Tay Sauer

Photos provided by Tay Sauer

Today’s Shero Spotlight is one of my best friends, Tay Sauer! Tay and I have been friends since elementary school, but we really became close throughout high school and bonded over so many shared interests, experiences and passions. Over the years, Tay has been a mentor to me in so many different ways and I wasn’t surprised in the least when I heard she was taking initiative to launch her own Etsy business! Currently in school at Bowling Green University, Tay founded Tay’s Knits and Crannies as a way to monetize her passion for crocheting as well as support local businesses and other artisans. I’m so excited to spotlight her today!

How did you first become interested in crocheting?

So when quarantine first started, I was so bored and was running out of things to do. I’ve always kind of wanted to learn how to knit, so I literally went to Walmart on an impulse and bought knitting needles and yarn, and got on YouTube and made just a square. But the square kind of turned out more like a triangle because I was really bad at it so I kept working on it over the summer, and eventually started to make real squares and actual products.

What inspired you to start selling products?

I got the idea to start selling products when I started making bandanas because a lot of people started wearing them because of the cottagecore aesthetic. At the same time, my roommate was really into lettering and she was selling lettering cards to support the post office. So I started selling bandanas to kind of support the post office but also as an excuse to buy yarn from this, little yarn shop in Bowling Green, Ohio, and support a local business. 

Why did you decide to officially launch an Etsy Shop?

So I started selling my bandanas in August or September and I opened up my Etsy store in November. Basically, I thought I was only going to sell maybe two or three bandanas but I ended up selling about 15. At the time, I was like, oh, they’re just, $5 I’ll just mail them to you. I was so underpricing the bandanas with how much time it was taking me but I was just like, oh, it’s just for fun. Then I got all these orders and I was like, oh my god maybe this is something that I could do, especially because I didn’t really want to go back to my old job as a campus tour guide because of COVID. 

How has the public response been since launching Tay’s Knits and Crannies?

It’s been overwhelmingly great because on one hand, I was like, I‘ll be happy if I make two sales before 2021. So far, I’ve gotten 17 orders and I’d say right now it’s about 50/50 between customers I know personally and people who have just found me on Etsy. Like, I know my mom’s friends bought a couple things and some of my roommates bought stuff, but then I’ve gotten like quite a few orders of people who I’ve never met in my life from places like Washington and Pittsburgh.

What sort of impact do you hope to make with your brand?

One of the biggest challenges that I’ve encountered while doing this is it’s obviously a lot cheaper to get supplies and shipping materials off Amazon and from Joanne’s and stuff like that. But, when I started doing this I set out to support small businesses in town. So I still buy all of my yarn from the Bowling Green yarn shop and all of my shipping materials I buy from a local grocery store … So, what I started doing was finding small suppliers on Etsy — there’s tons of crafts suppliers on there — because I want all of my materials to be sourced from small businesses to just spread the revenue around for other small businesses rather than sourcing materials from a big company. 

What advice would you give to aspiring artists or entrepreneurs?

I think my biggest piece of advice is when you take something that you love and you make it into something that makes money, it can be hard to kind of tap into that creativity because a lot of the time, you start thinking about logistics. My biggest piece of advice is don’t let the logistical side of it get in the way of your creativity. When I’m just working on something because I want to, I have so much more fun and it turns out way better and I feel more proud of the thing that I’ve made.

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As a senior studying magazine journalism at Ohio University and a passionate feminist, I created Freely Femme as a way to use my love for storytelling to highlight some of the most inspirational women in my personal life and beyond.

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