On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a craft tool company with my guest Kelly Brooks.

Kelly and her husband, Scott Gardiner, are the team behind Knitbrooks, where they create unique wooden crochet hooks.

Kelly started Knitbrooks in 2013 while she was working as a reporter/photographer at a small community newspaper in Alberta, Canada. She opened an Etsy shop to sell online, and participated in local handmade markets over the next few years. In 2017 she tried carving her very first crochet hook out of a branch she found in the forest, which was the beginning of something special.

Kelly and Scott moved to Nova Scotia in 2019 and, despite graduating from an Ocean Fisheries and Aquaculture program, Scott joined the Knitbrooks venture – they both decided to pursue crochet-hook-making full-time by the end of 2020. They now live on a small homestead (which includes a small flock of fiber sheep) in rural Nova Scotia with their one-year-old son, where they continue to live their best hook-making life in their garage-turned-woodworking shop.

This episode is sponsored by Craftsy.

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We begin this interview by talking about Kelly’s childhood, a time when she and her family spent a lot of time outside observing and collecting things. Kelly decided to study photojournalism after high school and worked for several local media outlets as a photojournalist.

Kelly’s first handmade crochet hook was made from an interesting stick she found outside. Her husband, Scott, had a woodworking business which gave her access to tools and equipment to try making more. That’s how Knitbrooks was formed. During Covid business boomed and Scott joined Kelly in the business.

Kelly explains the process she and Scott go through to create each hook. It truly is a collaboration between them. She also talks about their business model of opening up pre-orders, filling and shipping them out, before opening them up again. Kelly also has a fiber company called Annapolis Fibre Company and has begun pairing special hand-dyed yarns with crochet hooks. We talk about motherhood and how that has changed Kelly’s outlook and business. We also talk about Kelly’s Instagram strategy.

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

Keep up with Knitbrooks on the Knitbrooks website and on Instagram.

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