One night, as her hair lay wild across her pillow, Dyanna Crosson had an idea. Instead of going to the closest beauty supply store for a bonnet or headscarf, she would make her own.
This was the beginning of Dyanna’s Designs and Novelties. Over a year later, the 15-year-old SciTech High student has created and sold numerous bonnets, scrunchies and phone holders with bold patterns and colors. The patterns range widely from elephants and polka dots to bold African prints and Disney characters.
“The way I pick it is, whatever I’m feeling at the time,” Crosson said. “If I want to create something that’s really colorful and bold, I go with a bold color. If I know you and I know how you act and how you feel, then I will feel like, ‘Oh, this is you. This is the type that you like.’”
Sewing seems to be in Crosson’s blood. Her grandmother sewed, as did her mother. It was inevitable that Crosson would fall into it, too.
When Crosson was 8 or 9, her grandmother gave her one of her old sewing machines and taught her how to use it. She started fiddling with it in her free time until she finally got the groove. She started creating things like pillows, purses and clothing for her dolls.
She created her first bonnet a year ago with the help of a YouTube tutorial. She watched the video three times before she finally had a finished product. The Minions Christmas-themed bonnet turned out to be a little too large, but that didn’t stop her. She kept going until she got it right.
“After I made it a couple of times, I was like ‘Oh, yeah. I like this,’” she said. “I started making some for my family members, and they were like, ‘Ohhh, I like this.’ That really boosted me up.’”
She started giving her creations away as birthday and holiday gifts. Her first sale came from her sister, which motivated her to start her own mini-business.
“I felt kind of cool because I said, ‘I can go with this,’” she said. “I can make money from this and have fun with this.”
Of her three primary products, she most likes to create bonnets. They come in small, medium and large sizes, selling for $12 to $25. The large bonnets fit box braid and dread hairstyles, the medium sizes are good for those who like their cap close to their heads but not too tight, and the small sizes are for people with short hair or children.
“When I make [a bonnet], I want to keep it for myself, but I know I can’t,” she said. “Each one, I’m just like, ‘I would wear this. I would totally wear this.’ I just really love making them, it’s so fun.”
Crosson mostly sells her creations through word of mouth, or on Instagram. However, she did have her own table at the Kwanzaa festival last December in the Harrisburg Mall. She crafted African print bonnets that mixed cool and bright colors
Even though she was the youngest seller at the festival, she said that she was not intimidated and that everyone was welcoming.
“When customers came in, I was the first face they saw, and everyone seemed to surprised by how young I was,” she said.
Starting up a business so young can be difficult. Besides creating her products, she attends school, does homework, goes to volleyball practice and finds time to socialize with her friends.
“It’s very hard balancing everything,” she said. “It’s stressful and time-consuming.”
Crosson said that her goals and her support system keep her going. Her greatest supporters, she added, are her family. Her grandmother often helps her collect fabrics or the materials she needs to create her own patterns, her mother sells Crosson’s items at her job, and her father helps her on the business side.
“It’s lovely because everyone supports me, and no one is negative towards me,” she said. “They’re all very supportive. I love it.”
She is currently in the process of creating a website and even securing her own section in a local beauty supply store.
Over the next few years, Crosson sees herself in college, either in Arizona or Florida, while still running Dyanna’s Designs and Novelties.
“I see myself doing really well, making a whole bunch, getting my fan base together, getting my Instagram booming,” she said. “It’ll make me really happy to see that. I see myself in college. If I’m in college, and I see someone with my stuff on, I think I might melt.”
For more information on Dyanna’s Designs and Novelties, check out her Instagram @dyanna_design_novelty.