Lawal Barakat Ayomide is a final year student of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, at Obafemi Awolowo University. In this interview with Edugist, she shares her journey to becoming a skilled crocheter, the challenges, and plans for the future.
How did your journey of making crochet start?
Just like everyone was bored and looking for what to do in 2020, I was also looking for something to do. Then, I found crocheting one night while going through YouTube. I watched a couple of videos and I loved it instantly. It was love at first sight. However, I didn’t start practising until the end of 2021 because there was no material for me to start with. Unlike most crocheters who have been taught crochet basics when they were kids, I started learning in 2021 and since I learn fast, I also started the business in 2021, it was on my birthday, December 14. I wasn’t motivated to start at first because nobody would give me work since they thought I was a novice even though I was that good but there was nothing to show for it. So, I would tell my people to bring small money and I would create something beautiful for them at a very ridiculous price. I gathered the pictures and I launched the business with the right push from my amazing friends.
It has been an interesting journey since then, the more I learn about this crocheting, the more I love it. It’s not just a business or a hobby. It’s a passion.
Do you mean that everything you have learnt about crocheting is through Youtube?
I didn’t learn everything on YouTube, I paid for various online classes and I would like to also give credit to fellow crocheters I can call mentors. At the beginning of the journey, they served as a kind of motivation and as I progressed, Jadesola, a very good friend who is also a professional crocheter, would conveniently come to my aid whenever I was stuck. She gave me my first crochet hook.
How have you been able to combine crocheting with your academics?
It has been very challenging and as a final year student, it is harder for me because there’s just so much to do in a very short period given that I take my academics seriously and I don’t like anything to get in the way. However, crocheting is also part of my life which makes it hard for me to leave one for another.
But I’m able to combine the two so far with proper planning and schedule. Sometimes, I take crochet to class and whenever we have a break, I don’t waste it. I stay up late a lot too and I barely have time to play with my friends. And to be sincere, combining the two is affecting both. I just can’t wait to graduate so I can focus fully on my business.
Aside from this, are there any other challenges?
Yes, there are many other challenges. Some of which are low sales and underpricing. Most people don’t know the value of crochet wear and this makes them run when I mention a particular price, they think it is expensive and sometimes it discourages me. But I believe it’s because I’ve not fully reached my target audience yet. Though the few customers I have at the moment are rich people and I’m sure that very soon more rich people will join this brand.
What was your parent’s reaction when they got to know that you do crocheting?
They don’t know how much I’m invested in it, they think it is a hobby. My brother gave me a funny reaction though. He asked if I was depressed the first day he saw me crocheting. Apparently, he only saw characters in American movies crocheting when they are depressed. So I enlightened him.
Has there ever been a time you almost gave up?
Never. I may be inconsistent with my visibility online but I’ve never for once thought about giving it up or almost giving it up. This is something I just started and I’m not going to give it up because I see it growing into a bigger and well globally recognised brand.
What has been your motivation?
Passion, interest, and money keep me going.
How has crocheting combined with other activities shaped your life?
It makes me realise I’m more than my limit. I always feel like I can’t multitask and that’s my excuse for not doing so many things in the past. Combining crocheting with other activities is pushing me beyond my limits. It makes my life more interesting and I’m enjoying it.
Outside academics and making crochet, how do you spend your leisure time?
I like spending time with people I love. I like reading, writing, seeing movies, listening to music, and scrolling through Nancy Isime’s Instagram page.
As a final-year student who already has a skill, what’s your plan after graduation?
The only plan I have right now is to give my business the one hundred percent focus it deserves. I’m still thinking about other things to do.
You mentioned that you scroll through Nancy Isime, why?
Nancy Isime is a very big source of inspiration for me. She’s a woman of honour and strength. Unlike other celebrities who are so farfetched, Nancy Isime looks home, she’s comforting, encouraging, and pushing. She’s dedicated to her work and consistent, her lifestyle isn’t the only thing I cherish. I adore her personality and her kind of woman. Going through her page is a kind of energy-refilling thing for me, it brings back my lost motivation and it pinches me back to reality, and screams loud into my ears why I need to get up and work.
Another thing is Nancy Isime is not a sluggish person. She’s fast, down from the way she walks to the way she works. Her kind of speed is what I need in this crocheting work.
If not crocheting, what other skill would you have acquired and why?
Maybe hairstyling, because it’s something I can do well naturally. I wasn’t taught, I just woke up one day when I was still young and started making my grandma’s hair, the hair was good and I’ve been doing it since then. So most people have told me to go and learn it but I just don’t have much interest.
By: Ajibade Abdullah