Art and design sophomore Erica Kemp creates handmade crochet tops, bikinis and accessories through her business Handmade By Erica. Kemp started her crotchet business four years ago after being inspired by girls wearing similar styles to festivals.
“I thought they were so cute and wanted to try making my own. My mom taught me the basics of how to crochet and then I took off from there,” Kemp said.
Kemp has been selling her creations on Etsy and Instagram since her sophomore year of high school. Every item is custom-made to order in any particular color or size, ranging from $10 to $30 per item.
“I think her business is very unique. She is constantly coming up with new crochet designs, and even makes new designs based off of requests from customers or friends,” art and design sophomore and business supporter Kristin Brown said. “She has an Instagram account for @handmadebyerica and she shows lots of different chest sizes wearing her tops, so people know that they will fit a variety of different girls.”
Kemp explained that social media has helped her business.
“Once I started using Instagram, many girls from my high school started buying them from me and wearing them to school or post[ing] pictures of them[selves] in my tops online,” Kemp said.
Balancing school and Handmade By Erica can be difficult for Kemp. However, she finds her hobby something easy to fit into her everyday lifestyle.
“Crocheting is something I can do while I hang out with my friends, so I can spend my time with the people I love while also working,” Kemp said. “Crocheting is also very meditative for me, so it also satisfies my alone time. All in all, my business doesn’t feel like work because I love crocheting so much.”
Kemp has hopes to further her business in the future. Her goal is to keep creating designs while garnering support from family, friends and future customers.
“I think Erica could take her crochet business and expand into a fashion company of all types of clothing,” art and design sophomore Lukas Wegmuller said. “She’s really into photography and graphic design, and I can see all of these disciplines coming together to become something great.”
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You can find more information on Kemp’s Instagram account @handmadebyerica.