Profile: Kelsey Reynolds, Founder of Shugababy Knits

 

Name: Kelsey Reynolds

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Age: 21

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

What inspired you to start shugababy knits?

My whole life my father, Kevin ‘Mojo” Reynolds, called me Shugababy. He used to make all of my passwords and emails using this and I was always so embarrassed.  A few months ago he suddenly passed while I was here at Tulane. Before his passing I used to knit and crochet on and off; however, since his passing crocheting, knitting and weaving became a means of coping with my grief. This past summer I returned home from school and honestly sat on my couch for about a month as everything else seemed too hard. I discovered this lovely yarn store right by my house in Los Angeles and took to crocheting tops. I posted one on instagram and next thing I knew people were messaging me for custom orders. So I thought hmmm I should make this a real thing and create an instagram just for my crocheting and right away I thought of “shugababyKNITS.” Though it’s kind of a mouthful, it’s fun and obviously very personal for me. Honestly,  this all just kind of fell into place, I didn’t really plan any of it. I guess I really wanted a way to fund my art (it’s not cheap). Funny thing is my dad always used to say I would be a designer when I grew up. Though I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m a designer I’m definitely really getting into this idea of fiber art and designing my tops and wall hangings.

 

How do you envision shugababy knits growing in the next few months?

Because i’m back at school it’s definitely hard to put aside time to make tops and wall hangings; however, I do hope it expands somewhat and I start getting more orders. Hopefully, I will create an etsy and website so I can reach a broader audience. Currently, I sell to friends and friends of friends so it would be great for me to start selling to the public. Ideally, I’ll take some time to really perfect three or four styles with specific sizes so I can launch a “line” for the spring and summer time! I’m thinking of holding a little pop up sidewalk sale sometime during my senior year here at Tulane.

Whom do you envision as your target buyer?

Definitely teenagers and young adults for the crochet tops. However, I’ve started making wall hangings as well, which are type of home decorations so i’m sure that will reach a broader buyer.

 

What's the best advice you've ever gotten?

Growing up near the ocean I always went to the beach. I loved the sand, the water, the waves... everything. I was always fearless and would try to take on the biggest waves (looking back they were actually very small). That being said, sometimes I would get taken through what my dad called “the washer machine.” The waves would crash on me and I would tumble all the way to the shore. I usually ended up crying, having swallowed a lot of water and gotten tumbled into the floor of the ocean. One day, my dad gave me the best advice that I would have never thought would translate to my life now at 21. He told me, “when a wave comes dive under and grab the sand… the wave will pass right over.” Now at 21, this little piece of advice has truly saved me. When life comes crashing down, which it has often in the past few months, I take a deep breath, dive under, and grab the sand. Sometimes the waves are small and sometimes they are really big, forcing me to be patient with my feelings, especially my grief. It’s okay when life comes crashing down and it’s okay to feel all of it but I’ve learned to be patient. You can’t fight the wave. Trust me, it’s stronger and it will take you all the way back to shore. There’s always going to be waves -- take a deep breath and be patient. Calm will come. It always does.

What advice do you have for other young women who want to start their own small businesses? (or even large businesses i suppose... dream big y'all)

Honestly just to go for it! Whatever “it” may be. I had no plan and honestly I still don’t, but I definitely hope to expand because I truly do love what I’m doing.

 

Do you experience self-doubt in your work? How do you handle it?

I definitely experience a lot of self-doubt. I wasn’t formally trained so I technically don’t feel like I know what i’m doing. All of my friends and the people that have bought my product love it, but i’m very insecure about my skills. I also lowball the prices because I doubt my ability. I think with time I’ll get more confident.

What are you reading right now?

“Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools” by Monique W. Morris

Where can we buy these dope tops and decorations?

You can go to my instagram @shugababyknits and or email me at [email protected] for inquiries :)