I am excited to introduce to you Funke Akinlosotu, a Nigerian crotchetier who enjoys making handwoven crotchet pieces for babies and toddlers. She confirmed that she was divinely led into this line of business as she has genuine love for children. She is the author of “A handcrafter’s journey” a book that tells about her journey into the craft world.
With no further ado, let’s meet the Founder of Tender Hugs for an exclusive interview.
Please Introduce yourself and your background.
Oluwafunke Akinlosotu is a Christian, a simple easy-going, ambitious young lady, she’s a graduate of Metallurgical and materials engineering but has a passion for children, she’s the creative director at Tender Hugs Crochet where she makes handmade clothing for children. She is the author of “A handcrafter’s journey” a book that tells about her journey into the craft world.
Tell us about your work. How did your company start?
Tender Hugs Crochet Nigeria is a baby styling brand that makes crochet outfits specifically for newborns, infants and toddlers. We style children for their photoshoots, birthdays, naming ceremony etc. I started this craft out of my passion for children despite having being trained as a Metallurgical and Materials Engineer. I remember praying one particular day about the works of my hands and the word ‘crochet’ dropped in my spirit. Instantly, I grabbed my phone to research more, I began to read everything about it. I fell in love with the children wears and immediately I connected the dots- I knew God was leading me into making crochet children wears because of my passion for them and that’s how I started.
How did you come about the name and what does it mean?
Tender Hugs Crochet. I wanted something that relates with children, tender kept coming to my mind but it was difficult looking for another word to merge with it but I finally came up with hugs as it perfectly describes children.
What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?
Kids fashion. I knew it’s a good market because everyday children are born and would need to be styled for one occasion or the other.
Where do you get inspiration for your products?
There are free patterns online but most times I buy patterns. I am working on creating few patterns myself.
Can you remember one of the first products you made?
Yes it was for my cousin’s daughter, a cute baby shoe and headband, she used it for her baby dedication.
What are some of the challenges you face in your business?
Visibility and Awareness
Do you have any regrets about venturing into this business?
What is your most popular product?
To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian heritage for your work?
I would say to quite an extent in the sense that I consider the Nigerian weather when making cloths for children as we use yarns to make them so we ensure the yarns are lighter and comfortable except in cases otherwise stated.
What are some of your short term and long term goals, both in your business and life in general?
To be Nigeria’s first and foremost handmade Children styling brand. To see that every child irrespective of their background deserves all the love, care, protection and guidance needed to fulfill their purpose on earth.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m an introvert but I love to travel to visit new places, try new food. A little adventurous.
What profession would you be in if you weren’t in this industry?
A Medical doctor, a pediatrician to be precise.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?
Know your ‘WHY’ before starting, this will help you carve a niche.
Know who your customers are so you can target them.
Also be ready to put in the work.
To connect with Tender Hugs, you can follow and contact her via:
WhatsApp: +234 909 862 0864