Meet Your Maker- by.stephanie.erin

This week on Meet Your Maker we have by.stephanie.erin. If you have not seen her work you need to immediately (well after you read this post of course). Go and check out her amazing work. She is a fabulous and inspiring maker and pattern designer. She is absolutely killing it with her designs!

Introduce yourself and your business.

My name is Stephanie and I'm the maker, model, photographer, aka everything behind By Stephanie Erin. I love yarn (obviously), and being able to create modern crocheted designs. Currently I sell patterns and will take custom orders for finished pieces.

How did you launch your business & what made you want to start a small business?

I didn't necessarily start this with a business goal in mind. I started my Instagram page because I wanted somewhere to share all of the crochet things I was working on and not spam my personal account with all things fiber. I met so many amazing people online and in person through Yarn vs Everybody that I was inspired to start writing up all the sketches I had been doodling in the back of various notebooks. Once I had that confidence from fellow makers I dove in and decided to just start putting my patterns out there. I've always been a creative at heart and being able to design pieces and put them out into the wild really gives me a deep level of personal satisfaction.

What are some struggles you had starting your business and how did you over come them?

Confidence is definitely something I struggle with. There are constantly questions about is this good enough? Is this design original? Will anyone like it? I still struggle with this and I have a lot of sketches that haven't become reality yet because of this. I don't know if this is something I will ever overcome, but I think I'm growing more confident in what my particular style is. I think that there is room for everyone's creativity and voice in this community and hope that people like what I'm creating!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from everywhere. I've created things before after being inspired by a shape I saw on a poster. Some garments I've designed have been inspired by seeing other clothing and thinking, I could make that! One of my latest designs was inspired by a song! I find it helpful to always keep a notebook with me. I like to actually write down my ideas as I find that causes it to stick better in my mind and help me figure out how I could create it versus typing something on my phone.

What motivates you as a maker?

My motivation comes from an internal place to bring me joy. My day job can be rather stressful and going home and playing with yarn really eases that tension and allows me to wipe the slate clean when I've had a particularly hard day. I've learned to only make on days when I'm feeling it. There are some days I can sit and crochet for hours, and there are others that I want to go for a run or spend time with my family and friends. Keeping that balance has allowed my creativity to flow and my motivation to stay rather high versus getting burnt out. I read somewhere recently that doing your best does not mean running yourself down to the point of a mental breakdown. At times I wish my business was growing more or that more people were purchasing my patterns, but I remind myself that I am in this for the journey and I'm constantly learning and growing and loving what I do.

What is a goal you set for yourself as a maker/artist and how did you achieve it?

When I started designing I knew my heart really lay in designing garments. I love hats and scarves but being able to wear a sweater and say you made it feels so good. I wanted to be able to design garments. I was first inspired to do so by the Bernat Velvet yarn. When I saw it in black it was so shimmery that I knew this was the yarn to make my first garment with. After a number of trial and errors with different stitch patterns I found one that spoke to me and went for it. One of the hardest parts of creating this was learning how to grade the pattern to various sizes. I've always been pretty good at math, but I was definitely tested when trying to find the stitch count that would work for each size. It took quite a bit of trial and error but I learned a lot and have felt more confident in my math skills moving forward.

What is your favorite part of being a maker?

My favourite part of being a maker is the journey while creating. It's always fun to whip something up really fast, but I think I get the most satisfaction out of slowly creating a garment. I remember the feeling I get when I figure out how to translate what I see in my head into crochet and that makes me feel really good. I also love the feeling you get when someone goes, "Wait you made that!?", the sense of pride is really fulfilling.

Do you have any tips for new makers/ small business owners?

The number one tip I have is to be true to yourself. If you want to design something crazy, DO IT! If you want to go to markets and make 100 hats, DO IT! Do what fulfills you as a maker. When I started some people were questioning me as to why I jumped right into designing versus selling items first and then designing later. I knew in my heart that I wanted to keep my side hustle something that I actually wanted to keep doing. It had to be something that was going to bring me joy. I knew that making the same hat hundreds of times over was going to end up feeling like work that I wouldn't want to come home and do. Whereas bringing a sketch to life fills me with possibility and that warm and fuzzy feeling. I hope that the joy I feel when I'm creating something translates into my designs and can be felt when others make my pattern. If you're looking to get into designing I would recommend starting by testing patterns. Throughout the testing process you get direct access to the designer and can learn about their train of thought while they were creating the piece. It also allows you to see that not every pattern is written perfectly on the first go. Once I started testing patterns for others I gained a lot of insight and knowledge about the design process. This has absolutely helped me to figure out my own style of writing patterns and I've made some amazing friends along the way!

What are some hobbies or interests you have outside of your small business?

Outside of playing with yarn, I love to read and run. I try to read 100 books a year and have managed to meet that goal the last 2 years. I am extremely addicted to coffee and am happiest after I have my morning coffee. I also love to play with my parents dogs, watch netflix and eat good food!

Share a fun fact about yourself.

I'm partially deaf in my left ear! I had tubes put in my ears when I was a child and one slipped behind my eardrum. I had surgery to remove it when I was in university however my hearing didn't fully come back! I don't notice anything as this is how it's always been for me and I didn't find out my hearing was off until I was in my twenties!

I want to thank Bethany for featuring me on Knotty Gurl Crochet! I have had the pleasure of meeting her in real life a few times and I she is such a sweetheart! I'm honoured to be able to call her my friend! Hope you all have a wonderful day!

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