Makerviews exists to share the stories of and advice from a variety of talented makers, designers, and artists.
Miniviews series - No. 71 with Chereen Leong Schwarz
You’ve landed on the seventy-first installment of the Maker Miniviews (mini, two question interviews) series. Learn more about these maker interviews and view a list of all Miniviews.
Chereen Leong Schwarz is an outdoorswoman, wife, chef, and chief-everything-officer of Smeeny Beanie Knits. This maker integrates the outdoors and nature into both her full-time work with her handmade knitting business, as well as in her farm-to-table private chef business, Wilderbean Provisions. Colorado’s mountains and rivers shine through in products Chereen makes and sells like handmade beanies and slouchies, stickers, and patterns for other knitters.
Check out this interview with Chereen Leong Schwarz!
I'm a Maker Because...
Chereen Leong Schwarz interview
What inspires you to keep making things?
"Creating something with your hands is one of the greatest joys you can have! It's amazing seeing something morph and change in front of your eyes to become something new. Sharing that love with customers and seeing them love and wear your items or seeing another maker create a product using a pattern I've created is incredible!"
What one piece of advice would you give to other makers?
"Be authentically and unapologetically you! As a maker, you want your customers to know that there's a living, breathing human behind what they're buying. What's your story? Why do you do what you do? Weaving your personality into your work, your marketing, and your copy is another way to connect more deeply with your audience. It's what sets you apart and makes your brand and products unique within your niche.
These connections are also how you find and build a community around your brand. The friendships I've made within the maker community are one of the things I treasure most about having my business!"
"Be authentically and unapologetically you..." — Chereen Leong Schwarz
Chereen shared a bit more about the logistics of her ethical, sustainable, handmade knits business:
Every beanie is handmade by me and all of my designs are created with the outdoors in mind. I use high quality, eco-friendly, sustainably sourced wools and only source from companies that ensure an ethical supply chain. Items that I don’t make, like my cork tags and faux fur pom poms, are sourced from other small women-run handmade businesses. I’m inspired by outdoor adventures and want my pieces to be both stylish and functional. I wear my beanies camping, hiking, backcountry skiing, and everywhere in between. I only use recycled and recyclable packaging and currently donate a portion of all sales to the National Park Foundation and the Intersectional Environmentalist.
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"Creating something with your hands is one of the greatest joys you can have..." - Chereen Leong Schwarz