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Where have you been if you haven't heard of the myboshi phenomenon! Julie Bonnar, editor of Craft Focus caught up with Thomas Jaenisch and Felix Rohland at Craft, Hobby + Stitch earlier this year to find out more.
Q. How did it all come about?
"The idea came about in 2009 while we were students on an exchange programme between Germany and Japan, teaching children to ski. We were living in a secluded lodge, and there was very little to do. One of our colleague's who was Spanish suggested that she would demystify the art of crocheting. We thought it might be fun."
At first, it wasn't an easy feat for Thomas and Felix to learn and it took two evenings solidly crocheting to produce one single beanie but had been bitten by the crochet bug! For the skiing season, it kept them busy and by the time the exchange was over, they had perfected the half treble stitch technique. Tourists admired their creations and showed a real interest in what they were doing. These hats looked great but were also comfortable, and would keep you head really warm while skiing and they were quite a fashion statement too.
Q. How did you decide it could be a business venture?
Felix commented, "We did it for fun as a hobby and something to do to past the time away and it did consider occur to us that it could be anything more until we met two Australians on their travels who wanted to buy the ones that we'd made."
Thomas told us, "We found this really flattering but we didn't make any money and sold them at a loss. It wasn't until that evening during a sake-fuelled Karaoke session that we began to think that this really could be quite a good business idea!. We named it 'myboshi' which means my hat in Japanese. When we got back to Germany, they set up a website and sold their beanies firstly to family and friends. By the end of the following year, this hand-crocheted headgear had really taken off! We started to employ people to make them (who we called our team of crochet grannies - they were the best!), demand grew for lots of different styles, and of course because they are handmade, everyone is unique to the wearer."
Q. How did myboshi turn from readymade beanies into the crafting phenomenon that it is today?
"The myboshi community just kept growing and turned out to be something much greater than we ever expected with the help of the media. We started to share my boshi in newspapers, and were asked to go on to TV shows. What started out as selling readymade myboshi beanies turned into writing a book on how to make these caps."
Now the myboshi range from DMC Creative includes patterns, the perfect yarn made from 30% merino wool and 70% acrylic wool which is available in a huge 36 selection of bright colours, and crochet hooks. With three books under their belt, the first book translated into English and second to be released in September this year - there's no stopping them.
I asked them why they thought it had been so successful. They told me, it was down to the easy-to-make patterns that could be made in less than 3 hours and the comprehensive step-by-step instructions that anyone could learn from. Also the special branded label makes each beanie stylish and makes you feel part of a wider community!
We wish them every success and look forward to seeing what's in the pipeline in the future.
DMC Creative www.dmccreative.co.uk