Today, I’m pleased to interview Daniela Montelongo. She’s an architect and crafter that lives between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Her company, Pompon’s Party, is now her full time job. Daniela sells crochet and knit accessories and kits for a variety of craft projects through her Etsy shop, and also teaches classes.
You can also find Daniela online on the Pompon’s Party blog, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. All photos are copyright Daniela Montelongo/Pompon’s Party and are used with permission.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to crochet, knit, and loom knit?
Daniela: I started crocheting when I was 8 years old. One day, I told my mom to buy me a crochet hook and a ball of yarn. Then I asked an aunt to teach me because no one in my family knew [how to crochet]. From there I started to crochet, knit and loom (self-taught). Recently I traveled to Chile to take weaving courses that helped me understand things better.
UC: What inspired you to start selling your crafts on Etsy?
Daniela: I started with my shop in 2004, selling at fairs in my city, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I decided to open my Etsy shop. I wanted to branch out and sell my products around the world. It was certainly one of the best decisions.
UC: In addition to your handcrafted items, you sell a lot of kits. Tell me about your decision to sell kits.
Daniela: Yes, my little shop has grown every year. When my shop was 8 years old (and two years old on Etsy), I decided to give workshops of things that I love to do. I found it important to be able to contribute a little with the craft scene and began to teach techniques that I love and I practice for my accessories.
The people outside of my city began to asking me on the blog for the materials that I used in my workshops, so that’s why I decided to also sell the kits online, so they can learn too.
UC: You’ve had success in selling your kits and handmade items on Etsy. What tips do you have for a new Etsy seller?
Daniela: The most important thing is to believe in your product. The rest just flows.
In terms of design, I think you need to be very careful about the images you upload to your store. You must describe and show your product the best you can for the customer to fall in love with it since the moment he sees it on the screen.
UC: Your company started out in Ciudad Juarez and now you’re in El Paso. What are the yarn crafting scenes like in these two cities?
Daniela: In Mexico, there are very few young creative projects with wool. Usually in both cities the yarn crafty scene focuses on adults and often their ideas are a little more conservative. However, there is a scene that buys crocheted and knitted projects, and that is a good sign.
It’s about taste. Definitely in Mexico, people prefer more color than in America, but in America, people prefer more design.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Daniela: Definitely. (The city) I live in is more Americanized. However, when I came to study architecture in college, I had some teachers who made me love my country. I started to read more about their native culture, customs, etc.
Definitely, I live on the border, and here we don’t have much influence from our roots and our culture. There is no Mexican culture that we all know, and that’s why I try to capture in my accessories all of the color that I would like to come to my city, to bring the beauty of Mexico for people to fall in love with.
UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet, knitting, or craft blogs to share?
Daniela: Sure, my favorite blogs are: