Hello and welcome to this little blog! I’m Kristina, maker of all things Tiny Curl. It made sense to start this Tiny Curl blog adventure here, where it started for me. So I will tell you the story about why I started my handmade crochet business, Tiny Curl.
A LITTLE HISTORY
I’ve always had a big imagination. As an only child, I learned early on how to play by myself. I could spend HOURS drawing or making up elaborate back-stories for my dolls. I think I had every one of those DIY “crafts kits,” from pony bead animals to friendship bracelets to needlepoint art.
As I got older, my love of drawing and crafts only grew. Every margin in my school notebooks was filled with doodles. But, they were always just hobbies. I was a dedicated student and didn’t consider my creative work to be particularly good or special. It didn’t occur to me that you could pursue a fully creative life and support yourself with it.
I am good at a lot of things. My knack for a variety of randomness has always made it extremely hard for me to figure out which path to take. At one time or another I have been an amateur makeup artist, a book-editing intern, a vegan food truck owner, a graduate student, a marketing strategist, and more. I am the go-to friend for graphic design, branding, photography, paper editing, DIY crafts, party throwing, and make-up. And I love to do it all!
I envy people that have always known what they were born to do. People that are genuinely obsessed with one thing and are great at it. Even if they aren’t great at it, what a relief to settle on one thing.
I realized I don’t just want to be good at a lot of things, I want to be great at a few things, too!
FINDING MY THING
I learned to crochet in 2012 because I wanted something to do on a long road trip from Miami, Florida to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I learned by watching YouTube videos and started making an African Flower blanket (above) that I STILL haven’t finished. But, I did catch the crochet bug! Crochet is the perfect solution for my fidgety hands. I love the feeling of yarn and its endless colors and possibilities.
A while later, I made my first crochet doll, Henry (below)! I love that I can bring my doodle characters to life with crochet, something I couldn’t get from illustration alone. It gave me such a thrill that people were liking the quirky crochet dolls, brooches, and jewelry I was making, and the idea for Tiny Curl was born!
MAKING THE LEAP
The biggest hurdle I had in pursuing a creative life and launching my handmade business was MYSELF. I told myself my creativity wasn’t good enough and therefore I shouldn’t do anything with it. Or that to be a successful adult I needed to have a typical job with a steady paycheck. But living this way neglected what my real definition of success is: doing what you love to do consistently and with gusto.
I have to say that my mindset really changed after reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. In Big Magic, Liz completely broke down all of the excuses I had been using for years. As silly as it may be, I really needed the “permission slip” to put my creative pursuits in the driver’s seat and do what I needed to do to support it. And because I realized that this creative urge wasn’t going anywhere, I may as well work with it instead of against it.
For me, this meant leaving my full-time job as marketing strategist at a retail agency. I was good at my job and enjoyed many aspects of it, but it left me very little time for my own creativity. I would squeeze in doodling while on calls or crocheting at night, but it simply wasn’t enough.
So I decided to quit my job and open my handmade business, Tiny Curl! I am very risk-averse and like to do things by the book (terrible for my creativity, I KNOW). But there isn’t a guide to living your own life. You kind of have to make that one up as you go. And it had gotten to the point that it was more of a risk for my personal well being NOT to pursue my creative dreams. While I didn’t find a guide for my perfect life, I did find The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin to be extremely useful in opening the Tiny Curl Shop.
KEEPIN’ IT REAL
I know quitting your job is not reasonable for many people. I really lucked out because I have an extremely supportive and encouraging husband, Kyle, who believes in me more than I believe in myself at times! He is currently financially supporting us while I navigate the start of Tiny Curl and set a good pace for myself.
BUT, I feel strongly that with a bit of work and will, everyone can start living the creative life they want NOW. Even carving away an hour a day for a creative practice will add up. And if you feel you don’t have enough time in your life, like I did, there are always ways to make changes! Just do you and do what feels right for your life.
Want more advice and encouragement for your creative business? Check out these blog posts!