Interview with Anissa Noakes, owner of Stray Sheep Co. and producer of beautiful handmade accessories.
Anissa started crocheting about 15 years ago while living in British Columbia. As she travelled the world residing in Central America, Mongolia, China & Europe, she gathered yarn from all over to create cozy scarves and beanies. As a keen outdoor enthusiast, she understands the market for accessories that are both functional and fun and gains much of her inspiration from the colours in nature. Anissa moved back to her hometown, Windsor in 2010 and started Stray Sheep Co. to help fund a degree in Business. The company has helped put her new education into action, and she is already selling products internationally. She enjoys the marketing aspect of the business and meeting new people at various art/ craft shows and is currently busy creating for the new season before the arrival of her first baby.
How long have you been doing crochet?
I started crocheting about 15 years ago. I needed money to pay for my ski pass, so I would make about 100 beanies to sell at the Xmas market each year. I would sell about 80% of them to other ski friends.
What made you decide to start the business?
I moved home to care for my father and needed a way to make some money and be my own boss. I started a business degree at the same time and figured it would be a great way to pay for it, as well as apply all that knowledge.
Where do you source your materials?
I found a fantastic source out of Turkey. The farm makes hand dyed and spun yarn from merino wool & alpaca. The variations of colours make it unique and super soft. I also source locally where I live in Windsor, Ontario Canada.
What inspires your designs and colours?
I love earth tones and nature. So I guess the variations come from the places I have been in the world, and my current surroundings.
What’s the best way for people to find out what craft fairs you’ll be attending?
I am really active on Facebook. It’s the best way to view some items available and check out the shows I am doing. I am also just about to link up a store for people to shop from, so stay tuned.
What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
Well, to sell more and more worldwide. I love the marketing aspect to my business. Louie, the Stray Sheep is my motivation. Louie came to me at my very first craft show. A little girl tried on my hats, and her dad bought her one, but she left Louie at my table. After searching and posting online, I couldn’t find her. So when it came to creating a name for my company, Louie was it. He is my Stray Sheep. I figured it was meant to be. My products are made from wool, and he and I have a lot in common. I am a little bit of a stray myself, and we love to roam the world for fun. I think we are kindred spirits and meant to find each other. So we have gone to China, Nova Scotia, BC, Tanzania together……and many more adventures in the future.
Have you made anything yet for the new baby?
Well, not yet. When I make something, it’s hard to hold on to it as I have so many shows this summer. But I will have time at some point before it gets too cold. I am gathering ideas for my baby. But I do know he/she will be stylish!
What’s the best way for people to browse your products and order online?
Facebook is the best way at the moment. As I mentioned, I will be linking up my Etsy store to my Facebook for purchasing. But messaging me through Facebook is always great!
Check out Anissas’ creations on her Facebook page Stray Sheep Co