Whether she’s designing a new crocheted animal or spending time with her family at a Disney park, Casual Crocheting Mom on the Street Natalie McKinney brings joy wherever she goes. Read on to learn more about Natalie’s business, life, and family.
I love to create magic one stitch at a time, and I have been doing just that since my grandmother taught me to crochet at 12 years old. My crochet creations are intended to inspire imaginative play, merriment, and whimsy. Crochet Ever After is a mama-owned small business to make you and your little ones smile every time you make a purchase.
Casual Crocheting Business Beginnings
Have you always enjoyed crocheting and being creative?
Yes! I come from an extremely creative family, so it was definitely part of my upbringing. My sisters and I always enjoyed “dramatic pretend play” as kids (as this was before technology and the internet!) My mom is a very talented quilter, sewer, and upholsterer. My dad is a master crafter with wood and construction.
My sisters are excellent at painting and reviving, renovating, and upcycling old furniture into new creations. I’ve also always loved scrapbooking, writing creative short stories, and several other crafts over the years. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was only 12 years old, and I’ve always loved it. Over the years, I continued to crochet off and on, but it wasn’t until recently that I started making crochet stuffed animals.
When did you first start up your crocheting business?
A few years ago, I saw some crocheters on Instagram creating these amazing stuffed animals. I purchased a pattern on Etsy, and through a lot of trial and error, I recreated that same stuffed animal. From there, I made more and more, and my crocheting got better each time.
Eventually, I had a house full of stuffed animals, so I started listing some of those for sale on second-hand thrifting apps. I started gaining ground and made more sales, so I created a business name, social media profiles and launched my own Etsy store. Over the next year, I outgrew Etsy, launched my own website, grew my Instagram to over 9K followers, and grew my Facebook Group to more than 1.6K members. I’ve honed my craft to the point where I can now create, write, and launch my own crochet patterns and designs for other crocheters.
Casual Crocheting Business Rewards, Challenges, and Family Support
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being a business owner?
The most rewarding part is seeing how much people love the items I make. Many of my customers are repeat customers who have become my biggest fans. It always brings a smile to my face to see how much they love the things I make. On the flip side, the most challenging part is that I am a creative mind and soul, not a business-savvy person. I never took finance or management classes in college, never worked in retail, and always struggled with math. So the business side of crocheting has been a huge learning curve for me and a lot of work behind the scenes.
Do your husband, kids, and friends support your business?
Absolutely! My mom and sister are actually two of my best customers to this day. Family, friends, and word-of-mouth are what grew my business from the ground up, so I’m always extremely grateful for their support. My husband has always been a huge supporter.
While I have no business acumen, my husband earned his college degree in this field. His knowledge and advice have been extremely important and helpful. Our toddler also “tests” my products to see if the stuffed animals I have made are “sturdy” and can stand the test of time. While my items are not intended for young children or rough play, she helps me learn and fix any defects so that my crochet items are of the highest quality possible.
Casual Crocheting Business Inspiration
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I mostly draw inspiration from all the talented crocheters and pattern designers online. There are so many amazing creators out there, so I now have a huge online library of their crochet patterns. For my own crochet designs, I draw a lot of inspiration from items, cartoons, or stuffed animals around me. I then draw those designs on a piece of paper, pick up my crochet hook, and recreate that drawing with my yarn.
Which is your favorite animal or crocheted plushies you have made?
This is a tricky question! It changes daily with each item I make, but I love all the crochet turtles I have made (especially the jumbo ones). A few of my other favorites include my fluffy highland cow, dinosaurs, and a giant horse I made last year.
What is your best-selling plushie or product?
For some reason, cows always sell really well! Many of my customers are repeat customers that continually come back for more plushies, so the most popular item is usually whatever is “new” and exciting in my shop. I’ve never had a hard time selling cows, turtles, dinosaurs, cats, and dogs.
Do you mainly create and sell plushies, or do you sell other items as well?
I used to create all sorts of items, but they never really sold. Once I started making crochet stuffed animals, they sold so quickly! Sometimes, I would even sell out. So I pivoted my business and niched down to creating mostly plushies.
Where can people find you online or on social media?
I am on pretty much all major social media platforms, and I try to stay as active as I can! I have a Facebook Business Page and a VIP group (Crochet Ever After VIP). I’m also very active on Instagram and TikTok (@crochet.ever.after). You can also shop my website at CrochetEverAfterCo.com.
Casual Crocheting Style
What are your favorite places to shop?
Maurices, Old Navy, and Target
Who’s your favorite style icon?
I am not a big fashionista, so I don’t have one currently!
What’s your best style advice?
Wear what makes you happy and comfortable!
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without?
Which trend would you want to see make a comeback?
I’m loving that some of the trends from the ’80s and ’90s are making a comeback! I think it’s so colorful and fun!
What should NEVER make a comeback?
What fashion/style did you love at the time but now cringe when you see old photos?
Ugg boots with denim skirts and leggings.
Stilettos or flats?
Casual Crocheting Family
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family?
Playing games, shopping or getting nails done with my mom and sisters, traveling, and just spending quality time with each other.
What’s been your best family vacation?
We are big Disney fans, and we visit the parks often! It’s by far our favorite vacation spot, and we go at least twice a year.
Best parenting advice:
Every child is different, so it’s important to give yourself some grace.
What’s your go-to family dinner?
I’m a terrible cook! So my go-to family dinner is just chicken with Olive Garden Italian Dressing and seasoning drizzled on top and grilled in the oven.
What’s your favorite family restaurant?
We are big fans of Cracker Barrel! It’s one of our favorites for any meal of the day.
Casual Crocheting Life
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?
My husband and I love reality game shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race. I am also currently hooked on Manifest on Netflix!
What’s your favorite beach read?
I love The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.
What song would you dance to when nobody’s watching?
Anything from Taylor Swift’s 1989 or Reputation albums!
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list?
Tokyo, Japan or London, England, and the U.K.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day?
Crocheting, of course! It’s my all-time favorite thing to do when I want to relax.
Casual Crocheting Mom Life
We love how Natalie has a business around supporting her passion for crocheting and creating crocheting patterns for others to enjoy while raising an adorable daughter and keeping up with family life! Natalie inspires us to go after our passions, relax and enjoy all of the blessings life throws our way. We’re excited to see the next crocheted creations she’ll come up with!