• Kari Capone

12 Days of Sweaters: Day 1

One of my favorite things about owning a business is the relationships I build: with customers, with other designers, with models, with photographers. In the case of the Handpaint Cardi, this was a project born of a relationship with the yarn dyer herself.

To call Mindy a "vendor" is a gross understatement. There are some people who are so compelling, so lovely, that their goodness shines through in Facebook groups, in their emails, and in the very fiber (sorry) of their business.

Mindy is one of those people.

She started Henlia Handmade in August of 2019, after (what seemed to me) a couple of promised launch dates had come and gone. I reached out to her, even though we were only Facebook acquaintances, united in our love of fibery goodness. (Those of you who know me understand that I'm not shy about talking to strangers.)

I thought perhaps she had a case of perfectionism, or another strain of pre-launch jitters. I reminded her that "launching ugly" is a thing, and that even being a bit embarrassed about one's early launches is nearly inevitable.

Mindy shared with me that she was having childcare issues. She has two small (and adorable) children. Paying for a sitter to launch a business she'd already sunk money into was not easy in a one-income family.

"Why don't we arrange for a special order?" I asked. "I'll buy one of each of your products, and you can practice your shipping and packaging on me. Then you'll have a bit of money to pay the sitter." And that is just what we did.

Mindy and I have continued our online friendship throughout the past year. She's one of my business Besties. When the threat of COVID-19 lessens and travel restrictions loosen, I intend to fly to Oregon and meet her in person.

The Chanel-Inspired Handpaint Cardi features two weights (thicknesses) of Mindy's gorgeous, bouncy, hand-dyed yarn. Worsted weight, a medium thickness, forms the body of the cardigan, giving it an almost jacket-like structure. Fingering weight, a thinner yarn, forms the button bands and neckband.

It's an heirloom, if I may say so myself! Adding to the allure of the piece is that the yarn is grown and milled in Wyoming; dyed with plant-based dyes in Oregon; and hand-knit in Maplewood, NJ. Many loving hands worked together to create this sweater for you.

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