Monday, February 27, 2012

February interview: Sharon of Thoughtful Rose Supply

I'm very excited to present to you a person that caught my attention many months ago. I don't remember if it was her Etsy shop (one of her THREE Etsy shops) with recycled yarn that impressed me first or if it was a picture of her colourful yarn wall that I saw on Ravelry. Anyhow, I really liked the thought of a crafter that only uses recycled material, something that I would like to do myself but I don't have enough will power to stop spending on my LYS. But Sharon not only crafts with recycled materials, she also sells some of the luxurios yarn that she salvages.

- Please tell us a bit about Thoughtful Rose Supply and yourself!
Hi!  My name is Sharon.  I'm a single, stay-at-home, homeschooling
mom, and a fiber artist and Etsy seller on the side.  Yes, I stay

Back in January of 2008 I resolved to work exclusively with recycled
materials for one year.  I found such an abundance of beautiful
recycled materials to work with, that I have extended that resolution
indefinitely!  I work mostly with recycled yarn, but also use recycled
fabrics and plastic bags.

Thoughtful Rose Supply is where I sell luxury yarns reclaimed from
discarded sweaters.  I scour local thrift stores for gently used
sweaters made from quality yarns, unravel them, skein the yarn, wash
the skeins, measure and tag them, photograph them, and list them in my
Etsy shop.  It's a lot of work, but it feels good to be salvaging
these beautiful fibers that might otherwise end up in landfills, or be
sent to the local textile recycling plant to be turned into rags!

-  What inspires you?
Three things inspire and motivate me to recycle yarn.  First is my
faith.  I believe that the earth belongs to God and that it is my
responsibility to be a good steward of the resources He has given me.
Second is my children.  I want my children to grow up with abundance,
not hampered by restricted or polluted resources as a result of my
generation's excesses.  The third inspiration is the yarn itself.  I
love natural fibers and enjoy rescuing them to use in my own projects,
or to sell to other knitters/crocheters who appreciate them as I do!

- Can you outline your creative process?

I'm a multi-tasker!  I like to be working on at least a half-a-dozen
projects at once.  As new ideas pop into my head, I jot them down in
my notebook, and return to them later.  But it can take as long as a
couple of years for an idea to come to fruition.  Too many ideas, too
little time!

- How did you come up with your business? Was it a sudden idea that
struck you or did it evolve over time?

I started out unraveling sweaters for personal use.  It didn't take me
long to realize that there was a market for recycled yarn!  I already
had a successful Etsy shop selling vintage postcards and books, so I
knew that Etsy would be a great place to sell my yarn.

- What is the best and worst about running your own business in this industry?

The best part by far is the freedom!  I am free to work when and how I
please, and free to schedule my work around my other priorities (i.e.
my children).  The worst part is the unpredictable income.  However,
thanks to the support of my wonderful family, the fluctuations in
income are not as much of a challenge as they will be as I become more
financially independent over the next few years, all being well.

 - How do you balance your life between business and creating?

As a busy mom, I have to do a lot of multitasking!  I find that it
helps a lot to have a schedule, and to stick to it.  I've scheduled an
hour in the morning before the kids wake to edit photos and list
items, segments of time here and there to crochet as I oversee my
son's lessons, an hour unraveling sweaters during the boys' afternoon
rest time, etc.

- Do you have any advice for people who want to pursue a career in crafts?

I might be stating the obvious here, but it's not enough to be good at
your craft; you also need to develop and maintain a few other skills,
such as photography, communication, record-keeping, and so on.  Also,
it's important to be flexible, and patient.  Success doesn't usually
come overnight!

Sharon, thank you so much for participating, you are truly an inspiration!  I wish you and Thoughtful Rose Supply a fabulous year!

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