By Ethereal Violet Reyes, April 27, 2021
With a love for building and design since childhood, Annikka Priya Rodriguez, a third year aerospace engineering student, founded a crochet shop out of her home in Pomona last January, stitch by stitch.
Rodriguez sells a selection of unique hand crocheted items – from bags and bandanas to stress ball plushes – and uses recycled products through her small business. Annika crochet.
Although she started the business selling hats, since launch she diversified her products to include a variety of items that follow current market trends. She finds inspiration for new products through social media platforms and her ingenuity. Items are updated seasonally – the latest addition is flower earrings just in time for spring.
“I always do things with my hands,” said Rodriguez. “I crochet in class and when I’m in a meeting and don’t have to show my face, I crochet. It’s my stress reliever, just like some people like the little stress balls. “
Rodriguez also gives back to the community by donating 10% of its proceeds to charity.
Last March, Rodriguez donated her handcrafted hats to the St. Vincent De Paul Lancaster Shelter Program, a Lancaster, California homeless aid organization that supports the homeless community by providing housing, food, employment, and basic needs.
In the same month she also donated 10% of her proceeds Stop the AAPI hatred when awareness of the discrimination faced by the Asian community reached its peak. When making donations, she looks for organizations that she believes will do the most significant work this month. At other times, she will accept suggestions from her clients about charities to donate to.
“I knew if I encouraged people to buy things and said that 10% of the proceeds would go to a charity, not only would they help me stay busy and creative, but they would be a part of that too donate what they send me, ”said Rodriguez.
According to Rodriguez, she started crocheting when she was 10, but revived her hobby during the pandemic to sew hats for her and her boyfriend as a pastime. Shortly thereafter, Rodriguez began receiving requests from family and friends for their own beanies, which inspired her to start her online shop.
Rodriguez has loved working with her hands since she was a child, which sparked her enthusiasm for practical work such as handicrafts. Her passion for craft projects is reflected in her decision to pursue an engineering career.
“With all of these things I grew up with, it was just the path I took that wasn’t related to art, but I want to say that engineering is art and creativity,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez believes that crocheting is similar to her job in engineering, as both of her require innovation and creativity. She is eager to continue her small business as she continues her engineering degree at Cal Poly Pomona with steady growth.
For more information, visit her Instagram @annikkacrochets or their website at annikkacrochets.com.