Ja, Wol's story is not a short one. It starts with mine.
My name is Saskia, meaning as much as ‘short stone sword’. … just saying.
I’m entrepreneur, mom of 2 teens (I hear your emphatic sigh fellow parents, thanks!), partner to another entrepreneur. Daughter and granddaughter of even more … you guessed it… entrepreneurs! My DNA code probably has the letters D.I.Y. in it. My family worked with wood, grains and stone. I went with wool. Oh my god, I just realized…. we’re a Catan board game!
I am most definitely the black sheep of my posh family. A creative, emotional, odd-humored, full figured (but you can call me fat), beautiful girl that didn’t care about etiquette and rules.
I am forever curious and pigheaded. A bon vivant that thrives when I can use my creativity to solve a problem. I am always struggling to find balance in enjoying the things life has to offer and staying focused. I found out later in life that I am what can be called ‘neuro-divergent’, non typical, gifted, and it explained a lot about how I communicate, how I learn and how I perceive te world. After a lot of struggle and finally finding the right coach/therapist that gets me, I am now using my specific talents to connect people to each other and make the world a little better.
At 16 I escaped small town life because I deeply felt I was ment to experience bigger things. I went to art-school to become a fashion designer but decided I was going to be a photographer instead. Got kicked out of school for being too pigheaded (told you…) and tried my luck again at a second art academy. Then decided I wasn’t much of an artist, I was too practical. I can see you face palming! I know right...?!
For a while I was a bit lost and sold jeans to people with too much ego. I ended up running the shop but it wasn’t my thing, they weren’t my people.
Still feeling the pain of being different, judged and not good enough for my family, at age 21 I decided to break the chains with my toxic past and find my chosen family. It was the hardest and most freeing thing I have done in my life. I feel sadness but have no regrets to this day.
After another education I became a marketer/communication manager for (pop/rock) music events and venues. I started a music website and a DJ collective consisting of 8 talented women on the side. We were DJ’s, fashion designers, video makers and graphic designers and we kicked so much butt! Understandably 8 bursting vessels of estrogen didn’t last that long. It was fun while it lasted.
A cool rocker-turned-businessman came along, I kept him and we made babies.
Then I was ejected from my job because I was pregnant. Landed frustrated but focused on my newborn. (I didn't land on my newborn! Read that sentence again.) I gave my boss the stink eye and before my maternity leave was over I had started my own business as a knitting professional.
I had picked up knitting again because I missed making things with my head and hands. In knitting I found a practice that keeps mee grounded, sane and served as a bridge to mindfulness, meditation and living a more intentional life. A small part of my life where I started to take full control of the buying, making and wearing proces. The knitting community has taught me countless life lessons and from day one I’ve been eager to share my experience with others.
I started teaching people what knitting had brought me; calm, focus and literal warmth in a time when I needed it most. I wanted other people to experience what the touch of wool and making things can do for your well-being and mental health.
Alongside teaching I started designing and after opening a studio I eventually turned my design studio into a yarn shop and needle craft school. In 10 years I grew my business and established my name in the international wool and needle craft industry.
I have always loved to connect people and their talents. As I am someone that easily masters things but loves so many things that I rarely take a really deep dive, I love finding people that do and elevate them by connecting them to others.
As I am very sensitive I quickly sense how a person is feeling. When I owned my yarn shop this was my biggest talent and my downfall. I wore myself out but I’m forever proud and grateful that I have connected people to each other, taking away some of their loneliness and awkwardness around others as I could serve as a translator and connector using the language of needle craft. I have taught hundreds of people to knit. They were burned out and overwhelmed, tense and tired. I helped more and more people transform their lives with the power of wool and warm words.
In my journey I have taken on the role of curator and found skilled people to make tools and accessories for my shop. I have transformed my shop collection to a conscious range of products that are produced with respect for humans, animals and environment. I am cool that way. ;)
My strong sense of equality, fairness and fearlessness to speak my mind has sometimes given me challenges in my life but I’ve also been able to use my sensitivities to speak up for others and I’ve not shied away from taking a stance in my business when it might not have been the best business decision.
Seeing how even in the world of crafting fast fashion vibes are taking over with knitters focusing on what the coolest brand is and what the newest designs and hippest tools & accessories to have are. Not to mention the matching FOMO, insecurities, peer pressure and overwhelm.
I increasingly got more and more vocal about my opinions about this unbalance in a community that can potentially do so much to be a counterweight to fast fashion.
As a female entrepreneur I am an advocate for fair pay for other business owners. I started to open op the conversation with other entrepreneurs in my industry, offering them questions and ideas to ponder, waking them up to a more intentional and more conscious way of running their businesses so that they could sustain their businesses and their (mental) health by asking for the actual prices things cost and spreading that knowledge to their respective customers.
Change happens trough community in each link of the chain.
There are so many ways to appreciate our craft in a fun and fashionable manner while still sticking to some basic principles of good consumerism.
Over time I have become an advocate for this good consumerism and am weaving that into my practices as a knitter, teacher and community builder.
My path has lead me to use my podcast to spread my message and open up a community of likeminded knitters that want to learn with and from each other to make positive changes in their lives and in the industry. Funneling from overwhelm to focus and turning their stash into an actual beloved wardrobe.
I have come so far and am immensely proud of myself. From black sheep to Shepherd, I now live a happy, full and balanced life with my chosen friends and own family. Embracing my character, awkwardness and talents, turning all the knowledge I’ve gathered into healing and helping other knitters, entrepreneurs and tree huggers to find their balance in intentionality and consciousness.
My motto: Buy Less, Buy Better, Make More, Make friends, Make it Last.
The Ja, Wol Community has a lot of fun while addressing important topics in the knitting realm; connecting and growing through conscious crafting.