Adegoke Awau, a student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan in Oyo state has been a crochet enthusiast for long. But due to her studies and other engagements, it was difficult to concentrate on something that means the world to her.
Until COVID-19 struck. From lockdown to other forms of restrictions, the world was in a limbo. But it marked a turning point for Awau.
The period gave the student ample time to explore her crocheting skills. With the aid of YouTube and support from her family, Awau started pulling the strings.
After the coronavirus pandemic, however, other engagements affected her focus again. But she was able to sustain her passion for crocheting in the long run.
Since then, she has not taken her foot off the gas. The student has continued to create value and inspired several amazing projects with with her skills. It has also fetched her money in return.
But she is not done yet — this is just the beginning for her.
In this interview with CRISPNG, the student reflects on her journey into the crocheting world, her challenges so far and future ambition.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Adegoke Awau, a student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan. I studied mass communication. I am a crochet enthusiast.
How did you come about your business?
I will say it is all about passion. It all started when I was in secondary school. At the time, my classmates often craft purses, bags, and caps from just wool and pin and I grew interested in it.
Then, it was knitting pins and wool, and anytime my pin gets lost, I will cry like a baby and beg to buy another one because it was a tiny pin that could easily be misplaced. I developed the skills with my elder sister named Suliyat Adegoke.
Later, I stopped engaging in the art because of my study, exams, and all. Fast forward to late 2019 when COVID-19 became an issue. In the months that followed, there was lockdown and it was difficult to carry on with daily tasks.
During this period, no school and nowhere to go. We were all restricted to the house. It was a tough period for us all and one thing I dislike is being idle. Then, I thought of what to do, so I bought my crochet hooks and a pack of wool from a sister named Aisha Moyosoreoluwa. Moyosoreoluwa is a mentor to me who often display her crochet works on WhatsApp.
At the time, I chatted her up and and indicated my desire to know more about crocheting and she told me what I needed to do. Due to lack of good materials, it was difficult to cope. I only knew how to use the knitting pin and baby wool. I started practising but it wasn’t giving me good outcome.
When I registered my displeasure to Moyosoreoluwa, she said the wool I was using is acrylic and suggested that I go for an acrylic free wool.
So, I used my pocket money to buy a set of hooks that cost N7,200 and a pack of yarn for N4,800. It was a tough decision because I have to use my money but I got the courage and went for what makes me happy.
After getting my tools, I started crafting nice projects such as crop tops, bags, headbands, beanie hats, socks, bikinis, and small purses with the aid of YouTube.
Then I started cashing out from my sisters. Laughs. But during this period, I didn’t know I had a passion for crochet. All I knew was that I love the art of crocheting.
After the end of the pandemic, I resumed school and abandoned crocheting again due to academic demands. It was a two-year course but turned into three and a half years due to the pandemic.
The journey started again when Hamzat Ameena, a good friend of mine, asked me “How about your crocheting stuff?”. That question challenged me. Ameena then showed me an eye-catching crochet bag I should have started with but I didn’t have the money required to purchase wool. I also wrote a proposal to schools to take pupils on the art of crocheting but it came with a low turnout.
Later, I borrowed money from my second sister, Naheemah Adegoke. She gave me N10,000 to buy a new pack of wool to start the journey into crocheting again.
With that, I ventured into making adorable easy-to-carry crochet bags, rug/ foot-mat, wall hanging decor, and beanie hats. I have made about 15 bags since then and sold all of them. That was how I rediscovered my passion for crocheting.
What’s your business all about and what value do you intend to give to people?
Crocheting is all about crafting the extraordinary from ordinary. There are lots of values that can be derived from it. Crocheting is an intrinsic skill that has been in existence ever since the creation of mankind. And it has been helping a lot in designing and making clothes and also serves as an additional skill for everyone who finds passion in the art.
It is an interesting skill that many have made a flourishing career from. It also gives people a clear mind and helps them mentally. Basically, I want to engage young minds and empower them by facilitating sessions on crocheting.
What challenges have you experienced so far?
My major challenges have been insufficient finance, getting enough time, necessary tools and advertising my products.
To what extent have you been able to overcome some of the challenges?
I have not really overcome the challenges facing my business but I am trying to find a way around it.
What do you have to tell other youths like you, especially considering the unemployment situation in the country
My advice to the youth out there is to follow their mind and look out for what they are passionate about. They can develop their passion with the aid of YouTube. For me then, I didn’t know I have a passion for crochet. But what kept me was that I never gave up on myself. Then, if I was asked what I love doing? I couldn’t find an answer to it but now if you ask me a million times, I will definitely give a straight answer.
Where do you see your business in the next five years?
In the next five years, I want to become a master of crocheting and become very successful. I also want to own a store for all types of yarn — both foreign and local.
I also dream of having a home well designed with the aesthetic of crochet such as Macam designs, crochet rugs, and so on. Crocheting is life and it is a craft worth learning.
Below are samples of her works:
Awau’s story is a truism of the age-long saying: great things start small.
Her story also show youths in the country can look inward and make a living from their inherent skills in the wake of the growing unemployment rate in the country.