Josephine’s Creative Career Moms is a big part of my blogging inspiration and I want to take a bit of time this month to share the a small part of the story behind these features.
When I started my blog back in February, I was so inspired by the stories of mompreneurs like Courtney Ryall of Loops for Days, that I began featuring different creative career moms every month. Courtney was the first mompreneur I featured and I’ve learned so much from working with her. Her talent and creativity comes through in all of her work and it’s so amazing to see small creative businesses like hers blossom.
After struggling for months to crochet my son’s baby blanket before he was born, I learned first hand how hard it is to master this art form. Courtney’s patterns are both beautiful and well made and I am so excited to wear our matching mama and baby Beanies this fall.
Below is an updated version of the original Creative Career Moms feature on Courtney and Loops for Days. Her story is truly an ode to the creative career mom; inspired by her little one and inspiring other mompreneurs with her “nap-time hustle.”
Throwback to my First Feature: Courtney Ryall & Loops for Days
After working with Parent Life Network on a piece about creative career moms, I’ve decided to do a series of features on this topic. The focus is on women, particularly mothers, who inspire us by pushing past physical, societal and psychological challenges in order to pursue their dreams.
This week I had the opportunity to speak with Courtney Ryall, owner of the colourful crochet company Loops for Days about her “nap-time hustle.” Courtney’s lovingly handmade flower crowns, cowls and beanies are absolutely adorable accessories inspired by and made with little one’s in mind. Harlowe, Courtney’s daughter, was and still is the inspiration behind this budding new Canadian company.
First things first, can you tell me a bit about you and your company?
I am 28-year-old work from home mom. My first job is taking care of my 17-month-old daughter Harlowe. Loops for Days is my small handmade business where I crochet accessories for mostly babies and children, but also adults.
When did you start the company? Can you describe its beginnings ?
I started Loops For Days in November 2014. I started up by creating an Instagram and Facebook page, as well as and Etsy store. At first I listed 3 items: 2 infinity scarves, the Lulu and the Stephanie, and the Gracie Headband (a warm headband with a large bow). In the beginning my customer base was almost all friends and family. I spent the next few months growing through word of mouth and social media.
What made you decide to take the chance and start your own company?
People have often told me to start selling my crochet projects when I have given them as gifts or when they had seen the piece that my daughter was wearing. Crocheting is something that I do every night before bed while my husband and I unwind from the day. It just seemed like a perfect way for me to continue creating while making a little bit of extra money on the side.
How would you describe a typical workday?
Everyday I do the “nap-time hustle”. The only time that I have to work is when my daughter is sleeping! I try and get orders done during naptime and early evening. Outside of the actual crocheting, I try to post on my various social media accounts daily. This includes finding or creating content (I do mini photo shoots with my daughter in my various products 2-3 times a week). I also try and wedge out time for cross-promotion with other online shops that have a similar target audience. Before I go to bed, I will usually pack up finished orders so that they can be mailed the following day. Finally, I try and take time every week to create new items to add to my shop. Even if it’s a new take on an old piece, it helps me with keep the creative juices flowing.
What is it like being a mom and an entrepreneur? What are some of the challenges?
For me, it feels pretty normal now. I absolutely LOVE that I get to include my daughter in what I do! The challenging part is that I only get so many hours in a day to complete actual orders. My work takes time to create, so I can’t realistically hold stock that is ready to ship. Since everything is made to order, it is important to stay organized and keep within my promised turn around time. If Harlowe is teething, or refusing her naps, I am unable to work. This sometimes results in late nights when I am already exhausted from bad sleep if I need to get product out on time.
What inspires your work?
My daughter does! She is my total inspiration and without her I wouldn’t have started Loops For Days.
Has crochet always been a part of your life?
My grandmother has always crocheted. We always had her blankets (every child in the family gets at least one) and her house is filled with gorgeous intricate tables cloths. I started crocheting 3 years ago.
How did you learn to crochet and did you always consider it a business venture?
I learned how to crochet using YouTube videos. I started super small. Just learning the basic stitches. Over time I taught myself to read simple patterns, followed by more complicated ones. Eventually I was able to improvise on existing patterns and also create my own.
What are your hopes for the future of this company?
At the moment, I am taking sewing lessons. I am hoping to incorporate some sort of apparel to my shop. I would like to combine crochet and sewing to offer something a little bit different. I am also interested in expanding my photography knowledge. I have so much fun with the creative side of the business; I would like to feel like I have a solid grasp of what my camera can do and create more elaborate photo shoots with my products. In addition to all of this I would love to develop a stand-alone website and blog. One thing at a time though!
Loops for Days Giveaway (extra entry info):
Re-post the giveaway picture ( on Instagram) and use the hashtag #josephinescreativecareermoms.
Disclosure: Companies featured in this series often sponsor my posts and, or send products for review. If I love the company and their products, I am more than happy to share them with you!