Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sol Heritage

My mom, Sherri and I co-own and operate Sol Heritage, using a skill that was passed on from one generation to another. Sherri is a newly retired, creative genius. She has spent the better part of her life helping others and assisting however and whenever she can, whether it is for her career or a friend. She is a crochet mastermind, if you can dream it up; chances are she can crochet it. Sherri is also an avid reader. She enjoys cuddling up on the couch with her black lab, husband and a crochet project to enjoy a good movie.
I am her youngest child, Heather. I have a degree in Forensic Science and dream of opening a boutique with my mom one day, filled with delicious crocheted scarves and cowls, toasty hats and mittens, fresh local coffee and sweet treats. I am newly married and became a bonus mom (aka step mom) to an adorable and bright 9 year old boy. When I’m not working my 9-5, you can find me running a crochet club with my mom, crocheting in my favorite vintage chair, creating all natural bath and body products (I also own Blue Grass Lucy – an all natural, retro & pinup inspired bath and beauty shop), partaking in fun activities with my husband and bonus son, reading, planning craft shows and attending leadership meetings with Etsy Team Columbus, watching just about any sport or playing in a co-ed soccer league with my husband. I am told I drink obscene amounts of coffee and really, I’m okay with that.
We are both from the Kissimmee, Florida area. When I was 10 years old, we moved to Columbus and while I’ve lived in other states for college, I always come home.
Sherri and I both crochet out of our homes. I have a designated “crochet” chair in my living room that often gets stolen by my 50 lb. boxer mix. We work independently but also very closely together. I keep tabs on the business end of things (etsy, blog, website, facebook page, twitter, instagram, etc.) as well as crochet, crochet, crochet. I also handle the shipment of items, packaging, and prop acquisition for craft shows. Sherri is constantly crocheting. We discuss what items are selling, what colors are popular for upcoming seasons, what sales we should run, what products we should feature and so on. Recently, we re-branded our business. Formerly, we were “We Are Something Else”. We seemed to out grow the name and we needed a cohesive brand. So, with the help of my marketing writer husband, we are in the process of completely re-branding. We’re almost there but just have to nail down a few more details.
Sherri has been crocheting for 53 years and I have been crocheting for 5 years. When I started bringing finished projects into work, my co-workers would ask if we could make them one or ask if we could crochet a completely different product. I had been urging Sherri for years to sell her crocheted goods at craft shows but by this time I had been shopping on Etsy. It was an easy decision.
So, we started with just yarn, crochet hooks and very little knowledge of owning a business. Together we have navigated the world of on-line selling, craft/art shows, consignment and have discovered just how much hard work goes into owning a business. Our passion and love has driven us forward because we are creating so much more than a business. We are creating a life of crochet.
Everything inspires me. Fashion, nature, architecture, colors, the list goes on. Often, I get inspired by my previous project, whether in texture so I use a different yarn, color or just a whole other spin off. But truly, my main source of inspiration is Sherri. She is so creative and talented. As I said above, she can crochet anything. Just a few weeks ago, I asked her how to crochet a certain stitch, it looked like broomstick lace but I could tell it wasn’t done the same way. Hours later she emailed me a photo with the caption “Like this?” It was perfect. Sherri inspires me to try the hard projects, to get out of my comfort zone.
Sherri was taught to crochet by her grandmother when she was just 9 years old and then Sherri taught me to crochet when I was 23 years old. (I had a brief lesson when I was 16 years old but that didn’t go well. I needed a few years to learn some patience.)
Many times I have a project in mind so I sketch it in my idea book. From there I think about the season, yarn and the color(s) that would best fit that particular item. When I have everything decided, I brew a piping hot cup of coffee or tea, settle into my vintage “crochet chair” and either watch a show or sporting event with my husband or pop in an old movie and get to crocheting.
Sherri’s process is similar to mine. She graphs out her more intricate patterns and then picks a yarn and color she feels is best for the project. She then gets comfortable on her couch (which is often shared by her lab) and watches movies with her husband or if she’s alone, she prefers Murder She Wrote and Poirot movies.
Our products tell a story. If you listen closely you can hear the stitches whisper. You can hear the faint memory of a crochet hook humming through the yarn, creating a calming song. You can hear the laughter of its creator. You can see the pride in every carefully planned stitch. You can feel the warmth of the creator’s love wrap around your neck like a hug from a familiar friend.
Our items are memories. They create memories. They are front and center and yet a subtle piece of the background. They keep you warm during the blustery days of winter. They are with you at the bon fire where your eyes meet with that special someone. It is our item that you shyly pull your lips into to hide your smile. It is our item that you wear as you briskly walk down the sidewalk, window shopping at Christmas time. It is our item that holds the smell of the one you love after a long embrace. It is our item that you purchase for that special loved one in your life as a perfect gift. It is our item that is delicately woven into your routine each and every day. They are our memories and our legacy that you carry with you as you create your own.
I have the perfect gift for… I want to say everyone! But most of our items cater toward women. We do create unisex hats and scarves as well as baby hats. Sherri crochets adorable pumpkin and buckeye hats and this year I’ll be rolling out a few snowman hats!
We will have gorgeous and soft scarves, neckwarmers, cowls, hats, fingerless gloves, clutch purses, pins and so much more. We will also have our special Soigne Collection which features neckwear in the most beautiful mohair and silk yarn. It is the softest thing that will ever touch your skin.
Why should you shop local?
Not only does shopping local help our local economy, it supports our artisans and creators. For many artists, myself included, these shows are a supplemental income. Not only do I use the money I make from these shows to fund future crochet/body product endeavors but I also pay my bills with them and even Christmas shop.
You are getting an item that has been made with someone’s two hands. Someone has thought of an idea, brainstormed how to make it an actual piece that you can touch and feel and then they have sat down and accomplished just that. There is something amazing about that, I think.
For me, knowing that people are running around Ohio with my OSU Helmet Scarf keeping them warm, is still something that I cannot wrap my head around. It is an amazing feeling and it makes me proud. So, when I sit down to crochet my items, I think of my potential customer (or if it’s a custom order, I think of that very person) and with every stitch, I crochet in peace and warmth. I think of my favorite memories and I whisper little wishes and secrets. Every item is truly a labor of love. And if it’s an Ohio State item, I try to crochet them during games so your item has a winning streak, a good luck charm if you will.
So, while it’s possible, I just don’t think big corporations have this creation process. But artists, we’re a unique bunch and while our creative processes are different, I believe other artists pour in just as much love and quirk as I do into mine. And isn’t that a wonderful thing?

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