Maker: a person or thing that makes or produces something.
Maven: an expert or connoisseur.
I am so excited to launch this brand new series on the blog, Maker Mavens!
In this business I have had the absolute pleasure of connecting with and getting to know some amazing people with incredible skill sets. My goal with this series is to not only introduce you to them and get to see the artists behind the brands, but to begin to showcase and explore all the different types of careers you can have in this rich and diverse community. These Makers have all different backgrounds, from all over the world. Each with a beautiful story centred around a love for the fibre arts.
I am so excited to introduce you to the husband and wife team behind Leither Co, Eric and Ashley Leither.
Ashley has been a Crochet Designer since 2012, and Eric began hand turning hooks at the beginning of this year.
Pam: Ashley and Eric, thank you so much for trusting me to showcase you and your brand! You are the first guinea pigs, ahem, Makers, that I have had on this brand new series! Should we just dive right in and get started? First up, what are your “official” job titles?
Ashley: Boss Lady (hehe), actually a crochet designer, but I also handle everything for the crochet hooks with the exception of making the wood handle. I order the wood, the aluminum hooks, photograph them, put them in our store, test them, package them and sometimes I help secure the crochet hooks into the handle.
Eric: Crochet Hook Maker
Ashley: Eric is the Crochet Hook Maker Master!
Pam: No kidding! I was so shocked to hear that Eric had no experience in wood working before making your first hook! So, how/when did each of you learn your crafts?
Eric: I have a background in machining but had always been intimidated by wood work but when Ashley had her crochet injury, I wanted to see if I could come up with a solution.
Ashley: I took a long maternity leave after our 3rd daughter was born and when I got back into crocheting full time I injured my shoulder and hand from many hours of daily crochet, it got so bad to the point that I had to stop crocheting for two weeks. Eric and I started talking about my pain and what I wanted in a wood handle, so he went out to the garage and with a cheap piece of wood and the wrong machines came up with a prototype and it was exactly what I had in mind. From there we invested in the right machine and good quality wood and he hasn’t stopped making hooks.
Pam: What made you decide to start selling your hooks?
Ashley: I kept telling Eric that other people would love these, not just because they were comfortable but because they are beautiful and us crocheters, love a good crochet gadget.
Pam: So true! I’m guilty of always looking at a tools “Instagram Factor” when making a purchase. Form meets function! So, what do you enjoy the most about the job, or what has been the most exciting part so far?
Ashley: I love being able to test them all out, if I could keep them all I would but it would be hard to sell them if I did.
Eric: I love creating new designs.
Pam: What do you like least about your job, or what is the most challenging part?
Eric: Finding the time to make them.
Ashley: Eric works a full-time job, often 6 days a week from 7am-5pm, so it is hard only being able make a few a day.
Pam: What are your major goals for your Shop?
Ashley: I would love to get our crochet hook into every crocheters hand, I wish you could feel the comfortableness of the hooks through the computer because they are super smooth and comfortable.
Eric: To continue to grow and produce a better hook every day.
Pam: Ashley, I couldn’t agree more! They are beautifully made! So I have to wonder, if you could go back and do anything differently along this path, what would you do?
Ashley: I wish we could go back to 2012 when I learned to crochet and started with these hooks, because for the first time ever, I can crochet pain free!
Eric: Starting with the bigger machine because since upgrading the hooks have a better finish.
Pam: Can you tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your journey?
Ashley: We just got our hooks in a local yarn shop, so excited for people to be able to see them who may not know about them.
Pam: Congratulations! That is a huge milestone! Now that your hooks are reaching a greater audience, what is the one thing you wish your customers knew about what you do?
Eric: I spend more time sanding and finishing then I do turning the wood design.
Pam: We finish the interview and you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Eric: Buy a bunch of cars!!
Ashley: Well we would need a large piece of land so that the cars could be hidden in the back of the property because more than likely they wouldn’t be running! Would love to see Eric quit his day job and pursue the hooks full time on our land with a huge wood shop and of course I need a large office to store all my yarn and crochet hooks.
Pam: That would really be living the dream! Eric and Ashley, thank you both so much for taking the time to share with us a little bit about your journey and allowing us a glimpse into what you do!
Eric and Ashley are offering something special for all the SP Blog Readers! Use code SINCERELYPAM to receive 10% off your Leither Co. order!. Visit the shop HERE.
But WAIT! There is more! Tomorrow I will be working on a review of the Hook that Eric and Ashley sent me to try out for myself. I will be doing a review with lots of yummy pictures. Wanna know the best part? They are giving away a second hook to one lucky reader!!
See you soon,