My business is still in the baby stages. It’s called Chez Crystal (Crystal’s Place), and it’s a series of simple, original songs and videos with subtitles aimed at teaching Francophone children basic English.
The idea started back in February 2018 after a brainstorming session I had with fellow artists in Paris about our common desire to have our own Paris-based business. After that meeting, and after listening to a few podcasts about finding one’s “side hustle” without breaking the bank, I decided to have a go at it.
I knew I wanted to do something related to music, but couldn’t quite narrow it down. Then one day, a good friend of mine said I should just make a business out of what I was currently doing on a volunteer basis at my twins’ school. I should sell the songs that I was teaching these adorable French-speaking children. I remembered all the parents asking me where they could find the songs their children came home singing, and it all made sense. This would become my newest endeavor!
It was sorta my Eureka moment. “Chez Crystal” was born! It was doubly amazing to hear my friends back home tell me they, too, loved the project because the songs I had written also contained many French translations as well. I realized I was on to something that hadn’t really been done before—songs that teach basic English to French-speaking kids, but can also help English-speaking kids learn some basic French expressions and words.
I composed all the music, wrote the lyrics, and shot and edited all the videos. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful tribe of artist friends here who helped me with my styling and photo sessions to make everything come together simply, yet perfect for the image I would like to project.
I officially launched www.chezcrystal.com on May 31st, and I’m super excited about it!
I’m married to a wonderful Parisian entrepreneur whom I met 20 years ago while studying abroad in Dijon! We have pretty much spent all of our adult lives together. We were initially in the same band and spent three years touring the world with our first album.
My husband opened his own large-format printing business 10 years ago, catering to luxury brands. We are the proud parents of two bilingual, energetic 5-year-old boys who love to dance, sing and wrestle each other every five minutes.
The biggest challenge I have faced thus far has been the lack of time to get everything done. After taking care of my twins (France has sooo many holidays and days off!), giving coaching sessions, writing songs for artists, accompanying artists on tour, doing voice-overs and handling my duties as an artistic director of two major projects, I don’t have much “spare” time to dedicate to Chez Crystal.
This being said, I had to change my way of thinking and take “Chez Crystal” on the road with me, literally! I used every train, metro, plane, and bus ride to jot down ideas, edit my videos (using amazing, great apps!), send out emails, and more. I also had lots of late-night sessions, which meant that I had to drink quite a few espressos in order to make it through some days. (Still working on that!)
My boys are a direct source of inspiration. They are artists in their own right and have given me ideas for melodies, sung background vocals on some songs, and drawn pictures that I used as album covers.
They’re also my best litmus test. I’ll sing a melody around the house a couple of times, and if I hear them sing it later on, I know it’s a winner! I’m definitely creating this project so I can spend more time with them and less time on the road.
Definitely choose a domain or idea that you’re passionate about. Something that people would come to “pick your brain” about because you possess a wealth of knowledge on the subject. It doesn’t have to be related to your current job at all.
I’d also say, don’t give up your day job until you can get some momentum going with your newest undertaking. The most important thing is to just start!
Do what you can. Take each day as it comes and don’t beat yourself up about what did or didn’t get done.
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Crystal Petit is from Atlanta, but has lived in Paris for 18 years. She is a multi-passionate artist: singer, songwriter, vocal coach, voice-over actress, and artistic director; and she has worked on a French TV show, musicals, and major tours, as well as written songs for films and other artists.
The title she loves the most, however, is that of Mom! Her twin boys are her fountain of youth, and they keep her on her toes! Follow her on Facebook at Chez Crystal and on Instagram at CrystalPetit. Make sure to check out her shop here.
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