with Erica @Dope Crochet™
Let me start by saying black people don’t crochet!!! What's that all about? Well this young lady puts that myth to bed and rightfully so because she knows her craft and is damn good at it. I must give credit to social media for finding Dope Crochet™, owned and operated by Ercia over yonder in Texas. This young lady decided that since she could not find anything to complement her natural hairstyle that she would make her own crocheted accessories, which she sells on www.dopecrochet.com.
I fell in love with her product the minute I saw her earrings. I looked at her Etsy shop for days and days trying to decide what to order. I bought myself two pair, my daughter two pairs with a custom hat and I bought my sister a pair of earrings as well. We are Dope Crochet ladies for sure and I get nothing but compliments when I wear them. I love the fact that you can create your own custom colors for your pieces and that they are handmade makes it that more special. Not only am I a fan of her work but I am more than impressed by this young lady who’s in business for herself. Her catalog of items is ever growing, she's adding new items regularly to keep it fresh. She not only has earrings but she has hats, bags, home items, men’s ties and some clothing items as well. So without further ado, let’s meet Erica.
Q: Do you remember the first item you sold and to whom? A: I don't but I do remember how that first sale made me feel. It was affirmation that my creations were admired and appreciated and really encouraged me to push forward establishing my brand and business. Q: Going out on faith to start a business is a scary thought, did you quit your day job to do this? Also share with us the platforms that you use to keep your product relevant and in the public eye. A: I understand that the idea of starting your own business can be daunting. I completely get that. There comes a point where you have to address that fear, that apprehension you have, and tackle each excuse or objection you have to moving forward. I was studying for grad school at the time I started my business and Etsy was the first place I opened a shop. There are so many great resources for building your brand beyond a shop on the Etsy site. There are Facebook groups, federal and state resources, etc. I mean, honestly, you have a world of knowledge at your fingertips via the Internet. When it comes to entrepreneurship in my experience, you really do get back what you give. Invest in yourself and be rewarded. You've got to be motivated.
Q: What inspires you to create new pieces? Do people make suggestions and then you run with it or are you just always trying new things on your own. Like say if I came to you and said Erica, I am really into owls right now and I would love to have something from you with your interpretation of an owl, would you do that or is that too much? I mean cause I'm really into owls, I’m just saying. A: Lol, owls are awesome, I could definitely work something up for you! I love clients like you who just keep me on my toes! I'm inspired by people I see and what I think may look good on them. Also colors, moods - my inspiration is everywhere. I love when people come to me with a theme in mind or a photo of something to recreate. It helps me to keep my skills sharp and release creative energy I have.
Q: OK this is my last question so I have to make this a good one, although the last question was a really owl, I mean awesome question. This is about the beast of the business. Most people don’t know how to price their merchandise accurately. Usually you start out selling to friends so you’re either giving things away (necessary sometimes) or your just breaking even with material cost. How that work did for you, was that ever a problem with your product?
A: That is something I've honestly learned by trial and error. You can have a formula but you may need to tweak it slightly. Once you see continued success at that price point, then you can use that to gauge the costs for your other pieces. You, as a business owner, have to know your margins and audience and it will all work out.
These are the earrings that I purchased.
Below are photographs from Dope Crochet™
A special thanks to Erica for being game to Chat with this Chic!