Name: Jennifer Stewart
Courage and confidence is something that crocheter Jennifer Stewart found within herself to start her own small business. In 3 years, Jennifer went from learning how to crochet from YouTube, to selling her handmade goods and patterns on Etsy.
She designed this absolutely delicious Sunshine Mat (it is made out of our 100% Recycled Banana Fiber Yarn) exclusively for Darn Good Yarn. Get your pattern kit here, and continue on to get some tips and tricks from Jennifer!
1. When did you start crocheting? How did you learn?
I started to seriously teach myself how to crochet about 3 years ago. It all started when my boyfriend(now husband) tried to teach me to knit and I couldn’t get the hang of it! I switched from that to making slippers on a plastic circle loom and then I got the courage to dive into crochet because I was itching to make more and more! I almost solely used YouTube and online tutorials to teach myself how to crochet.
2. What is your favorite memory involving fiber arts?
My favorite memory is from when I was a child. It is something that I didn’t appreciate until after I was grown up and diving into fiber arts myself. I used to receive knitted mittens and slippers from my grandma for as long as I can remember. She had passed away before I was ever able to enjoy this hobby
with her, so now I cherish the last pieces of her work more than ever.
3. What inspired you to create your own small business?
It wasn’t anything miraculous that inspired me to start a small business. I was really enjoying my time learning how to crochet and was starting to feel confident in my skills. At the same time my husband had just been promoted at work, so we decided it was a good time for me to try something new, fun, and potentially risky.
4. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your fiber arts career?
The biggest challenge so far has been confidence in my potential. I have a lot of fun learning and growing in my skills and engaging in the community, but all too often I start to feel like success is not meant for me. There are SO many amazing makers with small businesses right now and it’s easy for me
to feel like I will never break through. Keeping the confidence and motivation to keep trying even when it gets difficult has been my biggest challenge.
5. What tips do you have for other crafters who are looking to take their art to the next level?
When it comes to crafters looking to take their art to the next level, my first tip is to just DO IT! It all starts with taking that first step. That step might be to make a business plan or start an Instagram strictly for your business, but just begin somewhere. My next tips are to do your research and to commit. There
is so much to learn and you want to keep up with what’s current in the business world. You also need to be ready to stick it out even when things feel impossible. Learning a new technique or starting a business will come with many bumps in the road. Keep your eye on your goals and push through!
6. What’s next for you?
I have recently launched a new website/blog dedicated to my business. My goal for this year is to dedicate the time needed to make that profitable. I recently switched to only selling crochet patterns, so that is also something I am working on- designing more. I have a few fun collaborations coming up this year and I am also teaching myself how to knit!