Daily Grind: Nancy Xiong
Formerly called "Meet the Maker", now called "Daily Grind". We wanted to be able to share everyone's story whether you had a business, work a nine to five job, or had a side gig. We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to share their story and be able to use this platform to network and help one another out.
Our first interview on the Daily Grind Series is with Nancy Xiong. She is incredibility smart, determined, and creative. Take a few minutes to read her interview and get to know her a little bit more.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Nancy. I am a full time student, daughter, aunt, dog mom, and crafting hobbyist. I am currently a second bachelors nursing student, with a first degree in Anthropology. I often get asked why I chose Anthro and my answer is always, “I was able to relate so much to the things that I learned”. I went back to school for nursing because I wanted to be resourceful and impactful. I am my immediate family’s first American-born child. I have been blessed with a family full of nephews and nieces who inspire me every day. My best friend, Chief, a four year old German Shepherd, reminds me each day to celebrate life.
I started Crossroads by Nancy in 2015 with tremendous uncertainty. As a reserved and introverted individual, it was outside of my comfort level. I am so glad that I did. I have had the opportunity to meet and support so many amazing people and organizations through this platform. I primarily focus on sewing, but I also love being hands on and practicing different creative mediums. I think that being creative is a wonderful way for self expression and it is great for alleviating stress.
What are the three qualities that got you to where you are today?
Three qualities that have helped me reach where I am today include being ambitious, open minded, and honest.
What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
The first “career” I dreamt of as a child may have been to be a cashier. I would always make my own pretend bills and cash registers.
Do you currently have a 9 to 5 job on top of what you’re doing now?
At the moment, I do not have a 9-5 job. However, I would say that nursing school is definitely more than a 9-5.
What inspired you to start doing what you do now?
Since I can remember, I have always been surrounded by sewing. My father was well known for his Hmong men vests, and my mother for her traditional pleated skirts. I took it upon myself to try to learn how to sew since I had some pretty amazing machines right in front of me. I picked up sewing more seriously because it provided me with a therapeutic outlet. More selfishly, it allowed me a way to gain autonomy in an otherwise very unpredictable or predetermined world.
How did you come up with your business name?
I aim to create items that are practical for everyday (or special occasion) use, but still have distinguishable cultural elements. Hence, I called my shop “Crossroads”-- a meeting point of the traditional and westernized. The latter part is my name, which is added to create a more personable feel. Even though I am Hmong and my creations are heavily influenced by my background, I chose to not include “Hmong” in my shop name so that I can be inclusive of other ethnic groups that I may draw inspiration from.
Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
Much of my inspiration for my work comes from traditional Hmong styles and textiles. My absolute favorite Hmong piece is the colorful skirts, thus a lot of my inspiration pulls from elements of that.
What’s your favorite time of the day?
I am a night owl. Since I am most productive at night, that may be my favorite time of the day.
What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
I would love to travel near and far! I think having experiences is such an amazing way to become a well-rounded individual.
What skill would you like to master?
The most practical skill that I would like to master at the moment is efficient time management.
What are some small things that make your day better?
Literally, the small humans in my life make my days better. I have nieces that commonly “model” for me and make appearances on my Facebook and Instagram pages. I love each of their quirky personalities and all of the conversations they bring. Chief, my dog, also helps make my days better. There is something about having a genuine presence who accepts you wholeheartedly that a pet provides. Hearing feedback from customers and organically gaining their love and support is also a great feeling of achievement. Checking things off of my daily to-do list makes my days feel more accomplished.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
This last August, I flew on an airplane for the first time to Hawaii. I love the deep sense of pride and culture on the islands. Being amongst so much nature in a modern and developed nation was a very interesting experience and one that I would love to revisit.
If you got a free check for $5,000, how would you use it?
I would invest in sewing and crafting technologies. However, more realistically, I would use that to pay off my student loans.
Who inspires you to be better?
My vision of who I would be proud of becoming inspires me.
What’s one thing that you are exceptionally good at?
What’s one thing that you are epically bad at?
The one thing that I am especially bad at is saying “no”. I can be so empathetic at times that I often disregard myself in order to fulfill the needs of others. I am slowly learning to feel okay with saying “no” without feeling guilt.
What’s a favorite book of yours?
I love anything written by Mitch Albom. They are short reads that carry significant messages to learn from.
What do you like most about where you currently live?
Personally, I like that I am always surrounded by family. Business-wise, I love the abundance of local businesses that I can physically visit to shop for my supplies.
If you could live in a foreign place, where would it be?
I am not sure. I would love to travel around the world to experience different places to help determine.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Compare yourself to no one else but you. If you are taking steps forward each day, you are succeeding. You may fail, but you are not a failure.
What change would you like to see in the Hmong culture?
I would love to see a more mindful culture that is accepting of new perspectives.
What is your favorite thing about being Hmong?
My favorite thing about being Hmong is our rich traditional clothing. I love the stress for quality and attention to details. I love how meticulous each textile type is. Additionally, there are so many stories embedded in the symbols and stitches on our garments.
What advice would you give someone who wants to follow their passion and start their own business?
I say, go for it! If you are passionate, you will be persistent. I think that the most difficult part is allowing yourself to be vulnerable and actually starting. We are often our worse critics; We withhold ourselves from our capabilities because of the fear of uncertainty or of how others will perceive us. I think that if you go into your business as a genuinely good human, others will see that and show you their support.
If you want to reach out to Nancy, you can do so by visiting: