information can help you grow and light your path forward.


Q: How did a grant from Main Street Ventures impact you and your business?

A: It will support equipment updates I need to improve my production infrastructure and give me the resources I need to meaningfully grow my market through referrals!


Q: What does a typical day in your life look like?

A: As a parent, I am extremely aware of the value of my hours! I drop off my kids at school by 8 and come home and sprint in my workshop till pickup time at 2. I can't afford to waste any of that time! If I do, I'll be working at night after bedtime.


I focus on technical craft best for about ninety minutes at a time before my productivity starts to decline. So, for an hour and a half I will be drafting a pattern, cutting leather pieces, stitching an upper to a sole, trimming a boot on my bandsaw, burnishing a stacked leather heel edge...Usually while I do this I listen to an audiobook or podcast.


When I see my progress slowing down, I'll change lanes; perhaps I'll send out some progress updates and photos to my current clients, file the month's sales tax, look around the workshop and update material inventory, or post to social media. Then I'll do some stretching or take a quick walk before jumping back into manufacturing mode.



Q: What is a lesson you've learned that has shaped your work?

A: As an artisan, some days I feel like my skills are great and some days I fear that they're worse than yesterday. It's been helpful to take the long view on my progress and see that my expertise, aesthetic sensitivity, and technical skills have deepened slowly but surely with time and practice.


Q: What's next for Areni Rose?

A: More booking availability! The production infrastructure updates supported by my MSV Launch grant will allow me to open books for more clients than you've seen in the past. On the product side of things, I don't want to spill the beans but...it involves luscious warm sheepskin!