fbpx

On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a business in crochet with my guest, Twinkie Chan.

Twinkie is a San-Francisco based crochet designer and instructor known for her colorful, food-themed accessories like cupcake scarves, hamburger mitts, and slushee cup purses. She has two published crochet books and currently has a crochet installation on view at Sweet Tooth Hotel in Dallas, TX.

This episode is sponsored by Muezart.

Unique, natural, sustainable yarn & fibers. For makers who love to create.

muezart

Muezart is a small yarn and fiber company that works closely with women partners in the villages of Meghalaya. Muezart’s mission is to promote Eri silk, a unique, natural, and sustainable fiber known to have the world’s smallest carbon footprint, to the makers of the world.

Twinkie Chan hamburger mitts

Hamburger mitts.

We begin this interview by talking about Twinkie’s childhood growing up in San Francisco. Her dad was adept at computer programming and an intense work ethic, and her mom had a DIY spirit, all of which influenced her as a young person. Twinkie learned to crochet when she was 10-year’s-old from her best friend’s grandmother and used to bring her crochet to school because she thought it was so cool.

Twinkie Chan strawberry cake scarf

Strawberry cake scarf.

She went to Standford intending to study science but quickly realized spending hours in a lab wasn’t for her. Instead, she studied English and creative writing and went on to work at a literary agency. At that job, Twinkie says she learned many skills that translated to her later craft career including how to create and market a cohesive brand. She used to make creative gifts for her boss who encouraged her to pursue crafting. Twinkie started her blog in 2005 and began selling crocheted items on her site and then on eBay where they would often sell for high prices.

Little Shop of horrors tree twinkie chan

Twinkie collaborates with brands, including creating this Little Shop of Horrors tree for Treetopia.

Twinkie Chan McDonald's Fries purse

And this french fries purse for McDonalds.

Twinkie’s work was written up in Giant Robot magazine and the article caught the notice of a licensing agent in Los Angeles who contacted her. He posited the idea of licensing her designs so that they could be manufactured and sold in stores nationwide. After some hesitation, they went into business together, creating the YummyYou brand. Twinkie talks about the ups and downs of licensing so if you’re interested in this for your own business definitely tune in!

We also talk about some of the brand collaborations that Twinkie has done. Twinkie shares some of her experience working with bigger brands like McDonalds as well as more niche brands like Treetopia.

Crochet bakery display

Twinkie’s installation at the Sweet Tooth Hotel is a crocheted bakery called Sucre Fleuf

Finally, we talk about the two books of crochet patterns Twinkie has written, Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies and Crochet Abode a la Mode, and the mixed feelings she had at first about publishing patterns for the goods she was selling online. We also talk about teaching on Creativebug. This summer Twinkie began working full-time at Creativebug helping artists plan and execute their classes on the platform. And we talk about Twinkie’s exhibit at the Sweet Tooth Hotel in Dallas.

And, of course, I ask Twinkie to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Twinkie recommends:

  • Exploring crafts that are not her usual crochet, like knitting, paper mache, and just making friendship bracelets.
  • Dandy Blend – a caffeine-free coffee alternative made with dandelion, chicory, and some other herby things. She says she loves drinking warm beverages while she works at night, but real coffee is too acidic for her now
  • CBD body cream to ease pain on her crochet elbow

Keep up with Twinkie on her blog and on Instagram where she posts the cutest videos.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This