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Meet Your Maker- Of Books & Hooks

This week on MYM we have Madeline from Of Books & Hooks! Madeline is a crochet designer and maker who combines two of my fav things, yarn and books :) Be sure to check her out on insta.


Introduce yourself and your business.

My name is Madeline and I'm the maker behind Of Books & Hooks. I use my Instagram and website to share modern crochet patterns, book musings, and anything else that comes to mind. While I offer book recommendations and pair my projects with books I'm reading, I'm usually posting about crochet and craftiness more often than not.

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

I've always had a love affair with yarn, but when I learned to knit it never really stuck. In 2018, I taught myself to crochet, which I previously had thought was impossible because I'm left-handed and there just aren't as many resources. I fell in love almost instantly. In late 2019, I decided to launch my Instagram mostly as a way to track my progress and creations. But then I started to design patterns and fell in love with that process as well. The book side of my aesthetic came from the fact that most of the people in my life who love reading are also crafters and the crafters love reading. So it felt natural to pair my two passions.

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

Vanity. It's so easy to get caught up in goals and numbers that don't actually matter. You can have 25 followers who all buy something once a month or 2,000 and none of them do. What's better? The first, obviously, if your goal is making money. But in the beginning stages of starting a business and especially of getting your brand out there on social media is daunting. It's so easy to get lost in the vanity metrics. How many people liked my photo? How many people follow me? I had to constantly ground myself in my goals. What matters for me right now? Sometimes, it was follower count and hashtag metrics for when I wanted a particular post to get a lot of reach. Other times it was just about how many people bought the pattern. It's so important to set real, meaningful goals and evaluate your strategy based on those. Otherwise, you'll just waste time.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I talk about them all the time but Laura from @that_crafty_bitch_ and Candice from @cleosladder are a constant source of inspiration. They are so supportive and we have this little hive mind chat that keeps me thinking of new business ideas and concepts all the time. It's also a really great example of the #CommunityOverCompetition movement. All three of us have crochet businesses, but we could not be more different from each other. This makes it so easy to share ideas and creative energy because we just don't view each other as competition at all. I think that the most important thing to keep in mind when taking inspiration from other businesses and people is that you never need to feel threatened. Crafting is such a personal business. Yes, there are hundreds and thousands of other people in the world making and selling hats, or scarves, or patterns...but your version is unique because it's made by you. That's the beauty of handmade.

What motivates you as a maker?

People. I started this project or business from a place of internal drive. But now I usually pull my motivation from others. My partner, my friends, and my colleagues all make me feel very supported and often encourage me to push myself. It's really easy to let projects fizzle or to let side hustles die when the main hustle gets to be too much. I try and find balance on my own but definitely lean on my network to keep me moving forward.

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

My first and only goal when I started was to become influential enough that a yarn company would send me free yarn to work with them. I just wanted my hobby to be sustained. I didn't even really want to make money (I still feel this way for the most part). The night I got an email from a yarn company asking me if I wanted to guest blog in exchange for some yarn to write about, I lost my mind. I got there because of my Instagram presence, mostly. So in the end I think it was all the energy and time I put into making my Instagram valuable and interesting.

What is your favorite part of being a maker?

Being creative all the time. In my day job, I'm in content (a fancy way of saying I write and strategize about writing). And then I do Of Books & Hooks on the weekends and evenings. So I'm in a creative space pretty much 24/7. Which can be totally exhausting, but it's also extremely gratifying.

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

This goes back to an earlier question, but my number one piece of advice is to set goals that matter for you. Figure out what you want. And then ground everything you do in the process of reaching that goal. This will help you to prioritize what matters and get rid of what doesn't. For example, if your goal is to make money, you should always frame every decision and use of energy within the question: "Will doing this generate more business for me?" If the answer is no, don't do it. If all of your business comes through Instagram, throw your full weight behind that instead of building a blog because that's what everyone else is doing. If you make more money on finished products than patterns, maybe take a break from pattern design so you have more time for creating market items. The point is to just make sure you're taking purposeful action. And don't be afraid to reevaluate your goals. Maybe at one time, your creative space was for making money but now it's really just an outlet. It's okay to change your mind about your goals. Just make sure you're thinking about them.

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

I think the fun of my business is that it's all about my hobbies and passions. Reading and yarn are two of the greatest loves of my life. Beyond that, I really love food. When I travel, I usually go to places specifically for the cuisine and plan entire days around where to eat and what to try. My favorite culinary trip was to Vietnam. I did a cooking class, took a street food tour, and dined in the dark. It was amazing and I don't know if I'll ever have happier food memories than that trip.

Share a fun fact about yourself.

I'm from the United States, but I haven't lived there since I was 18. I've moved around the world on my own (before meeting my partner) and have lived on 5 continents and traveled to 6. The countries I've lived in the longest are Germany and China, but I also lived in Australia, Ghana, and the U.K.


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