Evvia Gonzales is the crochet designer and full-time support worker behind Loupy Studio. She has been crafting unique pieces, all from the comfort of her sofa.
Having inundated her sister with pictures of the one-of-a-kind crochet pieces she had been creating during the UK’s 2021 lockdown, Evvia started an Instagram account to document what she was doing and Loupy Studio was born. Now, with a following of 36.7k followers at the time of writing, Evvia’s unparalleled pieces continue to gain attention.
We caught up with Evvia in February to talk all things crochet.
Why did you start your business?
It was really just a way to document what I was making and to justify the time I was spending crocheting too. It felt silly that I wasn’t sharing what I was making with anyone whatsoever, I was just inundating my sister with it. It was much more to justify my enthusiasm than to have an idea for a business.
I then started selling things from the obscenely large pile of crocheted items in my bedroom through Instagram stories and trying to manage things in my DMs, until I eventually realised I needed a website.
What is your biggest inspiration and influence in terms of your work?
I think it has changed an awful lot over the time that I’ve been making things. At the very beginning, it was very much the idea of learning how to crochet and learning how to work with different types of yarns. At that time, I was really inspired by a lot of other small crochet creators, because they were literally just teaching me what different fibres were and how to do interesting things and I was really enjoying bringing in my very slight fine art background with colour work and mixing things around.
I like that a lot of them are just single designers making things in their rooms (or their studios, because they’re much more professional than me). It is the same kind of vibe as me – just someone putting their ideas to life – which I think is really cool.
As the whole thing got a little bit bigger, I kind of tried to stop taking influence from other people as much because I was finding that there’s a bit of a dark spiral on Instagram, where if you see people’s work so much it is kind of hard not to adopt things. I was finding it really hard to be consuming media on Instagram and not be too inundated with other people’s original ideas. So now I’ve basically muted so many people because I don’t want to see other people’s cool original work, I just want to think about my own thing.
But I do think it is something that happens anyway because, with the whole handmaking thing, there are only so many things you can really do. That’s especially true when you’re not working with patterns or machines.
To conclude, I have been trying to avoid taking as much influence from other designers as possible – I’ve just been trying to get more in touch with the fibres and what I like to make.
How did you turn your hobby into a business?
So, this was a totally organic thing and I can’t say that I ever wanted to become a business. For the whole time that the account has been active, I have been working full-time, so it’s not something I really had the time for and it’s not something I’ve been trying to develop into a business actively. The demand for my items was just increasing and it just seemed so natural for me to just clear out my room. All my pieces are made on my couch in my bedroom and all of it is stored in my bedroom too. Knitwear and crochet are super chunky, so I can only store like a month and a half’s work at any given time, so I just have to get rid of things.
I think there’s also been some external pressure to have a professional brand image, because I haven’t been very internally motivated to do so. I just don’t have the time for it. But over the summer it got kind of ridiculous with stylists wanting my stuff and people demanding customs, so I just felt like I needed to have a website to direct people to.
So, it was a really slow but organic build-up and I’m super grateful and incredibly surprised by all the support I’ve received. It’s quite wild, basically.
How important is sustainability to you?
I will always try to get sustainable yarns or materials to work with. The only times I’ve worked with dubious yarns is when I buy recycled things from eBay because I honestly don’t think that they have been recycled. The majority of my stuff is vintage. Most of my mohair for example is super old European stuff from the ‘80s. It’s cool because since things have grown, I can now afford to buy the yarn I want totally sustainably, so now I can get stuff from local farms rather than just getting vintage on eBay. This is so nice because obviously, I’d rather be able to pay local producers. I don’t think I would ever consciously make a piece with material that I knew to be new.
I think this is one of the issues with people who follow patterns when they knit or crochet – they can’t use the really interesting, unique and natural yarns I can. I think what they do is really cool and it’s a way to create a piece that they know will fit or work, but it does mean you have to buy in bulk a specific type of yarn which is something you can only really get new and if you want to get it cheaply, it’ll be made of plastic. It kind of feels like fast fashion.
I get that for some people it’s a price point issue, but I think if they changed their mindset a little bit and they were happy to work with really random yarns from eBay or thrift stores, it is so cheap. I’ve got so many incredible fibres from local thrift shops for around cheap. I got the most incredible mohair I’ve ever worked with for £3. If you’re willing to put the time into it, you can definitely find sustainable materials and it’s cooler anyway and much more fun to work with natural fibres. Other creators are also always selling materials on their stories, so there are loads of ways.
Of course, knitting and crocheting are already much more sustainable than fast fashion by nature, so you almost don’t need to have the conversation as much but personally, I do prefer to get pre-existing materials.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge has probably been increasing my ability to become a bit more professional if that makes sense. I was initially selling things through DMs, which was absolute chaos. Shipping was also a nightmare and it would take me a whole day – which to be fair, it still does – to ship almost any orders that I ever get. I like to package everything nicely and handwrite all the labels, so it takes an ungodly amount of time. As I’ve been scaling up, it’s only been getting harder. For instance, I wanted to stay a bit more sustainable and not have fabric labels, but I’ve had to sack that attitude as things have grown. But then they take a good 15 mins per piece to sew in. The challenge has basically been keeping up with everything, because alongside my job I only have so many spare hours in a day to really commit to this. However, because people are paying me for my time and work, I know I need to be professional and acknowledge that.
Basically the biggest and most continuous challenge is running something by myself while I also have a full-time job. Being professional and finding time to fully commit is by far the hardest thing.
How did the pandemic impact your business?
I hadn’t really been crocheting much before apart from a bit in high school, but the pandemic gave me a bit more free time. The pandemic had impacted me in pretty radical ways before I started crocheting though because if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, I’d be doing a PhD in developmental biology right now. It’s been quite a ride. In 2020 I was stranded in Sydney for a full year and it ended up being nice but it did mean that I wasn’t able to start my PhD, so it totally changed my life path.
What has been your biggest success so far?
I think personally, it’s just been my increase in skill throughout the whole time I’ve been doing the crocheting. When I look back at my old stuff, there are some aspects I can’t believe I was able to make, but I’ve also been able to get way more into colourwork and express what I value in art through working with fibres, which has been really cool. Even if my garment assembly skills haven’t increased a ridiculous amount, I feel so much more comfortable with the craft now. This is something I will value for the rest of my life now, no matter what. It’s a very personal skill – the ability to make my own clothes and make what I want to wear and what other people seem to love as well. It’s so outside of a trend or a business or a brand – it’s a huge personal development.
All the social media success is really exciting and has been a big motivator, especially being able to see people loving things that I create, but I guess the more emotional things were the bigger successes.
Who would be your dream designer to collaborate with?
Honestly, at the moment, I don’t think that I have a collaboration idea that I think suits the brand. I’ve tried to do them in the past, but I think I’m just such a solo worker that it doesn’t come super naturally to me. There are so many designers that I respect and so many people doing incredible work, I just don’t know if I’m the person to collaborate with.
I just sit down and whatever happens happens and it changes constantly as I’m doing it too, so to plan a collaboration would probably be difficult.
Out of everything you’ve designed and created, do you have a favourite?
Honestly, it will always be the thing that I have made most recently unless it turns out to be an absolute failure, but luckily now I’m at the level where that doesn’t seem to happen very much. I pretty much just fall immediately in love with every single thing I make and that’s why it’s often so hard to sell things. I have to put them somewhere so that I can’t see them anymore and then within a month or two I’ll be able to sell them. However, sometimes I fail… I’m currently wearing a jumper I made recently because I’m so obsessed with it. There’s such a honeymoon period because whenever you’ve put that much effort into something that you can actually wear and it’s made of your dream materials, that’s obviously going to happen.
What’s the next step for you and Loupy Studio?
The whole knitwear thing is going quite well at the moment and I’m having a lot of fun learning this skill, so I’m gradually building up to my next drop at the moment. The thing with being a solo handmaker is that there isn’t a very exponential increase – you kind of reach your limits and just have to continue doing your drops and things like that. I think this will remain something I do alongside my full-time work because I find that super valuable, so I’d say I’m pretty much at my limit really.
I think it would be cool to take on some sort of personal assistant or something but I don’t really see how I would even have time to manage somebody else. I think I just have to keep on rolling at this level and I just have to hope that I am able to maintain the enthusiasm for it.
Basically, all I really want to do is learn new skills and get new fibres and it would be really cool to develop some partnerships with local farms and really reliably use super local materials because I have stopped trusting eBay as much. However, that is a huge financial commitment for me, so I’ll try to work on making local connections in the meantime and see what happens until I run out of enthusiasm for it, which is hopefully never.
What do you want do you want to not die wondering about?
I would probably say that you shouldn’t die wondering about whether you can learn a new skill or get really into a new hobby and you should force yourself to keep on improving and figuring out new things to do. I knew I was enthusiastic about this sort of thing but I never ever would have guessed that I would be able to commit this much time to it or have received the feedback that I have. This is all so beyond my expectations. I never would have imagined last year that I might be ding crochet and making money from it and having an account where people would be so obsessed with things that I make. It’s really bizarre. I just think it’s so cool to work on developing a new skill or a hobby for yourself.