May flew by with the birth of our second son, and we had to post-pone our last featured maker while we attempted to adjust to our hectic household. It's bittersweet for us to end the Meet a Maker series, but we want to give as much time as we possibly can (which isn't much, honestly) to Crochet Hooks and Natural Dyeing.
Therefore, we wanted to end the series with someone very special, and we couldn't think of a more worthy featured maker and inspiration to the crochet community - Toni from TL Yarn Crafts.
Toni and I have internet-known each other since June 2015 when she purchased a couple hooks from us (like the one below). We have both watched each other grow in the Instagram community, and Toni is rocking it with her Instagram posts, YouTube channel, and Blog.
Toni is a fantastic influence in the crochet community, offering crochet patterns, tutorials, finished products, supplies, and craft goodies. Learning from her mother when she was 12 years old, Toni developed a love and incredible passion for crochet which has led to the small business she has now.
Toni is very talented in her crocheting, and I am especially in awe of her work with Tunisian Crochet (something I have very little experience in). Toni's craftiness has also become somewhat of a staple in the yarn community, where she makes and sells Crafty Badges that us fiber fanatics can't seem to live without. These pins are designed, hand-punched, and packaged just by Toni, and you've probably seen them all over Instagram.
Toni has graciously offered a $20 Gift Card to her shop AND winner's choice of 2 Crafty Badges. Click the link below to be taken directly to the Giveaway, where you can enter to win.
Without further ado, check out the interview below with Toni and get to know this featured maker a bit more.
1. Tell us your name and a little about your business.
I'm Toni Lipsey, the TL in TL Yarn Crafts. I started TLYC in 2013 out of my living room and am proud to say that I've since upgraded to a home studio (aka, a gloriously decorated guest bedroom). My business is all about inspiring creativity in others by constantly making. You can find crochet patterns and maker gifts in my shop, but my greatest passion is teaching. As of late, I spend most of my time teaching workshops at local yarn stores and building a library of crochet resources on the brand new TL Yarn Crafts TV, my YouTube channel.
2. What do you love most about your product?
What I love most about my product is that I can take it in whatever direction I like. When I first started TL Yarn Crafts, I specialized in finished winter accessories and home goods. Now that my focus is on education, I get to pick a topic or design and delve as deeply into it as I want and share it on several different platforms. Also, this approach to my business allows it to be more interactive. When I sell someone a hat, they might leave a review about how much they like it. But when I teach them a skill or impart some of my business experience, it sparks a dialogue, which is so inspiring to me.
3. What is the hardest part of having your own business/selling handmade?
The hardest part about running TLYC is that it is currently a side business. No matter how many ideas I have about wanting to expand or take things in a new direction, I always have to be conscious about my first priority, which is my day job. My dream is to run my biz full-time, but until then, I'll squeeze the most out of every free second I have.
4. What other makers inspire you?
For fear of writing an entire book on the topic, I'll just pick a few that come to mind right now: I'm on a Tunisian crochet kick right now, so I'm totally in love with the work coming from Michelle @poppyandbliss on Instagram. I love her use of color and classic design to really make yarn arts interesting. My crochet crush and constant inspiration is Alexandra @twoofwands. She is one of the makers that I most identify with, in terms of style and aesthetic. She is always cooking up something new, which inspires me to keep designing. And I can't talk about inspiration without mentioning one of my very first Insta-besties, Alex @alexcreates. Not only does he make an amazing product, but he's just so darn nice! It's easy to forget that there are real people behind these gorgeously curated accounts, but Alex is unabashedly himself at every turn, and I love that.
5. What advice do you have for a handmade business just starting out?
Give. Your. Self. Some. Grace! I spent the first year or so of TL Yarn Crafts second guessing every decision I made, which made for a very miserable year. It took a while for me to hit my stride and get to know the business I actually wanted TL Yarn Crafts to be. Overnight sensations are rare and fleeting. But trudging through the learning process makes the finish line that much sweeter. While you're learning (which you should always be doing!), give yourself some space to make mistakes and go through the trial and error of being an entrepreneur. Your future self will thank you for it.
6. How can we find you?
I'm all over the place! Find TL Yarn Crafts on its own fancy website or on Etsy, Instagram (my second home), Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and now on YouTube. TL Yarn Crafts TV is all about educating and inspiring the creator in you through crochet tutorials, product reviews, and crafty biz tips.
7. Tell us about the giveaway item.
I'm so excited to give away this collection of TL Yarn Crafts Crafty Badges. Not only do I design each badge, but I also punch and pack them by hand in my studio. I release a new pack of pins each month - get more details by following me on Instagram and subscribing to my Cozy Club newsletter on TLYarnCrafts.com.
Toni will be giving away a $20 Gift Card to TL Yarn Crafts AND 2 Crafty Badges (winner's choice). Giveaway ends 6/21 at 11:59 MST. Open Worldwide.
CAN'T WAIT? Toni is offering 15% OFF everything in her shop with coupon code BQUEEN15 (expires 6/22).
One winner will be chosen randomly and contacted on 6/22 by Toni. Winner has 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen.