On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a crochet business with my guest Toni Lipsey.
Toni is the designer and instructor behind TL Yarn Crafts. Through her printable patterns and cheery video tutorials, she strives to make crochet accessible to makers of every skill level.
Toni learned to crochet as a teen but honed her skills after graduating from college. She was bitten by the entrepreneur bug in 2015 and began TL Yarn Crafts as a finished product business. Designing soon became the focus and she was able to quit her day job in 2017.
At present, Toni spends her time nurturing her community of over 175K makers across platforms by offering approachable crochet patterns and handmade business wisdom.
This episode is sponsored by Amy Barickman.
Founder of Indygo Junction and author of the award-winning book Vintage Notions.
We begin this conversation by talking about how Toni learned to crochet as a child from her creative mom who knit and crochet and taught Toni to make a granny square one summer. Next, Toni talks about her time in college and graduate school when she really didn’t do much creative work. Toni returned to crochet when she and her husband moved to a new city and she needed something to fill her time while she was job hunting.
At first, TL Yarn Crafts was a business in which Toni sold handmade items at craft fairs. We talk about the pros and cons of this model and how she eventually found pattern design through a successful hat she made, the Mega Pom Beanie. We examine what made that specific design so successful and talk about what Toni has learned about designing patterns that she didn’t understand at the beginning.
We also discuss the transition from big box yarns to local yarn shop yarns and how a hobbyist gets introduced to premium products and supplies.
Toni is really great at collaborating with brands and fellow makers and I ask her to explain how she goes about forging these partnerships and why she feels their important to her business. She’s also awesome at Instagram (with over 80K followers). I ask Toni to tell us her Instagram routine and it’s really interesting to hear what she does day-to-day to make that platform a success.
In this episode we reference:
And, of course, I ask Toni to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Toni recommends:
- listening to audiobooks on the Libby app
- double-ended Tunisian crochet hooks from Denise interchangeables
- nurturing houseplants