TK: I design and crochet animals, and sell my crochet patterns in my Etsy shop. Since there are endless types of animals out there, I have endless ideas for what to crochet next! Each of my crocheted animals starts out as an idea or a suggestion; then I draw a quick sketch of the animal and begin to crochet.
I usually have to stop and begin all over again at least once or twice before I’m happy with the finished product! Then I write up the pattern, have it checked and tested by a few crocheting friends, and publish it in my shop. I then sell, donate or gift my finished animals!
JM: Why did you start your business?
TK: It’s funny, I almost feel like my business started itself! Crocheting animals was just a hobby I picked up as something to do in the evenings. But I started to get so many custom orders that I began to learn a lot about designing different types of animals.
The more I learned, the more the ideas just kept coming! And I absolutely fell in love with being able to use a crochet hook and some yarn to create little stuffed animal friends! I kept notes of each of my designs, so when people asked if I would sell my patterns, I was honored and thrilled to share!
TK: My number one favorite thing would be the joy of creating a new animal for the first time. Having a picture in my mind and being able to sit down and crochet it is just so much FUN. I also love being able to work from home on the couch with a cup of coffee next to me and an audio book playing?
It doesn’t get better than that! And lastly, I love being able to regulate how much work I take on. When I have extra time, I can accept more orders and design more patterns, and when I’m busy, I can cut back and catch up. This eliminates so much stress, and I’m so grateful for that!
JM: What is your least favorite thing about being a yarnpreneur?
TK: I would say not being able to create something for everyone who asks. Because crocheting animals take so much time, I have to turn down a lot of requests. I hate saying no! But I love to encourage people to try crocheting for themselves, and when people say my patterns inspired them to learn to crochet that is the biggest honor ever!
TK: Two things that I’ve learned along the way that have helped me a LOT are these: Specialize! Pick one thing that you love to make and just focus on that. It may take some time to figure out what that one thing will be so try a few things and see what you enjoy the most and what gets the best feedback. But then work at that one thing until you are 100% confident in your product!
There is a lot of competition out there in the small business world, so it’s not always easy to be unique, but specializing will help you focus on perfecting your product. Which leads me to my next biggest piece of advice which would be, quite simply, take good pictures!! Really good pictures is one the easiest ways, I think, to set yourself apart! This may mean hiring a photographer, buying a better camera (or phone with a good camera!), and spending some time creating a backdrop or light box (this is what I use) for getting consistently good-quality pictures. But it is so worth it!
JM: What do you wish you had done differently when you first started your business?
TK: Well, I guess my advice for the last answer is the advice I needed when I first started! I so badly wanted my pictures to be better quality, but at first I just gave up on that. I didn’t know how to get good lighting and I thought it would cost too much to get a good camera and take too much time to get a good backdrop set up.
Finally I did the research, and (with a lot of help from my husband!) bought a phone with a better camera and spent about $30 and 2 hours building a light box. I so wish I had done this sooner, but better late than never!
JM: Whats next for you and your business?
TK: I am thrilled to share that motherhood is next for me and my business! My husband and I are adopting! So I will be cutting back somewhat on designing new animals over the next few months, but in the meantime, I can continue to sell my patterns and answer the crocheting questions that come up! Since designing and crocheting can be done as I have time, I look forward to many more years of creating crocheted animal friends!