"It isn't always easy, but it's always worth it. Her success is my success."
This episode of The Made With Love Experiment takes us to Sweden. Nicole chats with Tess, a crochet artist living the island life in the Stockholm Swedish Archipelago.
You may know Tess from her Instagram account, @CrochetedByTess. She is also one half of the creative crochet duo, Sisters In Stitch. The other half of the duo is Tess' best friend, Kay, otherwise known as @CrochetingKay.
Over the past two years, Tess and Kay have found so much joy through starting a business together. Listen below as Nicole chats with Tess to learn about the best ways her and Kay work together, while staying in the best friend zone, moving business forward, AND managing kids and families. (Phew.)
Listen to the Full Conversation Here:
FOR THOSE WHO PREFER TO READ VS. LISTEN:
With very different design expressions and aesthetics, the contrast between the two crochet artists creates a unique edge with their original crochet patterns. In addition to patterns, Kay and Tess host Sip Stitch Live, a live chat on Instagram every Thursday during which they show their WIPs (works in progress) and answer questions. They also host a Sip Stitch Podcast, the ultimate podcast for crochet and life.
STARTING A BUSINESS WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND
Tess and Kay's process of working together started with a lot of phone calls. The conversations were mixed between business and best friend matters.
We were in the middle of so many different things, and I started feeling overwhelmed .. My work ethic is to finish things. I like structure, and knowing the hours I am working. Kay works more fluidly, when she finds time and inspiration.
I've learned that there are some things that you can never actually finish, it doesn't matter how many hours you put into it - it will never be done. I had to say something to Kay before I didn't want to do this anymore. So, I called and we just started to chat. There's always a risk when you confront someone that they might not feel its the same - that was the hardest part. This is my friend and I have to tell her that we had to find a better way to talk.
Eventually, Tess and Kay found a balance of communication using Slack, a project management and chat platform. Slack allowed Tess and Kay to keep the business organized, and freed their phone calls for more personal matters.
We don't open the app unless we're going to work. It’s really a balancing act; I hate to see people juggle, that's throwing things up and dropping them, so its more about balancing. We've found the right ways to communicate but not directly to each other.
TESS' CREATIVE INSPIRATION
Tess has always painted, ever since she was little. Her keen sense of colors is rooted in painting. Tess crocheted in high school per mandatory classes, then didn't pick up a crochet hook for15 years. After back problems due to her oldest daughter's pregnancy, Tess picked up the hook and painted with yarn, instead.
Crochet is the big love of Tess' life right now. She has only crocheted intensely for the past 2 years, and draws inspiration from Sweden's raw nature, which offers amazing sunrises and sunsets. Tess sees the ocean every day, and the fauna around it, so it's hard not to be inspired.
I don't think so much about colors, I feel them.
THE BEST ADVICE TESS HAS EVER BEEN GIVEN
I don’t remember who told me this, which is strange because it stuck with me, but it’s that the only things that you will regret are the things you never tried. And that works on every single level, because if you don’t try then you’ll never know.
BOBBIN FLOWER CROCHETED COLLECTION USING DARN GOOD LACE WEIGH SILK YARN - DESIGNED BY TESS