Metro Detroiter's turning their passion into a paycheck during the pandemic

Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 17:50:51-05

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — We’re introducing you to some fresh-eyed entrepreneurs, who made a big pivot amidst the pandemic, turning their passion into a business at a time when so many other businesses were buckling.

Dearborn’s Faten Sarieni is hard at work -- woodworking, that is, "It brings me joy. it brings me happiness, it takes my stress away.”

For Sarieni, a nurse by trade, woodworking was always just meant to be a hobby, a passion discovered after a bad experience with a store-bought patio canopy.

“When I was trying to build, it kept bending so I got really frustrated,” said Sarieni.

She went to the hardware store, loaded up on wood, and got to work.

“I came home and really surprised myself,” said Sarieni. “I built that canopy myself.”

That’s when the storybook romance began. Faten eventually altered her one-car garage into a workshop. The idea that this little space could bring her in some big bucks didn’t dawn on her until the pandemic hit.

With demand for home improvement projects on the rise, the interest from people seeing her in action on her Fateswood Instagram page sparked major interest. and her hands have been busy ever since - farmhouse tables, ottomans, armrest trays, and even pour-over coffee makers.

This mother of four and grandmother of three is giving all the credit to the tools she now considers family.

“I love these----these are my babies,” said Sarieni.

Despite launching amidst a pandemic, Sarieni is finding success. and she’s not alone.

It’s a piece of the American pie, several other metro Detroit dreamers are getting a taste of. The mother/daughter duo behind Thai food dumpling pop-up, Basil Babe, is joining in.

“I started making dumplings at home early lockdown. I had so much fun making them, so I taught my mom how to make them and we had a great time bonding,” said Thai Inhmathong.

After posting on social media, the dumplingstook on a life of their own. All of our friends and family would reach out and be like, oh my gosh, how do I get some dumplings,” said Inhmathong.

The duo eventually began selling them out of their driveway, then partnering with local restaurants and ultimately convincing Thai to un-tie herself from a full-time advertising job.

“I realized that my dreams changed, and I recently quit my 9 to 5 office job,” said Inhmathong.

“Last year just kind of showed us that tomorrow is not promised and if you have a dream of starting a business, then you know what, go ahead and do it right now,” said Jennyfer Crawford from AskJennyfer small business consulting.

She’s seen an uptick in people making the transition.

I asked her what do you think is the key to success for these micro-businesses?

“I would say, the key thing to a business is consistency,” said Crawford.

Being consistent in pushing your products and services and getting plugged into the right resource hubs are huge.

Detroit means businessandSCORE Detroit, just some of the organizations offering startups free help in branding, mentorship, and funding.

“There’s a lot of different programs now more than ever,” added Crawford.

Above all, the best driver for success is passion--- something these ladies are not without. “Having people eat them and seeing their faces light up brings me more joy than you can even imagine,” said Inhmathong.

“A piece of me is at someone’s house and they’re loving it? It really makes me happy,” said Sarieni.

We’d love to hear more of these kinds of inspirational stories so if you’ve bounced back in a big way, we want to hear from you, send us an email to