Making Ends Meet with Knitted Chicks: An Interview with the Creator of Pofa

One of the biggest struggles for college students is paying dues and finding creative outlets to release stress. Many use their talents to express how they feel and to earn something out of it thanks to people who appreciate their creations. I recently got to sit down and chat with a student who is doing pretty well for herself in that regard.

Meet Stephanie Negrón Adorno, a student of Comparative Literature at the University of Puerto Rico at the Rio Piedras Campus, an artisan from Corozal, and the creator of an adorable chick plush that has won over many at local fairs, Pofa. I got to learn the origins of her craft, her brand, and what she's up to now. You can follow her latest creations and updates on Pofa´s facebook page.

 

HCUPR: What's your perception of your business?

Stephanie Negrón: It's more of a business than a hobby, but it's both. I have so much fun with it. I consider myself an artisan. I knit Pofa with a single needle type of knitting technique, and I primarily sell at festivals, although I do the occasional commission received via Facebook. I knit other things besides Pofa, but I focus mostly on them.

 

HCUPR: When did you begin knitting?

SN: When I was 11, I learned to knit in a Domestic Economy class. The first thing I ever made was a blanket for a baby. My teacher died before we could finish that first semester. I kept knitting afterwards because, besides enjoying it, I wanted to keep that memory of her alive. I kind of thought I was like an Einstein. I was unknowingly trying to create knitting patterns that already existed, which I realized when I looked them up, but eventually, I developed my own patterns. I even used to wear weights on my wrists to become faster at knitting.

 

HCUPR: How did Pofa come to be?

SN: I was at a very lonely point in my life, and making Pofa helped me feel better. At first, it was just for fun. Then, one time, at the Hammock Festival in San Sebastián, I sold one as a keychain, and when someone said they really liked it, they commissioned a bigger one. I ended up making a bunch more and they sold pretty well. The clients from that day motivated me to keep knitting them.

 

 

HCUPR: Tell me something interesting about Pofa.

SN: People tend to ask about its gender a lot. I just say it’s genderless, that way anyone can mold the way they use it and feel about it. Mine’s a boy, though.

 

HCUPR: Where does the name Pofa comes from?

SN: I was in the shower when the name occurred to me. I thought I could combine “pollo” (chicken) with my nickname “Fany.” I just started saying “pofa!” to myself, and I really liked how it sounded.

 

HCUPR: Where have you sold your plush chicks?

SN: I’ve sold in quite a few festivals and fairs. To name some: the Jíbaro Festival at Comerío, the Pana Festival at Humacao, the Hammock Festival at San Sebastián, the Plátano Festival at Corozal, the Apio Festival at Barranquitas, the Flower Festival at Aibonito, and the Coffee Festival at Jayuya.

 

HCUPR: What is your experience like as the magic behind a small business?

SN: I think that it's more than just a business, I think it's also an opportunity to teach others. I consider it a way to give to others a little piece of who I am, with each chick. Whenever I knit, and that includes anyone who helps me, everything has to be done with love. I never knit if I feel bad or if I’m not in the mood. I really like the idea of using them as companions, to not feel alone, even if it’s a plush doll that’s keeping you company. That’s why I never knit if I’m angry. I want to transmit love into them.

HCUPR: Have you ever gone through any negative experiences as a young woman in the artisan world?

SN: There are people who always try to invalidate my creations and work because I'm young and a woman, definitely. People discredit me because they think I'm inexperienced and because what I do doesn't take “skill.” But I think there have been more positives than negatives. I’ve gained friends and experience, and since I always go with the best mindset possible, I think I’ve been able to gain so much. My main goal was never to make money off of it, but since I saw that I could, I decided that it would be helpful.

 

HCUPR: So what's next for you?

SN: I hope to keep expanding and finding ways to produce more Pofas while distributing to more places. I want to make it a bigger thing than it already is.

 

Images provided by Stephanie Negrón Adorno.