Cassopolis resident finds knitting nichePublished 5:05pm Monday, July 2, 2012
If there is one thing Alicia Ellenich loves to do, it’s knitting and crocheting.
Ellenich, who lives in Cassopolis, learned the craft from her grandmother when she was 8 years old and she hasn’t stopped since. More than 10 years ago, she began a business, Imagine Knits, to supplement her income as a medical coder. After building a client base and selling her products at the Four Flags Antique Mall in Niles, Ellenich began tossing around the idea of another small business venture specializing in baby accessories. Thus, Zoog-A-Doos was born.
“When my son, Zach, was about 3 or 4 years old, he came up with the nickname Zooger,” Ellenich said. “For a while, he wouldn’t answer to ‘Zach,’ only Zooger. Eventually, it morphed into zoog-a-doo, and I thought it was an interesting name for a business.”
Through word of mouth, Ellenich built her client base for Imagine Knits, getting clients from as far away as Florida to regularly order her products, which include beanies, scarves and soft cell phone covers. Ellenich said she hopes Zoog-A-Doos grows the same way.
“I had always focused on adult stuff, and I’m still going to make that,” Ellenich said. “I started out relying on family and friends, but now Facebook has become a big part of my business.”
Ellenich said, because of Facebook, word has spread to new and expectant moms and infant photographers who ask to use her baby-related products in their photos.
“I’m excited about Facebook and what it allows me to do,” Ellenich said. “I like being able to see people wearing something I made and using it.”
Ellenich said her business pages also allow for instant feedback and inspiration.
“Most of the stuff I make doesn’t follow a pattern; I make it up as I go,” Ellenich said. “So, to see someone say they like this particular design or product, it’s rewarding.”
Ellenich said she spends a few hours a day on projects, taking photos of her work and posting them on Facebook. While she said she knows the knitting basics, she’s proficient in crocheting and most of her products form from that method.
“I just love to make things,” Ellenich said. “I collect vintage knitting books and antique buttons to use on things I make. It’s relaxing.”