University of Mississippi sophomore Danielle Thomas is hooked on an old-fashioned hobby that she has turned into a small business.
Thomas has been crocheting since she was in fifth grade. Crocheting is a process of creating fabric by interlocking yarn or thread using a crochet hook.
“My mom taught me, and it was just something I did when I was bored,” Thomas said. “It was simply a hobby for a long time, but as I got better, I realized I could make more things than what I had originally thought.”
According to the Crochet Guild of America website, crochet probably developed most directly from Chinese needlework, “an ancient form of embroidery known in Turkey, India, Persia and North Africa, which reached Europe in the 1700s and was referred to as ‘tambouring,’ from the French ‘tambour’ or drum.” It began to appear in Europe in the 1800s.
Thomas’s first step of sharing the age-old hobby was creating a crocheting club in her high school with around 20 members. She also created a crochet club in her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, with a growing number of participants.
“I mostly just wanted to teach others how to enjoy the hobby and keep people interested in the activity,” Thomas said.
Sophomore Maddy Ward said Thomas has creative ideas.
“All Danielle thinks about is crocheting and what she could come up with next,” Ward said, “which is an awesome thing, because I know she will go far in life with it.”
Thomas has made scarves, pot holders, blankets, lanyards, and bralettes. Bralettes, a bra without wires, are her most popular items.
“Everyone seems so happy when I give them the things I make,” Thomas said. “They appreciate that they are homemade.”
As her products grew in higher demand, she started to charge customers.
“My scarves are in the $10-$15 range, and my bralettes range from $20-$25,” Thomas said. “My lanyards and potholders are usually only $5.”
Thomas has an Etsy account, but most of her selling is done through word-of-mouth by customers.
“I try to make around one crochet item a week, because I want them to be the best quality they can be,” Thomas said. “But I still try to get a good amount done within a month.”
Thomas said her goal is to open a small business in Oxford with crocheting products.
“I will continue to crochet as a hobby and, hopefully, get the chance to expand the business,” Thomas said.