I first met Christine from Treasure Goddess Yarn through the Craft Industry Alliance, a professional trade organization we both belong to. We were assigned to the same 3-month Mastermind Team focused on improving our marketing strategies.
That was over two years ago. We still chat regularly. I've designed two patterns featuring Treasure Goddess Yarn. I've even attended one of Christine's delightful yarn parties at her dye studio near Kansas City.
Now, I'm happy to share a brief interview with Christine, the Treasure Goddess herself, so you can get to know more about her business and her luxurious Treasure Goddess Yarn.
Ellen: I'm always curious about how other business owners come up with their brand name and logos. Tell me about your brand name and why you have a pirate sheep as a logo.
Christine: Well, the short answer is because I’m a Yarn Pirate and a Goddess of the most luxurious Yarnie Treasures! I’ve always loved the romantic fictional version of pirates in movies. I think of myself as sailing the seven seas (or the internet and local fiber mills) to find the finest yarns to share with my Yarn Pirate friends! The Pirate Sheep just makes me happy and I put it on anything that doesn’t move! Project bags, t-shirts, stickers, magnets, enamel pins and more! YARRRRRNNNNN!
The long answer is about 24 years ago I found myself a single mother of two, including a baby with Cystic Fibrosis, a serious genetic lung & digestion disease and no college degree. I moved into my parent’s basement, found a part time job and went to night school to finish my schooling. I’d quit to work full time to put my former husband through school (bad, bad idea!).
As part of my final graduation project, I had to create a fictional business with a real website. At the time, part of our family adventure was treasure hunting. I’d load up the kids and we’d go to garage sales, auctions and estate sales every weekend. I’d buy kids’ clothes and toys, clean & fix them up. My kids would use them, then I’d sell them for more than I’d originally paid. My website was www.TreasureGoddess.com and I called myself the Goddess of Trash to Treasure.
I kept that domain through the years while I worked regular jobs and knitted and crocheted along. About 12 years ago when I found I had a talent for dyeing yarn, I suddenly became the Treasure Goddess, Yarn Pirate! That website looks a lot different now!
Ellen: So many craft-related businesses begin as passion projects but are never able to grow past the side-hustle stage. What makes your yarn special and how did you transform your hobby into a thriving business?
Christine: I hand dye saturated jewel tone colors on luxury yarn bases that take your breath away. As an unapologetic yarn snob, I loved working with hand dyed yarn, but so often the skeins of yarn I fell in love with knit into projects that I just didn’t love. I began dyeing and worked with my dye techniques until I was able to create yarn that looks as amazing all knit up, crocheted up and woven up as it does in the skein.
Treasure Goddess Yarn has color names with ocean, pirate and mermaid themes. We have 20+ mostly repeatable colorways and I’m now a “production dyer” which means that I try to have multiple sweater quantities of most colors in stock. Some of our best selling colorways are Lusty Wench (rich orange), Ghost Ship (lovely gray) and Mermaid’s Curse (teal). We have fingering weight sock yarn, dk weight and worsted weight yarn and yarn fibers range from merino wool, silk, alpaca, cashmere and even yak. Yak fiber is as soft as cashmere, adds warmth and because the base yarn starts with a rich gray/taupe color, the dyed colors are absolutely stunning with real depth.
Ellen: I've used your Mermaid's Curse, and two things really impressed me. It was the first time I've ever used an indie-dyed teal or turquoise yarn that didn't turn my hands blue or bleed during blocking. That speaks a lot to your meticulous process.
I also noticed something else you pay special attention to the first time I caked one of your skeins.
Christine: One special treat I provide for my customers is that Treasure Goddess Yarn is re-skeined before selling. That means winding your yarn is a much easier process! I’ve already dealt with any snags, twists and confusion. Because I use cream cotton yarn as the figure 8 ties, it’s easy to tell which yarns to snip and which strand to start winding into a ball.
Ellen: Now, I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of your studio.
Christine: Yeah, Mr. Treasure Goddess and I moved to the country just outside Kansas City and live on 10 acres where we each have our own barn! His is full of tractors, tools and ducks. Mine is full of YARN and is an amazing dye studio where I host big Yarn Parties twice a year.
Ellen: And then there's the ducks that parade around outside! They're huge and so social.
Christine: Muscovy Ducks are primarily raised as meat ducks with big heavy bodies, and can fly but are very awkward and prefer to waddle along for most of the day. The eggs they lay are super rich and about twice the size of chicken eggs. These ducks are the most social things I’ve ever met too, our ducks are mostly pets! They love nothing better than following Mr. Treasure Goddess and myself around our land. Even though we have a pond and there’s a kiddie pool full of water in the duck & chicken pen, two of our mama ducks decided their favorite spot to sip and bathe is in a little tub outside of my studio barn. In the winter I fill it with warm water and they use it as a hot tub!
Ellen: Before I met you and the ducks in-person, I was inspired by a photo you posted on Instagram.
Christine: It was a picture of cute little duck prints that had waddled along in the snow. You translated that into a gorgeous shawl with little duck foot prints waddling up the edge!
Duck Pond Shawl
Ellen: And now we have a matching sock pattern, too!
Duck Pond Socks
There's more to explore in the Learning Library!