Today, we're here with Barbara from Out of the Hope Chest.
If you haven't heard of them before, you'll definitely want to give this a read. They have been a part of the Guelph Community for over 20 years and have a strong passion for creating whimsical and fantastical creations straight from your imagination.
Now let's dig in to the fun stuff!
When did your business first open? And what inspired you to start it?
I started selling at the Farmer's Market in Guelph almost 20 years ago.
When I started making dolls and toys, my son was a bit older and my nieces and nephews all were far away. Each item was actually made for one of them in mind but I was too broke to mail them all! So I got a little table at the market and the first little face I saw light up with joy looking at my rainbow monkeys that was it... I was totally smitten! Have been making ever since.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I was pretty ill in my 20's and suffered from chronic pain, PTSD and quite severe agoraphobia. A friend brought over some beautiful soft yarn, a crochet hook and an Encyclopedia of Crochet book that was about a foot and a half thick! I started at the beginning of that book and just went through every page. I finished every single lesson in that darn thing! And then I designed and made an ugly little doll. It was wonky as all get out and had orange straggly hair and I was in love. Now you can find millions of patterns on the internet but that was pre- internet time <gasp> so I just kept making my own. I've been designing ever since!
What products do you specialize in?
I design everything and anything. I can SEE the characters in my head and turn them into yarn with a hook so I'm not limited by someone else's patterns or ideas.
All my creations are one of a kind with great attention to details and those little things that make a character come to life. I still love to see those faces smile with delight and proclaim that I got it "just right".
Where can customers find your products?
You can find us on Guelph Market, Out of the Hope Chest on Facebook and Instagram.
What are some things you'd like the Guelph community to know?
I donate quite a lot of my work to causes I believe in, I currently have an auction item donated to Rainbow Diversity Institute. I price my creations to be affordable and accessible to most members in our community. I also barter and work on sliding scale. My goal is to get a piece into the hands of someone who will love it!
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Find your passion and don't give up. I still love what I do after 20 plus years!
Thank you so much Barbara from Out of the Hope Chest for taking the time to share their story with us.
Shop all their products below: