It's 2017, I'm a full-time college student working to obtain my B.S.B.A. and like any college student, I'm anxious AF.
Well, I've always been anxious - and I've always had anxious hands. But let’s back up a bit.
I Didn’t Always Used to Crochet
Ever since the third grade when I took a knitting summer camp class (yes, I know - what third grader's first choice for a summer camp class is knitting?) I've always had a fixation on creating things with yarn. I've always had really anxious hands, so knitting helped alleviate some of that anxiety for me. For about a decade, I knitted to my heart's content.
Fast Forward to Freshmen Year of College
... when the anxiety picked back up (because, well, college, ya know?) I picked up knitting again. One weekend during my junior year of college I was at a farmer's market and I saw a handmade crochet water bottle carrier and I loved it and thought it was just the coolest idea, but I was a broke college student that didn't wanna pay $25 for it. (looking back, I should've supported the woman's business - but if I had, I never would've learned how to crochet).
So I said to myself, "hey, I already know how to knit, why don't I figure out how to crochet so I can make myself one of these water bottle carriers?"
I went out the next day, bought my first ever crochet hook, and watched a bunch of YouTube videos to teach myself how to crochet.
Like anything new, I got frustrated when my pieces wouldn't turn out the way the pattern intended. But once I got the hang of it, I couldn't stop crocheting.
Some of my friends and peers started asking about the bralettes I was making, and that's when I started to sell my finished pieces. I was making reusable produce bags, cotton rounds, bralettes, water bottle carriers, earrings, and more.
At this point, it was just a hobby I enjoyed that also gave me some cash on the side.
Fast forward about a year and I'm in my childhood bedroom at my parents' house, finishing my senior year of college via Zoom. I graduated with no post-grad plans (like the majority of us, considering there was a pandemic).
I started dog walking and working as a barista at the Dunkin' I worked at during high school while I searched for a job, but I had no leads.
Naturally, since I wasn't preoccupied with a full-time job, I had a bunch of extra time - which I decided to dedicate to crocheting. That's when things really started to pick up.
I was watching Schitt’s Creek the other day and I think it was Moira who said, “necessity breeds creativity” - and I’ve never heard a truer statement.
And Jocelyn’s Designs Was Born
I had put a lot of work in to create my own website, figure out shipping, I bought a label printer and all the necessary small business supplies (mailers, stickers, tape, bubble wrap, business cards), and on July 2nd 2020, Jocelyn’s Designs launched on Big Cartel with about 15 different pairs of crochet earrings.
The response I got from my followers was huge and the orders kept me busy. Come September/October, I was enjoying running my business so much that I wanted to leave Dunkin’ and pursue my business. And that’s what I did.
Bye Corporate, Hello Entrepreneurism
The next few months were so busy with holiday orders. I was literally crocheting any time I was awake. From pom pom beanies and doggie bandanas to Christmas tree wall hangings and peppermint beverage coasters, my bedroom was covered in yarn. (Like, so much yarn I had to get new storage for it all).
Time for a Rebrand
I started thinking about how I could rebrand Jocelyn’s Designs to sound more professional. Jocelyn’s Designs was kinda just something I had come up with because it was easy - but I wanted something bigger.
It was a random night in January of the new year, and I woke up and I remembered having a dream about a cool new name for a business. Yep - I literally came up with the name “The Cozy Tangerine” in a dream. I started doing some research to find out if The Cozy Tangerine was already taken by another business - and it wasn’t. Woohoo!
About a Month Later, the Cozy Tangerine Became an Officially Registered Business Within the State of Massachusetts!
This was a huge step for me - it really made my "little side hobby" to mean something more. I started crocheting more, trying out new patterns and projects, and the orders just kept coming in.
But there wasssssss one thing that always seemed to be lingering in the back of my brain though. I had this constant self-nagging thought saying, “You still need to be searching for a full-time job. This isn’t sustainable. This is just a temporary side gig.”
Thanks, capitalism, for forcing this warped view of success on me!
In the meantime, I continued with the job search. I ended up accepting a temporary gig as an administrative assistant just to get some money. It had been almost a year since I graduated with no luck of any job offers, so naturally, I took it. The job was only for a couple of weeks though, and I ended up getting an interview for another position which I accepted in April. This job was ~not it~ for me.
This isn't a blog post about my work journey - so if you want to read more about that, check out my previous blog post on why I quit my 9 to 5 and where it brought me.
But now I'm living in my apartment with my best friend, working part-time while dedicating the rest of my time to growing The Cozy Tangerine. The Cozy Tangerine has fulfilled over 120 orders in 2021 alone (taking into consideration the months where I wasn't able to focus on my business at all due to working full-time).
I have so many big plans for The Cozy Tangerine, and I hope (if you're not already), that you'll follow along and support me on my journey!