The Knit Wits of Krochet Kids
Crocheting is for old people? Don’t tell that to the Krochet Kids.
Before long the three friends were addicted (their word) to crocheting, churning out dozens of beanies while hanging out in Crecelius’ basement. Thinking the brightly-colored hats looked cool, they began wearing their handiwork to school, and lo-and-behold, their peers agreed. In fact, so many fellow students wanted to purchase beanies that meeting demand detracted from their schoolwork. “Instead of writing assignments in our planners we were taking down hat orders,” marvels Ramsey, now 23, who remembers using the proceeds from hat sales to pay for senior prom.
Unable to settle on a name for the business, the trio initially sold their product without branding their efforts. Ultimately, “somebody just said ‘Krochet Kids.’ We liked the idea of the logo [with back-to-back K’s], and that sealed the deal for us,” recalls Ramsey.
At this stage, however, getting a post-secondary school education took priority over developing the Krochet Kids concept and all three went away to college—Crecelius to the University of Washington and Hartanov and Ramsey to Vanguard University in southern California. For the most part, crocheting took a backseat to classes, surfing and skateboarding. Yet on summer breaks each took the opportunity to volunteer abroad, and soon came to understand that “most of the world doesn’t live like Americans do,” reminds Crecelius, referring to the abject poverty that’s endemic in the Third World.
As fate would have it, Ramsey would volunteer at an orphanage in Uganda, where he encountered young women whose employment options were limited to: Crushing rock in a quarry eight hours a day or selling mangoes by the side of the road. Either way, “they would earn 1,000-1,600 shillings,” he says, or “50 cents to a dollar per day.”
Upon returning to the United States, Ramsey took Hartanov and Crecelius aside and proposed a return trip to Uganda—this time with hooks and yarn in hand—to find out if it might be feasible to teach locals to crochet hats and outerwear. Having learned that many of the women were young single mothers that had lived through the horrors of civil war and been displaced from their homes and villages, Ramsey recognized that they had to take their mission seriously. “If we do this we have to commit to it one hundred percent, otherwise we are doomed to fail. And we could potentially hurt people more than help if we don’t do it right,” he warned his co-founders.