Oh man, I am SO excited to share this interview! I couldn’t believe it when Liz agreed to this interview, and she was so great! I don’t think I need to introduce her much more then to say she is the genius behind Playin’ Hooky Designs.
Hi! My name is Liz and I’ll be your hooker for the evening 😉 I’m originally from Texas, but I now live in the mountains of Colorado with my husband and kids. My sister-in-law taught me the basics of crochet 6 ½ years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.
I soon started creating my own style of beanies and other apres-ski headwear. I like designing for men, women, and kids alike; accessories that can be worn by everyone whether they ski every day, or want to look like they do.
Playin’ Hooky is my business and my passion. I work crazy hours, when my kids let me! Come to think about it, that’s part of the reason why I make beanies & discs; they’re small and I can finish them in less than a day (most of the time)!
What is a typical day in your life?
Balancing family life and working at home is hard, but awesome. I get lots of interruptions, but I don’t mind. I feel so lucky that I can work at home with lots of playtime with my amazing kids.
My days aren’t always the same, but no matter what, I spend a lot of time answering emails and posting on my social media sites to engage my fans. All but one of my shops now have instant downloads of patterns so that freed up some of the time I used to spend emailing patterns (YAY!). I try to get all my messages sent in the morning so I can spend the afternoon on house chores and hanging out with my kids. Then I pick my hooks up in the evening to work on my orders and new designs.
Where do you get your work done?
I tend to be a little OCD, so I like things organized. Most of my time is spent at my desk, working on the computer and crocheting while I hold my 1-year old. I have a yarn cabinet made by my husband to keep my stash in check. But, I work pretty long hours which means I usually end up crocheting in my living room chair while we’re watching movies.
What is your favorite thing about running your own business?
My hands down favorite thing is being able to stay at home with my kids! I also love being able to share myself with other crocheters through my designs and personal style.
What is the hardest thing for you in running your business?
The day-to-day operations aren’t always fun, but it’s the little things that have to get done. I don’t love accounting or trying to streamline my listings in all my shops, but it’s what keeps Playin’ Hooky going!
What surprised you the most when you started your business?
I have to use my high school math skills more that I thought I would! And I’m not even talking about keeping my books balanced. For anyone who has never designed a crochet pattern, it involves a lot of math to get the stitch counts, increases and decreases, and general design just right. I fought it for as long as I could, but since I love designing, I resigned to the fact that I was going to have to become friendly with math.
What advice would you give to other business owners out there?
In the words of a very wise fish, “Just keep swimming”! Sometimes things don’t go how you want them to, sales slow down, you’ll get in a rut, but stay positive and you will get out of it. I think about those times as God making me take a break. And I usually need it! Take time to slow down and spend time with your family, but keep your eyes out for your next source of inspiration.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The best inspiration comes naturally. In the past, I’ve tried to force designs or concepts and it never comes ends well. My best ideas come to me when the time is right. Those designs are the ones that flow off my hook and make the pattern easy to write. As for a mentor, it would be nice to have someone who has created brand recognition and a loyal fan base to help with some guidance now and then. Operating your own business is hard, and it’s not always clear what the next step should be. I don’t have anyone specific in mind though.
What do you do when you’re NOT working?
Now that summer is here (finally!) I like watching my kids play outside, going camping, and getting my townie bike back out of the garage.
If you won the lottery today what is the first thing you would do?
It’s not exciting, but I would pay off my student loans and mortgage first. Then I would definitely take a vacation somewhere warm and exotic.
What did you want to be when you were little and do you think you ever will be?
I’ve always been a science nerd, so I wanted to be a paleontologist, a vet, and a teacher. I have a teacher license, but I love staying at home with my kids and doing what I love as my job!
I’d like to thank Liz for letting me spotlight her today! Be sure to check out her great designs and like her on Facebook.
Do you know a business I should consider interviewing for an upcoming Small Business Spotlight? Leave a comment or email me with a link to their information and let me know! Wish I would have asked a different question? I will be changing up some of the questions in the future, so if you have something in particular you would like to know be sure to let me know!
Thanks everyone, Happy Tuesday!