In our most recent homesteading blog post article, we get to chat with Marie and Heather from Ben&Junie Handmade based in Abbotsford, they make one-of-a-kind small-batch and hand-made crochet animals and other goodies. Check them out at local farmers’ markets and connect with them at the bottom of this blog post.
Who are you, where are you located, and what aspects of running your home business do you enjoy?
We are Heather and Marie, friends who first met when we had our children, Ben and June. Both of us were born and raised in Abbotsford, and we attend the same church. We appreciate the flexibility our business, Ben & Junie, provides us, allowing us to work from home while caring for our children. We also cherish it as a creative outlet and a means of personal expression.
How did your business begin, and what advice do you have for others interested in starting their own companies?
Our company started out as a hobby. We discovered an entire world of crochet on Instagram, which was brimming with adorable patterns that we adored. Marie’s mother-in-law taught her to crochet, and she, in turn, taught Heather. Using YouTube, we expanded our skill set and learned all the necessary stitches and crochet terminologies. We initially intended to make items for our own children and gifts for friends, but after frequent requests to purchase our products, our business took off organically.
For those eager to start their own venture, we recommend finding something you love and utilizing social media for marketing. Develop a pleasing aesthetic with consistently edited photos to attract potential customers. This strategy has greatly contributed to our own business success.
What products do you offer and where can they be purchased?
Our range includes various crocheted items, with a primary focus on animal snugglers. We’ve also begun to expand into other baby and kid items like rattles, pillows, toddler purses, etc. Currently, we’re preparing for our next market at Yarrow Night Market on August 11th, where you can purchase or order any of our products. Post-market, we will either open orders on our Instagram or announce the next market. Future plans include selling through Etsy or our own website.
How do your products differentiate from other toys on the market?
Our items are unique, heirloom-quality gifts that are perfectly adorable for children of all ages. They make excellent presents for baby showers or birthdays and stand out from the standard items found in large retail stores. Crochet is exclusively handmade and cannot be mass-produced in factories.
What materials do you use to make your products?
We craft our products from 100% acrylic blanket yarn and fill them with poly stuffing.
Who are some of the people, businesses, or designers that inspire you to innovate and try new things?
Miranda from @knot.your.grannys.stitches, a local mom who also runs a crochet business, was one of our initial inspirations to learn crochet. @thecosystitch, another Canadian mom is our favorite pattern designer, and she gave us our big break by asking us to test one of her crochet patterns. The crochet community is filled with pattern designers and mom-makers who continually inspire us to push our creativity further. It’s a supportive environment that fosters our artistic growth.
When not working on your business, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Heather: Married for five years, I have a four-year-old daughter and twin two-year-old boys. My children consume most of my time, but I’ve always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. We enjoy trips to the zoo, beach visits, walks, and listening to music. Our church and community play a significant role in our lives. I relish moments spent at coffee shops and breweries, particularly with good friends. Prior to becoming a mom, I lived and traveled overseas, and I aspire to show my children my favorite spots someday. Crochet, initially a hobby, quickly became much more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Marie: Married for seven years, I have two boys aged three and one. We enjoy summer camping trips as my parents own a trailer. We also love visiting Disneyland whenever possible. Church activities and volunteering are important parts of our life. I’ve been a part-time registered nurse for five years, recently specializing in cardiac high acuity. Helping people during challenging times is a part of my job I truly appreciate. While I primarily attend markets rather than managing online orders due to work-life balance, I find running this small business to be an immensely satisfying creative outlet!
One fun tidbit about our Instagram page is that you can tell who made each product by looking at our arms in the photos. Heather has tattoos, and Marie sports an Apple Watch. Initially, we’d mention who made each product in our captions, but soon realized it wasn’t necessary.
For more info, connect with them on Instagram
Wild Bluebell Homestead is a charming hobby farm located in Abbotsford that offers a range of hand-made artisanal products, curated vintage furniture, sourdough bread, and other homemade items. The homestead is dedicated to creating unique and high-quality products that are beautiful, functional, and long-lasting, plus each item is carefully crafted with attention to detail. Customers can expect a warm and welcoming experience and a range of products that are perfect for adding a touch of rustic charm to any home.