As an amigurumi designer since 2019, I have some of my favorite designers that I always admire and love the amigurumi design from them. Today it is my pleasure having a chance to interview my idol – Erinna Lee from Little Aqua Girl. Let’s talk with her about her journey to becoming a famous crochet designer and learn from her previous advice. Especially, thanks to Erinna, there is a special coupon of 21% discount for all her patterns in her Etsy shop, only in a limited time, curated for you, my readers and supporters!
The interview is inside 2021 COCROCHET TOUR – a year-long Amigurumi Designer Interviews, that will feature 12 famous amigurumi designers, listen to their unique success stories, and have the wonderful gifts from them. You can read more about CoCrochet Tour and other interesting events in 2021 here.
Let’s look at the interview and her valuable advice for crocheter who wanna be designer.
AMIGURUMI DESIGNER INTERVIEW
1. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your designs.
My name is Erinna Lee and I am an Australia-based designer who goes by the name of @littleaquagirl on Instagram.
I love designing amigurumi patterns and sell these through two main avenues – my Etsy shop The Little Hook Crochet, as well as through the website AmigurumiPatterns.net.
Together with AmigurumiPatterns.net, I published my very first amigurumi pattern book, Amigurumi Treasures, in 2019 and am looking to bring out my second book, Amigurumi Treasures 2, in 2021.
2. How long have you been crocheting?
I started crocheting in mid-2014 and am basically self-taught with the help of online tutorials, YouTube and books.
3. Why crochet? What is it that interests you?
I was looking for something to do outside of work, mainly as a way for letting the mind take a break from the sometimes stressful demands of one’s job. I have always loved getting out and pursuing physical activities, but at the same time, I wanted to find something that would allow me to tap into my creative side.
From a very young age, mum instilled a love for crafts in my sister and me, so it seemed a natural outlet to look for a new craft to learn. In fact, mum and I both discovered amigurumi at about the same time. She makes beautifully finished dolls for sale through her Etsy shop Bubbles And Bongo.
Crochet is attractive as it offers a great blend of algebra (I am a scientist by day so this attracts me) and artistry. It offers so many possibilities to create shapes using just a simple repertoire of stitches. I think this makes it very accessible to many.
4. Where do you usually get inspiration from for your designs?
I love the kawaii design aesthetic and I am inspired a lot by illustrators of children’s books. For example, E.H. Shepard for the Winnie the Pooh stories and Quentin Blake who collaborated a lot with the author Roald Dahl.
5. Tell us about your happiest moment since you became an amigurumi designer?
This moment would probably belong to when I held a copy of my very first book Amigurumi Treasures in my hand. The book represented a year’s worth of hard work juggling completion of the designs with full-time work.
It meant a lot to me to reach the finish line and also for the belief the team at AmigurumiPatterns had in me to produce a book of patterns.
6. What is the most struggle that you have faced during your design career?
One of the biggest challenges is having to work full-time whilst meeting crochet project deadlines. I find it hard to say no to people but it is a skill I have to learn that I cannot do everything and I have to be careful not to burn out.
7. How did you start to be a professional designer and treat the hobby as a business?
Probably the first time I felt like I could call myself a designer was when I submitted my very first entry of a mother and baby mouse to the ever-popular design contest hosted by AmigurumiPatterns.net.
It was one of the first patterns I had designed and was over the moon when it finished in third place. That pattern led to my very first appearance in a pattern book and this was the start of a fantastic relationship with AmigurumiPatterns.net (Now known as amigurumi.com)
It also provided me the exposure as a designer and I slowly started to develop new relationships with magazines like Simply Crochet. I believe the moment I opened my Etsy shop with my mum was the turning point for crochet becoming a business.
8. What is your strategy to grow a design business? How did you start to promote yourself and which platform?
I admit I still have a lot to learn with regards to marketing my work and using all the amazing tools out there to maximize my ability to succeed.
I believe in producing high-quality work and always being as helpful as possible to those who purchase my patterns as this helps develop good relationships and trust in the product that I have to offer.
I use Instagram primarily to promote my work. I could look at other social media platforms too but I think I would probably need much more time in a day to invest in these other avenues.
9. I saw that you have tons of sales on Etsy and other sales platforms, what you think is the main factor that leads to your success today?
I feel fortunate that my designs have resonated well with other amigurumi lovers. It is always so encouraging when others like the designs I produce. I think it has taken time to develop an identifiable design style and it is the greatest compliment when someone tells me that they instantly recognize a design as mine.
I wish I knew for sure what the main factor is that led to my success, some patterns do better than others. However, if I had to pick one, I would say that it is the care I take in producing patterns that are highly detailed and with as much help as I can to enable the re-creations to be as close to that advertised as possible.
10. You are famous right now, but I know that it would be a long story behind with all the effort and of course, luck! What is your advice for people who want to be a designer and live with a career?
I truly think you are being so kind saying that I am famous.
I never imagined a hobby would lead me to the place I am today as a designer and that crochet would become a small business for me.
My advice for potential designers is to firstly, just do it. Don’t expect immediate success or grand things to happen instantly. It takes time to build a portfolio and reputation.
Secondly, develop your own style as soon as you can – through your designs, your color palette, your pattern layout, your photography. I think it is important to be identifiable as a designer. Lastly, to just enjoy what you do. Don’t make crochet feel like work as that is when the enjoyment ends.
I hope you enjoy the interview! Thanks, Erinna for the wonderful advice and your beautiful amigurumi designs. You really inspire a lot of us into the fantasy amigurumi world.
In case you are new to amigurumi, check my Ultimate guide to amigurumi for beginners to learn from scratch this beautiful art!
IT’S TIME FOR GIVEAWAY
Erinna has a special gift for you, Anvi’s Granny Handicrafts readers. From 16th Jan 2021 00:00 to 21st Jan 2021 00:00 AEDT (please mind the time, only 1 week), you will get a 21% discount for all the patterns in her Etsy shop with the coupon:
Head over to her shop, find you favourite patterns and enjoy the amazing gift from talented Erinna!
Thank you for reading and see you next month in EPS 02 of COCROCHET TOUR 2021!
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From Joy with love!