Crafting a Business Through Networking and Community Support

By Tommy Switzgable

After years of consulting for some of the biggest business firms in Massachusetts, Ye Tian, DMSB’12, decided it was time to stray from the conventional path and forge his own way through the ever-changing world of business. However, Tian wasn’t interested in the prototypical entrepreneur’s narrative of finding an established market to break into—he wanted to create his own market and revolutionize it.

Tian moved to Boston from the Shanghai area to attend Northeastern and study finance at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Coming from a family that launched their own law firm in China, it was only natural for him to use his business degree in the entrepreneurial space. As a result, he started Crafts Zone in 2022, which is the first brick-and-mortar, multi-project DIY studio in the United States, offering crafts like painting, creating candles, and designing clothes.

Situated in the heart of Brookline’s tight-knit Coolidge Corner neighborhood, the Crafts Zone storefront has created an immense amount of buzz during its incipient stage, gaining the attention of many local media outlets like The Boston Globe. Since then, Crafts Zone has “received a lot of support from different local communities and our customers. They [have] helped me with marketing exposure, operating improvement, and recruiting,” says Tian

While the rapid growth of Crafts Zone has quickly made Tian a heavyweight in the Boston-area art market, he is quick to mention his roots at Northeastern and the foundation the university helped him lay in his quest to carve out a new market. “Northeastern provided me a great opportunity to learn whatever I like during my campus life,” he says. “Co-op programs helped me understand the working environment in different industries and networking support helped me a lot when I started my own business.”

Even with the quick rise of his entrepreneurial endeavor and the support of the Northeastern network, Tian has only begun to plant the seeds of this continuously growing operation. “I wish Crafts Zone can be the first national franchise brand for the dating experience in the [United States] over the next five to 10 years,” he ambitiously says. To achieve this goal, he relies on the generosity and support of Northeastern’s large alumni network. “The alumni network helped me a lot in the initial marketing promotion,” he says. “They helped me spread the word of my business…and provided a lot of event opportunities to help me promote my business. Northeastern has a lot of resources that can support your dream.”

Learn more about Tian and Crafts Zone on Instagram @craftszone_boston or reach out to Tian via his website or email [email protected]. Northeastern students receive a 10% discount to Crafts Zone with their Husky Card. If you would like to deepen your support,  donations can be made to the Northeastern Chinese Student Association.

Northeastern has a lot of resources that can support your dream.”