AGE || 30
JOB TITLE || Crochet Street And Yarn Artist
START DATE || 13 Years Old
YEARS LIVING IN NEW YORK || 10
SOCIAL HANDLES || @MadeByLondon
WEBSITE || London Kaye
What did you want to be as a child?
I always had a little bit of the entrepreneurial spirit in me. Even from a young age I had my scarf business. When I was 15 I was able to buy a car with all my scarf money. I was a dancer and then I had an injury in high school. It didn’t prevent me from dancing but it made me realize it probably wasn’t the career for me. After college, I would write lists of what I wanted to do. Find your true purpose and crocheting were always at the top of the list, followed by Photoshop. I didn’t know what I wanted. I kind of just kept on crocheting and stumbled into it being my career.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting out?
I realized that as much as I do, you have to love what you do. If you’re taking an unconventional path, really truly loving what you’re doing is so important. I could sit and crocheting for 12 hours a day and that’s like a dream day. But ,what I realized is if I did that then it would never be able to be a business. It’s important being able to create a corporation, get trademarked, and get a patent. You have to be on it with email and presentations and there is so much else that goes into the job besides just actually doing what you see on the surface level.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you started?
I always liked the project always takes as long as you have. So if a client comes to you with a deadline you’ll figure it out. Asking for help is always the best way to do that when you’re in a pinch but you’ll always get it done.
What is your workspace like, are you crocheting on the street or do you crochet it and then attach it?
My workspace is covered in yarn, it’s crazy. At some points I’ve had an art studio. Right now I have a live work loft that I work out of right now. I crochet as much as possible before. Crocheting takes a long time so the process is usually started as a sketch. I kind of water down the shapes to get an idea of what I’m going to make and then from there I start crocheting. Once it’s done as much as possible, I take it out to the street and hang it up or deliver it to whoever ordered it.
What is the hardest part about being your own boss?
Well, no one holds you accountable for anything at all. So I can wake up when ever I want and no one is going to doc me or fire me for sleeping in until 10. Which I do not do [laughs]. But I could, so definitely not being held accountable. Also, with yarn, there are not too many people that have done what I’ve done. So following my gut and follow my own path and being confident in my decisions. Those things are always good to keep in mind.
What has been the most rewarding thing since starting crocheting full-time?
I think just being able to earn enough money to support myself. I could not have dreamt that by crocheting I could live on my own. So some of the first big jobs that I got. I crocheted a billboard in time square for Miller Lite beer. It was like 50 feet by 25 feet. Absolutely huge. Just doing jobs that are so unconventional with yarn, whether they even just have a crochet step and repeat at a cool event or working with Starbucks to put up art on their chain link fence during their construction process. It was their idea for the Starbucks in Williamsburg. It was very sneaky and very Williamsburg. There have been just so many cool opportunities that I could never have dreamed of. I’m just so grateful.
Do you have a personal motto?
Sometimes when I’m in a pinch I just repeat over and over to myself you can do it, you can do it, you can do it. I’ve done this book that recommends you write every morning, just three pages and put your thoughts on paper. It was really helpful with the creative process and staying positive through out it. It’s really fun.
How do you handle situations where you feel overwhelmed?
I’m really lucky to have the support of my family for sure. I come from a really artistic family. My moms an artist, my sister is an actress, and my dad is a writer. So they’re really helpful to kind of get through difficult moments with the creative process. Also, when I’m overwhelmed, going for a walk outside, Just to clear up your mind. Believing in yourself. I’m really a fan of the whole positive writing things down and writing down what you’re grateful for as much as you can.
How do you define success?
Oh man, I define success as when I am living in the present moment. There are so many crazy things that go on in our lives but, if you live in the present, everything is OK. The more I can do that, the more successful I will be over time. I don’t know if that’s the right answer.
Do you have any advice for women starting out in unconventional career paths?
I was really lucky to have my job at the Apple store while I was making this jump. So I was full time working at Apple, starting this crochet business, whatever it was going to be, at the same time I was working. So before and after work, at lunch breaks, every extra moment was dedicated to crochet. Then finally I was able to go part time and then eventually quit. And I did that slowly so I was never suffering financially while I was making that jump. I feel like if you aren’t able to pay the bills sometimes you’ll compromise what you truly love or really want to do just to cash a check. So I think it’s super important to have something that can supplement your income while you’re starting.
What are some of your goals moving forward?
Goals moving forward is definitely to do more. I have this line of yarn and crochet hook that you can get right now at JOANN and different craft stores and Amazon. I just got a patent for my crochet hook design so I’m really excited to kind of extend different crochet hooks. I want to keep working with these different brands and companies. I just worked with Disney on their store opening in New York. More corporate partnerships and seeing where it goes. I’m definitely open for the ride.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.