Every day more and more people are turning to the internet to learn a new trade. For me, it was cooking. For Erin Hansen, it was crocheting. While I have yet to turn my Indian/Italian fusions into something profitable, Erin has with Simply Made by Erin. Making not only some of the most functional and fashionable pieces to rock when you need that extra jolt of warmth, but also adorable decor that would make any house a home. We talked with Erin about going all-in with her business, her schedule, and more in this lovely back and forth we stitched together.
Kendra: The art of crochet boggles my mind. Perhaps the coordination one needs with the needles? Nevertheless, is this a skill you picked up as a child?
Erin Hansen: Oddly enough, I did not. Both of my grandma’s crocheted, but for some reason, I never learned! I taught myself about eight years ago after becoming a stay at home mom. I read a lot online and watched many Youtube videos.
Kendra: You’ve been on Etsy since 2011. Is that when Simply Made By Erin all began or was that just when you embarked on the online world?
Erin Hansen: I jumped online almost as soon as I started crocheting. I didn’t think it would go anywhere, but to my surprise, a few months later, while on vacation, I heard the Etsy cha-ching (meaning I had an order) come through on my phone, and then another one, and another. It pretty much took off after that. My original Newsboy hat design is what brought in my first rush of sales, and it’s still my most requested item today.
Kendra: What were you doing before all this? Were you holding down a 9-5 you grew tired of?
Erin Hansen: I was, I worked at my families company processing the payroll and benefits and was in banking before that. My husband had a great job opportunity which took us away from our family in Arizona all the way across the country to Connecticut. I had a three-year-old son at the time that I wanted to stay home with, so I decided not to go back to work after the move. We are now back in Arizona and loving it! I’m still working from home, but my son is now 11 and in school full time.
Kendra: This time of year must be your busiest. Do you spend the warmer months creating and then the fall/winter fulfilling orders?
Erin Hansen: It’s so busy! I do a lot of pattern designing in the warmer months, and then it’s down to the grind in the winter months, making all the things! My items are typically made to order, but I do stock up for a local boutique I’m a vendor at called The Farmhouse in Kingman, AZ. They offer a winter market that I’ve been working on building stock for.
Kendra: As time goes on, will you look into adding crochet clothing like sweaters?
Erin Hansen: It’s always been a dream of mine to start making garments. I’d love to, but unfortunately, they are very time-consuming. I try to keep the items I sell down to an hour or less of labor, otherwise, it’s a bit hard for me to fit them into my schedule. I do occasionally write more time-consuming designs that I sell as a crochet pattern only and not the finished item.
Kendra: Alongside the wonderful headwear you have available, you also have a lot of home decor. How do you pick and choose what type of home decor items you’ll take on and add to your store?
Erin Hansen: The first item I ever crocheted was a basket, but hats were big sellers back when I started, so I switched gears a bit. Years later I needed something to occupy my slower months, so I went back to baskets. They sold well, so I’ve slowly added new designs such as planters and hanging baskets. I typically make what I like to use in my home. I’m all about the modern farmhouse style right now!
Kendra: As we say goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020, what can people expect from Simply Made By Erin?
Erin Hansen: Wow, what an exciting year this has been, full of some great successes!! Next year (around March) you can expect to see me featured on The Make and Do Crew Blog with an exciting new crochet design! I have some really cute planters coming up for Valentine’s Day, and I always try to come up with a few new hat designs for winter. I have nothing set in stone yet, but once the busy season starts to die down, my mind will start to open up to new ideas.