Junior turns hobby into profit


Photo Courtesy of Luke Kuczynski

Kayla Ruiz has started her own business knitting homemade winter accessories.

By Elise Guillen, Contributing Writer

Kayla Ruiz has transformed her knitting hobby into a full-fledged business. Ruiz, junior in LAS, capitalized on her leisure past time by selling the hats she knits. 

In early fall, she started Kayla’s Knittings. Her main source of inspiration for starting this business is credited to the Danish trend, Hygge. Hygge is associated with the feeling of coziness and how comfort makes one feel content.

Ruiz began to notice more knitted items on her Instagram feed. She thought if she found knitted apparel appealing and trendy, others might too. She also rationalized hats are not only popular but necessary, especially during the cold Midwestern winters.  

People can buy one of Ruiz’s hats by contacting her through her Facebook or Instagram. From there, she messages and communicates with her customers, showing them her portfolio and figuring out how to customize the hat. Customers can also peruse her Instagram photos for inspiration.

Throughout her process, she remains in contact with her customer so they stay updated and ensures that they are happy with the product. Each hat takes her about two hours to make. She knits them whenever she is able to.

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“I’m always carrying whatever project I’m working on at that time with me,” Ruiz said.

Once the hat is finished, Ruiz and the customer will meet to exchange the hat for the previously agreed-upon price. Based on what order the customer makes, the price of the hats vary from $15 to $17.

“Any cold weather accessory, I’ve made myself,” Ruiz said, while wearing a knitted hat and scarf.

Ruiz may have just recently started profiting off her creations, but she has been knitting since she was 12 years old. Ruiz taught herself to knit through her elementary school, where they would donate knitting projects to homeless shelters.

Although she began knitting in order to help others, Ruiz admits that it helps her as well.

Being a chemistry major with a food science minor, Ruiz explains that she likes working with her hands, which is why knitting is something she connects with on a deeper level.

“It helps me whenever I feel really anxious,” Ruiz said. “It keeps my hands busy and allows my brain to concentrate.”

Ruiz often finds herself knitting when she is studying, because it causes her mind to calm down and focus whenever she may feel overwhelmed.

Ruiz said she considers the time she puts into her projects to be a “productive distraction.” Ruiz isn’t putting off her other obligations by creating accessories; instead, it’s helping her complete them. Knitting has become a form of stress relief for her, as well as a creative outlet.

One of the perks of Ruiz’s business is that it has become a side hustle for her, allowing for her to have more money to spend on materials, herself and for extra luxuries like Christmas presents.

However, Ruiz grapples with how to advertise her business, fearful of coming across as annoying or pushy to her peers online. But, people who are close to her believe in her business.

Ruiz’s boyfriend, Luke Kuczynski, junior in Business, is one of those people.

“She has started a very cool business and I’m proud of her and impressed by what she has been able to do so far,” Kuczynski said. “I’ve gotten a hat from her and it was very warm, insulated and stylish.”

Ruiz’s sister, Nicole, is another person in her life who gets to witness the hard work that is put into each knitted item.

“I see her knitting all the time whenever she’s home. I think her business is a great idea,” her sister said, noting that knitting is a big part of Ruiz’s life, which has become even more relevant because of her business.

Nicole — who is not a fan of hats — loves the scarf her sister knitted for her.

“It’s beautiful and I wear it all the time,” Nicole said. “It’s so nice that someone tried to steal it from me once! Now I make sure it’s on me all the time.”

All of Ruiz’s knitwear is handmade and created to suit the customer. So far, Kayla’s Knittings has sold about 30 hats.

“I think you’re getting a good deal with me, it’s pretty rare to get something that’s so customizable at the price I offer,” Ruiz said.

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