Hailey was kind enough to take time out of her busy designing/knitting/making schedule to sit down and answer some questions for us. I really enjoyed getting to know more about her and I am certain you will too! Click on the link above to visit her gorgeous Etsy Shop and drop by her Blog or swing by Tumblr to check out her 365 Project!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself
Hello! My name is Hailey, the proprietor behind Ozetta handmade knits. I grew up and currently live in a small town in Oklahoma. I married my high school/elementary school sweetheart and we were blessed by a little boy almost two years ago.
How did you first get started knitting…what appeals to you about this particular medium?
I started crocheting when I was ten years old, but took a long break from it and picked up knitting. However, I have found that both are equally important in this industry. So, I do both. This art form appeals to me because you start with yarn and needles. That's it. And with great care and process I begin to create something. It's amazing what you can create with so little and make something so extraordinary. When I work on an order, I like to look at it as something entirely different than just an order. It means so much more to me than that. Each piece I create is full of meaning, love, and high attention to detail. According to my father-in-law I am building a piece. And I guess in reality, I really am.
Can you walk us through your creative process? Every season is like a new beginning to me. I get to add to my previous collection and sometimes that proves to be a challenge. I sketch, decide what colors to use, create sample swatches of patterns, and build on the foundation of all things knit and crochet.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I constantly draw inspiration from this beautiful world-Nature. Music. Fashion. Words. Photography. Family. I once lived in Alaska for a short year of my life and very few places have been close in comparison. You may notice a lot of the titles in my shop are named after places; it's my personal way of having a piece of Alaska with me. My handmade items are mostly named after cities, bodies of water, and small towns that make up Alaska. This cold and mountainous place made a huge mark on my life and I wanted a part of it to always belong in my shop.
How/when did you decide to start your own business?
Ozetta handmade knits is deeply inspired from my great grandmother. My grandmother taught me how to crochet, among many other things, and most importantly she showed me to lead by her example in life and that was to do what makes me happy. When she passed away a few years ago, I stepped back and took a look at my life and where I was heading. I was heading down the monotonous path and I wanted to become something greater than ordinary. I wanted to make something of my time and myself, just as she did.
How did you come up with your shop/business name? Is there a meaning or story behind it?
Ozetta is the middle name of my great grandmother. What's surprising is the name was never really an issue; I always knew my shop was going to be Ozetta. My Memaw was the brightest person in any room. She had the best advice, was so very patient, and dropped subtle hints of what she knew you could become. She would always say "little Hailey, you can do anything". I would sometimes stay for weeks with her in the summer months. We would wake up early to cook a huge breakfast for the two of us, watch movies, curl up in her handmade quilts while crocheting and talking talking talking. I think she always knew what I could become with my creative abilities. I wish she could see the skill that she alone taught me from just a chain stitch, has grown into something bigger than maybe even she imagined. Well, maybe she knew all along.
What’s your favorite part about running your own business? What do you find most difficult?Being able to stay at home with my little boy has been the absolute best outcome I could have imagined. I love being my own boss, having time to be a wife and mama, and being able to make things full time. I am my best person when I create. The most difficult (and I should add, the most fun as well) is the holiday months. Being the sole person behind Ozetta can be exhausting but is rewarding at the same time. To be able to say that I alone have sent out every order in my shop, well, it’s quite amazing.
How do you promote your work?
I promote on Etsy, my blog, and my 365 project. I also build relationships in the Etsy community and have found amazing friends through there.
Do you have any advice or tips for artists wanting to start their own business? If you fail, try try again. Do not give up. Take perfect pictures, have a unique shop name, and keep your shop organized and up to date.
Where do you want to be in five years?Exactly where I am now but even more successful every month.
Is there anything else that you want people to know about you?
A quote that has always stuck with me is “a dream deferred will hurt you over time”-Michael Emerson (most of you may know him as Ben on the TV show LOST). When I heard this quote I was even more determined to make my dream reality. What was I waiting for?