Toni has a fiber arts business called TL Yarn Crafts that has been in operation since September 2013 (as she says: she’s just a baby.) She makes beautifully crocheted fashions that would do anybody proud.
Although she has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and is enjoying the start of a ‘lovely ‘ career as a Volunteer Administrator at a well known, global nonprofit organization, crocheting is definitely a passion filled avocation! She’s been crocheting for 16 years, learning this skill from her mother. Before TLYC, she shared her art with friends and family, gifting it and giving it to local charities. However, in August 2013, she was strongly encouraged to take the next step by her husband. WA-LA… the business was born!! Her 9 to 5 still holds a prominent place in her daily life but she squeezes crafting into every available minute.
Peanut A Cat ‘Cave’
It’s not unlike me to have “crafting stations” lying around my house on the weekends. The process starts in my guest room, which has completly turned into a storage area for infinate balls of yarn. Next, I move to my favorite spot on our sectional couch, where I have balls of yarn on deck for projects I’m working on that day. Finally, I move to the dining room table, which is covered with twine, price tags, Sharpies of all sizes, and washi tape. That’s where I package orders for shipping or prep them for craft shows. And I can’t forget about my computer (which is a separate beast from the phone that is attached to my hip), where I check on my etsy shop, communicate with my Etsy Team members, and update social media outlets.
TLYC is a handmade accessories and home decor business, offering items like trendy scarves, slouchy hats, and bold throw pillows to the discerning shopper. What she feels makes her unique is that she offers her wares at an affordable price because she connected with college students and their limited incomes creating an impetus for her to make affordable fashion for all ages. ‘I adjust my materials and products so I can share the world of handmade with the budget conscious fashionista. But I never skimp on style.’
She keeps her line fairly monochromatic with a few pops of paprika, mustard, and and basil (is there a theme here???!!). Her reasoning for this is to keep the line is approachable to the most people, allowing them to look past the color and connect with the texture and shape of the piece. ‘While I appreciate the platform etsy and other online forums provide, I love to see the look on people’s faces when they touch and try on my items. It’s just as gratifying as selling the piece.’
Inspiration comes from the basics of form and function. Growing up in Michigan, where it gets too cold too early, she began to notice that people around her weren’t just buying plain gray hats and scarves to stay warm. Instead, their accessories had character and told a little something about the wearer. That inspired her to create products that have a voice, to say something like “Just because it’s -2 degrees outside doesn’t mean I can’t look good.” So, she created a line that she hopes lends itself to the individual personalities of her customers. To get in ‘the zone’, she usually listens to books on tape or ‘watches’ a Netflix series (watching can be tricky as she spends a good deal of time looking down at her work!)
Toni makes many of her own patterns including her infinity scarf and her mega-pom beanie. She also peruses the website Ravelry.com for patterns that speak to her and fit with her brand.
Toni states that:
Art is a constant learning process, especially for someone as new at this as I am. The biggest piece of advice I can give to a fellow artisan is not to shy away from networking. It doesn’t have to be formal or forced. Join a Facebook group, go to an Etsy Team meeting, visit a craft show and spark a conversation. For shoppers, I’d say to seek out the unique and unexpected. There are a zillion talented, passionate artists out there, waiting to meet you. Give them a chance; buy something you normally wouldn’t . Support local and support handmade.
I couldn’t agree more!
At this time, most of her items can be found in Wholly Craft
and Boline Apothecary
, both in Columbus. In the spring and summer, she spends a lot of time at craft shows. Some of her favorites are Etsy Team Columbus’ Holiday Handmade, Craftin’ Outlaws, and Craft Alley of Independents’ Day where she takes bits and pieces of her line so the offerings are always changing.
Her last show for 2014 was Crafts Gone Wild put on by Wild Goose Creative. Afterwards, she began focusing on online sales and other consignment contracts. But, this energetic lady loves to keep busy so she is working on teaching a crocheting class at Jo-Ann’s and eventually, at Wholly Crafts. She is also toying with the idea of creating garments such as tank tops and beach cover-ups for the spring and summer. Branching out into other regions of Ohio is also on her to-do list.
Wow! I am truly impressed and cannot wait to see how her business evolves!
Contact info for readers:
TL Yarn Crafts