The first crochet piece, Kristen Joseph, a fourth-year student at the University of Georgia, was a simple high school infinity scarf. Now she lays claim to the creative name of ‘Rise Queen’ and has turned her hobby into a local business, creating statement pieces with just one hook.
Creations by Rise, the artist’s company name, features everything from tops and hats to bags, all handcrafted by Rise herself.
Her initial passion for fabric designs began first with knitting, a skill her aunt taught her as a child. As she got older, she felt drawn to crochet because of “more flexibility” in what she could produce. This interest took her online, where she mainly used YouTube videos to learn and hone her skills.
Rise’s creations began in the summer of 2020, when Rise found herself with a lot of extra time due to the lockdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “I really went full blast with this [crocheting] when the pandemic started… When things started to get crazy and the world started to go crazy, I really used it to refocus and refocus my energy.
Top designers and fashion publications have highlighted crochet pieces as a major trend for summer 2021, a statement that has been exemplified by celebrities such as Rihanna and Kylie Jenner showing off crochet outfits on their media accounts. social. Rise says the attention to crochet is exciting to her, as that excitement for her pieces, and crochet in general, hasn’t always been there. She says, “I’ve been crocheting for six years. When I started it was so hard to convince people that these are real clothes.
The spotlight on the hook got Rise thinking about how her business can differentiate itself from its competition. Rise says she took inspiration from other entrepreneurs who have used platforms like Instagram to grow their business online, but also wanted to stay committed to making sure her crochet pieces and business model be faithful to him. “I think you have to find something that makes you unique, especially when it’s something that everyone can do or ultimately learn to do.”
One of the ways Rise strives to stand out is by prioritizing creating products that are accessible for everyone. Anyone can request a different color for a product if they are not on their website and she makes sure to offer a wide range of sizes on all of her clothing. “I don’t want people who don’t have a certain body type to feel like they can’t wear my items because of the size they can see online. I always want people to know that there is something I can do for you.
Rise also acknowledges that just as she learned to crochet online for free, anyone else can do the same. However, her take on learning through YouTube is different from most of the videos she has watched by people who have learned through other methods, which recently inspired her to start her own YouTube channel for. fill in any gaps that may be left by other designers.
“I think I’ll only use my YouTube channel to show alternatives because I was a beginner when I started learning. But now that I’m not really a newbie, when I go to YouTube I can sort of see how confused people who want to learn on YouTube get or you might get discouraged. There are a lot of little things that I feel like people don’t really highlight.
Ultimately, it’s about balancing her integrity as an artist and a businesswoman: “I want my products to be inclusive and accessible to everyone. But I also have to respect myself as an artist and respect the time I devote to a skill that I had to develop in order to be able to make these products.
Rise recently celebrated its first corporate anniversary with a concert at the Flicker Theater in Athens at the end of July, an evening filled with performances by local musicians and a testament to its growth over the past year. Even as she grows, she still prioritizes her enjoyment when it comes to crochet, even in the face of increasing orders. A typical crochet top takes Rise up to two weeks to make sure she still truly appreciates the artistic process that motivated starting the business in the first place.
Social media is a major part of Rise’s business model. She is extremely active on Instagram and the majority of her orders come from her online store. Although platforms like Instagram serve as the backbone of her business model, Rise has made an effort to put herself in the world to promote her work through opportunities such as the Athens Farmer’s Market. Rise recalls that at first there was a lot of discussion about whether she would make a sale at the market, but she says now she’s almost guaranteed to sell a few items. The biggest source of interest comes from word of mouth – friends telling friends who visit her at the market.
Rise has big dreams and big goals as she enters her second year of business. She still has a year to make a name for herself in Athens before she graduates, but hopes to expand her reach in Atlanta and other markets. Ultimately, she says, “I would really love to see this brand become something big. I would really love to have an Instagram business or a small business in general… My long term goal is just to see how far I can grow it and find ways to scale it.