Off The Hook by Jen

Special thanks to Jen from Off The Hook by Jen for answering a few questions for CCM. This mother of two manages to run an Etsy shop, work, and raise her children. Jen really knows how to “do it all”, read what she has to say.

So Jen, tell the readers of CCM a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jen and I live in Bolingbrook, IL, with my husband, Sean, of 11 years, daughter Madison (6), son Colin (3), and two crazy cats, Sparky and Syd.  I am a certified occupational therapy assistant and work part time at two different hospitals.
I learned how to crochet when I was in 3rd grade, but didn’t really get into it until recently.  When I got married my mom gave me a large supply of nylon pot scrubbers made by a lady at her church.  A few years ago, I was running low. I needed more, but unfortunately, the lady had passed away. So I bought some crochet hooks and armed with You Tube and my very last pot scrubber as a model, relearned how to do some basic stitches, and came up with a new design I liked.

I’ve had so much fun making them for gifts that I wanted to try my hand at selling them. I’ve loved experimenting with different stitches and patterns and look forward to adding more to my shop as I learn more.

Who or what inspires you to create?
I get my craftiness from my mother.  She is amazingly talented in all that she does, and has always encouraged me to take and idea and run with it. 
Everyone wants to know, how do you juggle life as a SAHM and running your own business?
I am very fortunate in that both our kids go to bed very early at night.  So I spend most evenings crocheting while watching TV with my husband.  Yarn and hooks are very portable, and I try to bring some with me wherever I go, so if I find myself stuck waiting for something, whether it be picking my daughter up from school, or waiting at a doctor’s office, I can pull it out and work on a project for a while to pass the time.
I didn’t open up my shop in hopes of getting rich quick.  It’s just a way to support my habit, so I can put in however much time I am able to at any given moment.  If it ever gets to the point where I am feeling stressed about it, I can just back off and relax for a while.

Tell us about your shop & some of your favorite items from it.
My shop is Off The Hook by Jen.  I opened in December 2010. It started with nylon pot scrubbers.  I also sell Swiffer Wet Jet covers, which I know are out there all over the place.  What makes mine unique is that I add a few rows of the nylon netting that I use for the pot scrubbers, which really helps get stuck on food off the floor with little effort.  And the best thing is they are washable, so you don’t have to keep buying the expensive ones that just get thrown in the garbage.   I am a big coffee drinker, so I added coffee cup sleeves to the mix.  I have quite a few different designs of those, depending on the yarn I use.  I’ve loved all the comments I’ve gotten while out and about drinking coffee with one of my sleeves on the cup!   I recently had a customer ask me if I could make her some face scrubbers, and those have really taken off in the last few months.  I also sell wash cloths, and small purses for children.  I’m working on several other designs and hope to get those added to the shop in the next few months as I perfect them.
Check out a few of her designs! Click on the photos to link to her shop.

Any advice to other moms out there considering opening their own Etsy shop or small business?
Just do it!  I have had so much fun with this whole process, and I have learned so much.  As I said before, I am not in it to make tons of money.  I just want to be able to pay for my supplies so I can keep crocheting.  The great thing about Etsy is it can be as big or as little as you want it to be.  If you want to go all out, there are so many opportunities out there for you to get your name around.  When I am active with these activities, I definitely see a spike in sales.  However, if I have too many other things going on in my real life, I can slow down and take a break from actively promoting.
It is important to get involved with different teams on Etsy so you can get to know other shop owners, and they can get to know you.  If I’m looking for something in particular, I will definitely try to shop from a team member than go to a random seller, and I have heard other people say the same thing.  There are teams out there for everything, whether it is a common goal on Etsy, geographical location, hobbies, etc.  Join a whole bunch and start making new friends!
Thanks so much for the interview! Find out what’s going on in her shop by clicking any of the links below. 

Twitter: @OffTheHookbyJen


  1. 1
    PeaceBabyBatiks says:

    I love Jen's pot scrubbers! They are wonderful on my cast iron — even the other night when I had to clean off cooked-on egg!

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