Now that temps are cooling, it seems only appropriate to introduce you to the maker in our series...
Meet Sara of WormeWoole! Sara creates upcycled accessories from reclaimed felted sweater wool and cashmere, including our our beloved hand warmers (these always sell out at our holiday pop-ups).
Keep reading for our full Q&A with Sara!
1. Tell us a little bit about your story! How did you get started?
I’m Sara Orme of WormeWoole, and I’ve always been a maker of one thing or another. Beginning in 2011, I began to craft with reclaimed, felted sweater wool and WormeWoole was born. Of Scandinavian heritage, I have a love for stranded Nordic and Fair Isle knitting, and these are the knitted patterns I seek out for WormeWoole’s eco-friendly goods. The name WormeWoole is a play on my last name (which has a silent e) and is pronounced like “Warm Wool.” (If you thought it was “Wormy Wooly,” you are not alone and I don’t hold it against you.)
2. What do you love about the medium you work in?
I’m an eco-creature at heart, and as a knitter and seamstress, I have a long-standing love affair with textiles and natural fibers, so working with reclaimed wool is a natural fit for me. It is important to me to steward resources wisely and I am glad to be rescuing cast-off garments and making them into something both beautiful and useful.
Wool, itself, is a renewable resource and is an amazing fiber. It is naturally insulating, even when wet, and is soft and colorful, making it a wonderful material for mittens, which are the first to be cut out from the felted sweaters. It is also heat and moisture resistant, making it the ideal material for coasters, hot pads, and cup cozies which are made from the scraps. Other pieces are made into reusable pocket hand warmers, filled with rice, which can be microwaved over and over again for a little eco-friendly, portable heat.
Finally, sweater wool scrap packs and clasps from Nordic sweaters are offered to other crafters. Very little wool material is discarded, and most of that is burned in my parents’ wood stove for heat here in the Northwoods.
3. If you could offer any advice to other creatives who are just starting out, what would you say?
My advice to other creatives just starting out would be to keep learning and doing what you can to move forward a little each day. Learn about your craft, the art of business, marketing, product photography, or whatever area you need to learn to grow. Read, talk to people, try things. Make connections with other creatives and ask for help or guidance as needed. Creative entrepreneurs usually love to support other creatives, I have found.
I would also advise beginners to say yes to customers and opportunities as much as possible in the early stages when growing their businesses. Be willing to fill a need, even if it is not your ideal work or market. Creating custom orders, working with consignment agreements, and offering discounts for bulk orders were things I did at the beginning to gain some traction, forge relationships, perfect my craft, and make a profit. Later, I became more selective and focused in my product line and what I say yes to, raised my prices to reflect the time, materials and expertise involved, and rarely accept custom work because it isn’t my strength. But that foundation laid at the beginning was crucial to my business success.
Follow along with Sara right over here: