ABOUT ME – StrawberryCouture or Strawberry Couture Hats – I designed every hat…Lenore Berry-Zaragosa My crochet hats and patterns for women are innocent like a strawberry with the effect of couture. I offer handmade twisted crochet couture hats for women that flatters all sizes made from soft acrylic, cotton, or wool yarn. My crochet couture hats fit and flatter all head shapes and sizes. That is the beauty of the twisted design. Never overpowers…
Hello and welcome. You wonder how did I get into crochet. As a child I spent summers my grandmother who exposed me to the world of handmade crafts. She, a retired teacher, spent her late years crocheting something for every one. Together we crafted: she crocheted an afghan and I latch hooked rugs. We bought our yarn supplies and crafted together. At times, we latch hooked together known as the craft hookers.
I entered college and did not know what career to pursue. Books came first according to grandma. She made sure of that. I had no time for a social life. TV shows like Dallas and Falcon Crest were my Friday night “friends”.
As a hobby, I sewed clothes. Little by little patterns and shapes “floated” in my head as well as dominated my study time in college (1989-1991). At the time, I never thought crafts as an official business. The Internet began its infancy.
I worked various jobs after two years of college. I considered them stepping-stones. I learned skills and various tricks of the trade of the working world. I served 5 years in the U.S. Army as a cook. It taught me the structure of working hard and learning more about the ins and outs of the job. Besides cooking, you have to fill out a production schedule of how many pounds of meat you needed to cook of one meal for 500 people. Know how many people you have to feed and order food rations. Follow the recipe card. Inspectors constantly visited to make sure you follow standards. Make sure the food temperature meets correct standards. Most of all, make sure no one gets sick. It taught me about the value of customer service that determines whether your customer will come back or not. True grit works.
I served a 1 year tour in Korea as a specialist and worked the job of a sergeant aka the boss in the civilian world who has to answer to a higher boss. It taught me how well you need to talk to people. You don’t just talk down to people any old way you want. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Don’t let anyone bring you down. Put them in their place. Most of all (I cannot stress this enough) communicate with your people. If you don’t communicate with your people, nothing will go right.
After the army, I started two failed small businesses: the first one a sewing business called a “Custom Fitting Designs” out of our government living quarters. My husband still served in the army by this time. I sewed custom clothes for a small clientage. One officer’s wife brought me her fabric with sewing patterns. I sewed dresses for her daughter, a formal dress for her to wear at her husband’s Officer’s Ball.
My second business I embroidered company logos for a lady who had her own taco restaurant. Machine embroidery is good for customers who live in your local area. A late friend of mine, Alma, taught me how to machine embroider for fun. My husband bought me a 7570 Pfaff sewing/embroidery machine, same as Alma’s machine. Buying the same model to her’s made her teaching me easier. Digitize your own designs. She taught me everything I know. I spoke to her the day before she passed away of a massive heart attack at the age of 57. She had Diabetes and failing health. She pursued what she loved to do.
Alma and I worked together in a fabric store. I cut fabric and worked in the home decorating department. I ordered fabric from manufacturers, helped customers choose their drapery fabric colors for their living rooms and upholstery fabric for their couches.
I learned about customer service. My career path began to take shape. Learn from your customers. Welcome to the platform where you get to hear from different customers likes and dislikes. Working in a fabric store had its perks and downsides: I received employee’s discounts on fabric. Fleece, in full demand, came in from left and right. I stashed my share underneath the cutting table. Work fast and efficient for customer satisfaction. The job paid a small income. I knew I needed to make extra money.
One customer I cut fabric for sold her finished Renaissance garments on Ebay. I thought to myself,”I can do that.” This was in the early 2000’s. I went home and sewed crazy quilt square throw pillows. They sold on Ebay.
I looked for crafts sites on the Internet, but to my dissatisfaction. They charged large fees. One night, however, in 2006 I came across Etsy, the handmade version of Ebay. The rest is history.