May 9, 2013
Springtime and The Great Gatsby
It’s finally spring…right? We’ve undoubtedly had some bizarre weather this year but admittedly, as a hat-lover, I haven’t been too opposed to the chilly temps. (It’s just giving me an excuse to keep wearing my Sairey pom hat!).
So what are my team and I up to this spring? We’ve been out showing off the new 2013 lookbook to stores (you’ll see it soon!), celebrating Angelina’s graduation and Kedrin’s birthday, setting up shop at a few local shows like the HAMMS Event, and working on a possible spring/summer 2014 collection! I’m most excited about that last bit. I’ve never done items for the warmer seasons before but thanks to the suggestion of my pal Beth (coworker at Blowdry! and editor of L’etoile Magazine), I’m taking a dip into swimwear, coverups and beach bags. I’ll be sure to post some sneak peeks when I get more done!
Finally, are you excited to see The Great Gatsby? I love this book and the 1920s has some of my very favorite fashion moments. If you want to look Daisy-chic, we suggest our Jean turban for a little flapper flair…and now through the end of May, the turban and everything else on the site is 25% off.
Mar 4, 2013
I Get By With a Little Help From My…Amish Friends
Whenever I do a show and I have the full spread of crocheted goodies out on a table, I frequently get asked, “Do you make ALL of this?” I tend to give a pretty standard stock answer since it is something I’m answering quite a bit. I thought I should expand on the short answer, though, and with a recent trip to my crocheters, it seemed like a perfect time.
My standard answer is, “No. I used to make it all. Now I design the pieces and make the samples then teach Amish women my designs and they’ve made everything you see here.” People get pretty amazed by the fact I work with Amish women, like I’m traveling to a foreign land and learning whole new cultures and customs in order to get my products manufactured. I guess in a way that’s true. I travel to the magical far-off land of Wisconsin every 4-6 weeks to hang out with about seven Amish ladies, ranging in age from 21 to around 60. I cover my tattoos, I don’t wear makeup, I wear my hair in a low bun. I do as much as I can to make these women comfortable with me. They are doing a great service for me by letting me into their homes and helping me expand my business so I want to be as respectful as possible.
I asked the women on my last trip if I could use their first names on my website and they said that was fine. In the Amish culture, they do not allow photographs to be taken of themselves, so unfortunately, I’m unable to show everyone who these women are. I’ll just have to write about them.
I got connected with these women a little over a year ago after a trip to see a doctor in South Dakota who treats Amish patients from around the country. He asked if I had ever considered having Amish women make my designs and before I knew it, he had contacted a few women in Wisconsin for me, giving them my mailing address in the hopes I would hear back from someone. I never did hear from the original women he contacted, but after several months of waiting, I got my first letter from Ellen.
Ellen loves to crochet small, delicate things and prefers to work on the Hazel & Haverly designs. Did you get a turban last year or some knee-high legwarmers? You are wearing Ellen’s handiwork. She is a sweet, gracious, mother of twelve, who, upon my very first time coming to her house, invited me to eat lunch with her family. She frequently asks me to buy her crochet thread in Minneapolis – she crochets handkerchiefs with small intricate edgings and can’t find the thread she likes anywhere near her home. She was delighted one day when I pulled up a website on my iPhone and she could see all of the different colors she could choose from.
Ada is my oldest crocheter. I’m not exactly sure how old she is, but I know she is the eldest of her sisters and I’m guessing she is around 60 years old. Her daughters, Lena and Katie, also crochet for me, and use my visits as a time to gather at their mother’s home. I love Ada’s house. Her wood-burning stove is always firing and her home smells like a campfire. Everything about her is warm and inviting, like she should be my grandmother. I often wish I could spend the whole day at her house, just curled up with a book, hearing the wood crackling in her stove. Ada, Katie and Katie’s neighbor, Mattie, do most of the Attagirl crocheting. If you have a cowl, headwrap, or fingerless gloves, now you know who made them.
Lena usually works on Bro•chet items, and did most of the Justin slouch hats last year. One day when I gave her her check for the pieces she had made, she got so excited, saying “I never thought I could support my family the way my husband does,” and thanked me for the opportunity of giving women in their culture paid work.
Emma is Ada’s sister. She and her daughter, Ida, made the Attagirl pom hats and boot toppers last year. Emma’s husband runs a woodworking shop and Emma runs a greenhouse. Her daughter, Ida, is excited to be working for me because at the age of 21, Amish women get to start keeping all or most of the money they make. Ida turned 21 last year and is thrilled to be getting her own checks with her own money now. Emma is happy to use the money she makes crocheting in her greenhouse, buying seeds and bulbs for the next season.
It feels a little corny to say, but I’ve learned a lot of wonderful lessons from these women:
- Be accepting. They could have easily said no when I approached them about helping me. They didn’t have to let a person outside of their community and beliefs into their home (especially one with noserings and flaming red hair). But they accepted me for who I am and welcome me on a regular basis into their homes.
- Work together. Not only do they have a great working relationship with me, but these Amish families work all the time with each other. It seems most Amish men focus on a specific skill or craft or certain crops/goods. They trade eggs for milk, they loan each other horses to get field work done and when one family is going through a tragedy, they do their chores or cooking for them while that family is able to get back on their feet.
- Be patient and trusting. I once had a weekend that I got very sick and was unable to get to them when I said I would. I immediately wrote them letters to say what had happened, but knew they would be waiting for me and I felt awful. When I went a few weeks later, I couldn’t stop apologizing. None of the women were ever angry or upset. Instead, they said “Waiting for you was a good lesson in patience and even though you didn’t come, I knew you would come soon and wouldn’t disappoint us.”
- Be gracious and giving. These women aren’t just crocheting for me out of the goodness of their hearts or because they have nothing better to do. I pay them on a piece-rate basis for everything they do for me. Yet when I leave their homes, they are always the ones saying “thank you” to me or giving me gifts. It is rare that I don’t come home with homemade candy, pies or bread. They even give Angelina tomatoes from their garden when she is with me. They could easily take their checks and say goodbye, but they always express their gratitude for the work they “get to do” for me.
I’m so happy to have met these women and grateful for their beautiful work. Kedrin would not be expanding if I was still making everything myself (I used to do that…my hands and back are MUCH happier now). I have many other Amish stories to share and hope to continue to do so in the future.
Now the snow is starting again. I hope everyone is inside and warm! I’m about to make some tea and snuggle in with a good book. Until next time….stay cozy!
Kedrin & the Kedrin team
Feb 4, 2013
News and Happenings
I should be going to bed but I decided to whip up a little bloggity blog before I slumber.
There is a lot happening now at Kedrin! Right now I am working on samples for Fall 2013 for all three lines. I will be making my first Amish trip of the year in a few weeks and will be teaching them the new patterns, bringing them new yarn and catching up on their lives (that will deserve its own blog, I’m sure). When I’m not working on samples, I’m busy thinking up some fun designs for baby blankets and booties…not for me! A couple of my best friends are preggers and I can’t wait to spoil their new kiddos with crocheted goodies!
Here’s some excitement…we are participating in our first ever trade show April 13-15. We’ll be set up at the Northstar Fashion Expo showing off the new 2013 line to various buyers from the Midwest. We’re so excited to be meeting all the shop owners and buyers and can’t wait to show off the new goods. Wish us luck!
Next up, we’re PUMPED about the HAMMS event on April 20th. HAMMS (an acronym for Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed) is the brainchild of Becky Sturm of Stormsister Spatique and 3waybeauty and Sairey Gernes of Irely Intimates and Towel Topper. It will be a day full of shopping from all kinds of Minnesota-based businesses – jewelry, home goods, accessories, food, etc. There will be more info to come so make sure to check out the links and follow them on twitter and facebook to keep in the loop!
Here’s a little Q&A to help you get to know this awesome lady:
Q: What will you be doing at Kedrin?
A: I will be the new Brand Representative. I like to think of this position as the Cheer Captain (though I’ve never been a real cheerleader) because I believe in what Kedrin is doing and the quality of work she is putting out there, so I will be spreading the word/love to everyone and every business that I can about Kedrin.
Q: What parts of your personality are you bringing to the team?
A: All of my parts…of my personality. I am the type of person who is not afraid to talk to strangers, as much as my mother tried stressing me not to do this while growing up. I like to think that I have a good sense of humor and lightheartedness that makes it easy for Kedrin to work with me.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at Kedrin?
A: I get to work in a position that is completely new to me. I am learning so many new things and what it takes to get Kedrin’s accessories in stores and on people! Oh, and without sounding too creepy, my favorite part about working AT Kedrin is working WITH Kedrin.
Q: What is your favorite Kedrin piece?
A: This is a difficult question and kind of unfair, but since I have to pick ONE piece, I would say it’s my pair of Greta legwarmers. They are so amazingly soft!
Q: What do you do when you’re not at Kedrin?
A: I’m finishing up my Bachelors of Social Work at Augsburg College. I’m also a wife, so I do “wifey” things, and later this year I’m going to be a brand new mom!
So there she is…look for Angelina at our upcoming shows and stop by and say hello!
Kedrin & the Kedrin team
NEWS AND OFFERS
Spring cleaning SALE! Everything is 25% off – happy shopping!
The Valentine gLOVEs were featured on Minnesota Monthly’s style blog – check it out here!