We had the good fortune of connecting with Alicia Lopez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alicia, why did you pursue a creative career?
From a young age I knew I wanted to do something creative. At the time, I wanted to be an author and sell a bunch of books and have movies made from them. And honestly, a part of me still wants that. But as we grow up, we eventually detach from our childhood wonder, wipe the innocence from our eyes, and start to believe what the adults are telling us. Things like, “Being an artist isn’t a REAL career, what’s your plan B?” or “How are you going to make enough to survive on an idea like that?” or my personal favorite, “Your hobby isn’t a viable business idea.” And hey, I get it. The adults in our lives want to see us succeed and do well in life, but I also think a lot of this dialogue is based on fear and sometimes jealousy of not being able to do it themselves. I still have a full time corporate job so I’m not exactly living the self-employed artist dream (yet), but that doesn’t mean it’s still not possible or that I’m not on my way. I have so many exciting things coming up (including rebranding), and I’m hopeful that these things will get me closer to the goal of being fully self-employed and doing something I love.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The world of crochet and fiber arts is so much bigger than you would imagine. This isn’t just your grandma’s craft! When I first started my instagram, I was coming off of making NICU hats that I learned to make from youtube videos. I was surprised, inspired, and excited about all the items I was seeing others make, but as a beginner I wondered if I could even make the things I was loving because they were so intricate and beautiful. Let me say something here though – NEVER underestimate what you can do! I didn’t necessarily hold myself back, but I did go into things with a lot of apprehension. However, time and time again I surpassed my own expectations and was left with a finished item that was incredible. I couldn’t believe my own hands had made something so beautiful with just some yarn and a hook (and loads of time, of course).
Was any of this easy? Generally speaking, no. One of my first challenges was becoming a pattern tester. In short, pattern testers apply to test a pattern a designer has written up before it’s released. They’re checking for errors, adding notes for clarification, and overall making sure the design is cohesive and matches measurements. The problem was, I hadn’t tested any patterns for anyone yet and didn’t have very many followers or posts. I ended up getting lucky and got my first testing gig by raising my hand when a designer was trying to get those last sizes she needed filled. She took a chance on me and after that, I dove headfirst into pattern testing.
I learned so much from testing patterns, and after a while I started to think, “What can I make and contribute to the community?” I started brainstorming, and about two years later I created two patterns, put them through testing, and listed them for sale. It was so empowering. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a major surge in creativity, and now have 5 more patterns in the works.
One of my biggest lessons has been to be authentically ME. The quote, “Your vibe attracts your tribe,” has played a large role in my thought process when it came to how I’ve built my brand and online presence. I’m not sure who said it originally, but I heard this for the first time on the BHooked Podcast when Ashley of MontanaCrochet was on it and it’s resonated with me ever since. If I were to be emulating someone else, I would either attract a following that didn’t fit me as a person, or I would repel followers because what I’m doing would seem so rehearsed and inauthentic. Both of which aren’t ideal, so I vow to be myself and no one else!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Favorite breweries and drink spots: Machete, Dry Dock Brewing & a tour, Burly Brewing and food trucks, Odell Brewing, & New Belgium Brewing, Elliot’s Martini Bar
Favorite places/sightseeing: Cheyenne mountain zoo, Estes Park shops and hiking (tons of wildlife in fall, too), Fort Collins old town & breweries, Denver museum of nature & science, Denver Art Museum, Boulder Celestial Tea factory, Boulder Pearl Street
Best places to eat: Crave, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, Joy Sushi, Glacier Ice cream & Gelato, Z’abbracci pizza & taphouse, Crawfish Boil Co
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many to thank. I guess I’ll start first with the crochet and knitting communities – really, the whole fiber community as a whole – for inspiring me, sometimes teaching me, and allowing me to grow in the space. There have been words of encouragement, support, and love from so many and I’m so grateful for each and every one of them. I’d also like to thank my family and boyfriend for encouraging me to share what I’ve made with the world and taking such an interest in finding out more about what I do, community I’m in, and supporting me the whole way through.
Other: Linktree: https://linktr.ee/bluesprucehandmade