One Handmade Hat That Started It All

crochat handmade hat hats kids winter knit knitted handknit
Our little boy Lucas, his head full of hair, and myself.

That is me in the picture. Sarah Meys.

Wife. Mother. Crochetologist.

There are many other words I could use to describe myself, but those are the three words that hold the most importance to me. For the past four and a half years I have been nurturing not only my three beautiful children, but also what I like to refer to as my yarn baby, Meys Made. My business has become a much loved sixth member of our family since the start, and just like raising any small child, it sure has been a roller coaster ride. There has been joy. Learning. Frustration. And many a handmade hat posted away. But mostly, I have developed a tonne of pride over what I have achieved as a work at home mum.

Today I share with you the journey of my business, Meys Made. How one handmade hat started it all.

It was August, 2011. I had just become a mother to a beautiful baby girl 3 months earlier. She was everything we had hoped and dreamed for. Bright blue eyes, a cheeky smile and a shiny, bald head.

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Our baby Ella. Around 7 months old. Still no hair.

No evidence of hair whatsoever. Which was cool, really cool to be exact. Especially as she was born into one of the coldest winters I had experienced in chilly Dunedin, New Zealand. My poor little poppet was freezing every time we braved the conditions to relieve cabin fever. Sure there were mass produced winter hats I brought for her, but every other baby was wearing them too. Enter mummy paranoia. What if I lose my girl in the sea of pink cotton hats? (Sleep deprivation makes you worry about strange, strange things).

I got home, with the correct pink cotton hat baby, and searched Google for girls’ winter hats. Several images really jumped out at me. They all had two things in common: ‘crochet’ and ‘pattern’. My inner crafter was instantly awakened. I could potentially make one of these hats? I could potentially make one of these hats! I remembered my Mum had a crochet hook at home and most likely some yarn stashed away somewhere, so she was asked nicely to courier them down to me.

I purchased the patterns for the hats I had fallen in love with and I got started. After viewing a few You Tube tutorials and unraveling about 567 failed attempts, I was finally away. Crafting a 3-6 month sized handmade hat for my little girl. I felt like I was conquering Everest.

Unfortunately, there was a slight sizing issue thanks to my tight stitching in the beginning, but I’m sure Ella’s little doll appreciated her new hat. Attempt two was far more successful and fitted my princess perfectly. Finally we could venture out into society knowing that my little girl was warm and easily identifiable.

It was about 1 week later when a friend asked if she could have a handmade hat for her little girl. Sure, why not? I had ample yarn left over and it was a great way to pass the time during those long newborn feeds. My friend returned soon after asking if I could sell one to her friend. Sell? Wow! I had never thought of selling my hats. But being on one income, with a killer winter power bill looming, I gladly accepted the request. I started to get more and more requests. It was really exciting and I started to imagine the possibilities. Maybe I could start my own business? Imagine if I could actually get paid to enjoy my hobby, to relax with some yarn and a hook. It sounded too good to be true. But I knew it was a real possibility.

I followed a lot of New Zealand small businesses on Facebook that made children’s items. Maybe I could join that awesome group of work at home mums? They were always so inspiring to me. They seemed to have the best of both worlds; earning an income while they stayed at home with their kids. They were making money, doing what they loved, in a surrounding that they loved. It seemed like the epitome of a dream job. That was it, I wanted in. I had WiFi and I had constructed a dream. I dreamed of being able to afford to stay at home with my baby every day. She was growing so fast and I didn’t want to miss any of it. I couldn’t imagine going back to secondary school teaching and not being with her each day. I dreamed of having a little bit of extra money to get me out of my no longer needed maternity clothes. I dreamed of being able to contribute to our family income, just like my hard working husband. I wanted to be able to fund my growing obsession with buying yarn. Thinking about the joy I got when receiving thankful messages from parents who had purchased one of my hats, I decided to take the plunge and set up a Facebook page. My yarn baby, Meys Made, had officially been born into the business world.

It wasn’t all fun and games and I made a lot of mistakes while learning about being a start up business. How much to charge for hats so I covered costs, how best to advertise them, and how much time I should be spending with it. But over time, I started to feel a bit more comfortable with the title of ‘business owner’. My dreams were coming true. Our financial strain was becoming less and I was even able to buy my wonderful husband a small present. I was being sent beautiful pictures of adorable little babies in the hats I had made for them. It made me so happy. I felt like in a very small way, I was contributing and making a difference in the world, one hat at a time. The best part though was being able to do something that I found so relaxing and enjoyable, and actually make money in the process.

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One of my favourite hats that I have made. A super hero hat for my little boy.

Fast forward to March, 2016. Two more human babies have joined our team, and Meys Made handmade hats are still here. My business needs to be a bit more self supportive lately, after all I’m running around like a headless chicken with 3 preschoolers to care for, but it knows I could never give up on it. Meys Made is my yarn baby and always will be.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

– Arthur Ashe

 

Sarah Meys

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