Business: Designs By Siri
Mission: To create a meaningful life for our daughter Siri and others on the autism spectrum.
What is Designs By Siri?
Why did you feel that starting your own business was the answer?
Starting a business gave us a chance to bring employment opportunities to our daughter. There is no such business that we know of that would be able to teach her how to make jewelry, at her pace and in a manner that suits her learning style.
Is this a business that just employs your child or do you also employ others with autism or special needs?
At first, the creation of Designs By Siri was as a solopreneur model to meet the needs of our daughter. We have recently formed Designs By Siri Team (see photo below) to teach other autistic individuals how to make stretch bracelets.
What are 3 challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
- Getting people to notice Siri’s talent. We attended many events so the general public can see Siri and her in action, the beautiful pieces she creates and to have a chance to purchase them.
- She was making so many items and we didn’t know where to sell them other than having a presence online and at autism-related conferences (which don’t happen that often). We started visiting wineries in and around Bay Area along with Siri to show the business managers wine glass rings and bottle bracelets she makes.
- In general many do not understand the challenges which come with the diagnosis of Autism. When people meet Siri and talk to her they understand a little bit of what autism is all about.
What are 3 rewards you’ve experienced from starting a business?
- Nothing is impossible if we keep trying.
- We feel very proud of our daughter as people ask for her by her name and many request to take pictures with her. She has become a celebrity.
- We are proud that we’ve been able to extend beyond our daughter by forming a team of autistic artists and pay them for their work.
Do you have an inspirational moment you’d like to share?
Anjana Sowmya is a famous singer from south India. She was inspired by Siri’s story and made a song about her which she released at an event in Los Angeles. Siri had a great time that day. She knew that she was the guest of honor! She even danced to Bollywood music at the event.
Tell us about any upcoming plans, new releases or exciting news!
We are planning to make a documentary on Siri’s inspirational story. She didn’t wake up one day and decide to work on making jewelry. It was a process which started by making care packages for Army soldiers.
We are looking for bulk and regular orders for the team to work on. Right now they are making stretch bracelets and eventually they will be trained to make lanyards, necklaces and bracelets with memory wire.
What message would you like to give to other families who are searching for job opportunities for their autistic loved one?
Depending on your loved ones interest, look for a job which makes them feel happy at work. If you cannot find one, start a business on your own.
Siri and her family
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