You Are The Change: Kohl Crecelius

03.18.13

When we first met Kohl Crecelius, Co-founder and CEO of Krochet Kids international, at Aspen Fashion Week, we found a kindred spirit who believed that consumer products (in his case, beautiful crochet hats and scarves) could be vehicles for social change. Kohl learned to crochet when he was in high school, and he and his co-founders Stewart Ramsey and Travis Hartanov have parlayed their knack with hook and yarn into a thriving social business that teaches the trade to women in Uganda and Peru, brings their goods to the global market, and reinvests the proceeds in the artisans’ communities. To top it off, every product includes the signature of the woman who crocheted it.

Q: What is one thing every entrepreneur should learn?

Every entrepreneur should learn that their idea isn’t perfect, and that the only way it will get any better is if they put it out there and be receptive to feedback. I think too often we are afraid of what people will think and it prevents us from sharing our ideas and engaging our community in improving the execution of our dream. It’s not easy to put ourselves out there, but our idea (and our vision) will become more clear as a result!

Q: What is most fun about what you do?

Wow, that’s a tough one. Working with my close friends is awesome, but what is most fun about my work is seeing people transform. Witnessing people who had ever only known poverty begin to believe in themselves and their capabilities, and others realizing the simple things they can do to love and impact our world, are what bring me joy and motivate me to keep pushing.

Q: What has been your biggest mistake/failure? What did you learn from this?

Honestly, in December my team and I had the chance to win a $1 million grant from the American Giving Awards, and we came short of it. We took second and still walked away with an amazing grant, but I found myself really disappointed. It felt like a failure, but here are some of the lessons that I am learning: there is a plan bigger than the one you have in your head, life isn’t about winning, the journey is so much more important, and probably a dozen other things that I will figure out as the experience unfolds. Oh, and stay humble… always.

Q:What business would you love to start? What business do you wish you had started?

I would love to start a coffee shop. First of all, I LOVE coffee. And secondly, there is a great community you can build around a clothing or accessories brand, but it such a contrast from having a local and welcoming space for people to gather. Does the FEED team want to go in on this with me?

Q: Name and describe a source of inspiration (can be a book, person, music, art, etc.).

People sacrificing comfort to pursue their passions inspire me… everyone at Krochet Kids intl., my friends at Sew.la, a lot of people on Kickstarter, Shepard Fairey, Macklemore, Lauren Bush Lauren and the FEED team. We can all be inspired and be an inspiration. Believe it!

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