Meet your Maker- Alive With Purpose

This week on MYM we have Ellie from Alive with Purpose! Ellie makes the most beautiful hand dyed yarn AND a portion of the proceeds go towards helping those with mental health issues! Its a win win if you support Ellie, not only are you supporting an indie dyer but you are helping to support those with mental health issues!

Introduce yourself and your business.

Hello! My name is Ellie and I'm the owner of "Alive with Purpose" Yarns!  My hand-dyed yarns are vivid, ethically sourced and best of all, a portion of all sales proceeds goes to benefit mental health causes in Minnesota. 

My website is

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

I've had mental health diagnoses since I was a teenager. It was during a time of great emotional hurt in the summer of 2019 that I realized that I needed a mental break. Desperately. Not a breakdown, but a break. I entered into short-term, outpatient mental health treatment and was able to get some time off of work in order to do it. It was the reset that I exactly needed. During this timeframe, I often reverted to my love of crochet. While looking up on YouTube how to do a particular stitch, a suggested video on how to dye yarn popped up. The rest is history.   I wanted to start a small business in order to be financially able to help others with mental health needs and also satisfy my creativity. I've been working professionally in one form of mental health care or another since my 20's and love doing it.

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

 I needed to learn how to expand and grow my dyeing talents and not remain stale.  In the beginning I was giving away a lot of my yarn in attempts to attract followers and customers. To date, I have learned that customers will appreciate and pay for my hard work - I don't have to give it away.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from nature, from the funny things my two-year old nephew, Parker, says and does, from flowers...and really, anything that's beautiful!

What motivates you as a maker?  

Knowing that my work serves two purposes: 1. To give creative markers a beautiful product to work with, and 2. To give to mental health causes in my home state. While the name of the business, "Alive with Purpose", doesn't scream yarn, that is intentional.  I couldn't think of another name! And what other product do you know of that has a label pointing at you which declares that you are indeed Alive with Purpose!

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

 I really wanted to be a vendor at a trade show/convention or two this year and that's already been finalized! In May, I'll be at the Lake Elmo Shepherd's Festival in Lake Elmo, MN, and at StitchesMidwest in Chicago this coming July!

What is your favorite part of being a maker?  

Seeing what others are able to make with my yarn.  I am consistently blown away by everyone's talent.  I will often ask for my Instagram follower's opinions on developing colorways and that feedback is always helpful!

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

Don't overwhelm yourself with trying to please everyone at all times.  Don't give away your hard work for free. And always, always appreciate your customers. Over-communicate rather than under-communicate.

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

I love to play piano, banjo (though I'm no professional) and my harpejji. Look that last instrument up - it's a new one!

Share a fun fact about yourself.  

My grandfather created the recipe for Swiss Miss' hot chocolate and instant marshmallows!

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