Snippets Issue 18 : The Christmas Mini Issue

Twinkie Chan

Knitting and kitsch from the adorable Twinkie Chan.

Twinkie Chan

Twinkie Chan is, in her own words, "that girl who makes food scarves". She is a crafty entrepreneur, blogger and model with a distinct style and heaps of personality! Polly Noble spoke to her about her business, her fashion and her plans for the future.


Twinkie Chan

You've been crocheting since you were a child. What is it about crochet that you enjoy?
Well... if I knew how to sew, I'd probably be doing that a lot, too! Crochet is all that I know :P. But I think it's a very flexible medium. You can make flat things, 3D things, stuff to wear, stuff to decorate your home. I love how portable it is - I can just grab a ball of yarn and a crochet hook and take it with me everywhere! I can crochet in front of the TV, in a car, at a friend's house, on an airplane. I also simply just love YARN and all the pretty colours and textures it comes in. Crocheting is just this amazing visual and tactile experience. What you can make with crocheting is pretty much only limited by your own imagination. I feel like I will never run out of ideas or ever have time to make everything that's in my head!

"I feel like I will never run out of ideas or ever have time to make everything that's in my head!"



Your crochet scarves must take a long time and a lot of very close work. What do you do or think about to keep motivated to finish them?
In all honesty, sometimes it's really hard to stay motivated and finish a project. I'll be the first to admit it! I get excited about figuring out and writing a new pattern, but once I have it down, I pretty much want to move onto the next project instead of finishing the first one! You really just have to mentally push through it. There are no real tricks. You just have to tell yourself to have follow-through. If you intend to sell the item you are working on, then knowing you have to complete a project in order to sell it needs to be a strong motivator. Otherwise your shop will always be empty, and you'll never have anything to show for all your creativity. Having ideas is only small part of the process. It's the stick-to-it-iveness that's hard! You just have to be disciplined about it and think about how great you'll feel when you've seen a project from beginning to end. I also watch A LOT of movies on cable while I work!

crafts

As well as making food scarves and other food related items and writing a blog devoted to unusual foods, you also have tattoos of cupcakes, ice creams and other snacks. What is it about the visual aspect of food you love so much?

"I've always loved fake food... figuring out that you could mix Play-Doh colours was one of the biggest epiphanies of my childhood!"


You were involved in the recent Hello Kitty 35th Anniversary celebrations. How did you get involved in that? And was it a good experience?
I felt really lucky and honoured to have been asked to participate. I chalk it up to my life on the internet! You begin to make friends with some crafty people, who are friends with other crafty people, who are friends with the shop JapanLA who organized/hosted the Hello Kitty anniversary in LA, and then you find yourself making a Hello Kitty scarf! I have never participated in any kind of fashion show event, though I have been asked many times. I just never feel like I have enough time to provide accessories for a show. However, I could NOT pass up the chance to be part of such an awesome pop culture phenomenon, plus I only had to contribute/collaborate on one single outfit with my friend Marissa, so I decided to bite the bullet! The deadline for our pieces coincided with the deadline for me to deliver the manuscript and samples for my book of patterns to my publisher, so I think my experience with the Hello Kitty event was really tangled up in me trying to finish my book. It was really intense. But I managed to finish everything in time! Going to the opening night of the Hello Kitty show was really cool, and it will be really surreal to see our whole outfit put together on a model for the Hello Kitty fashion night. (By the time this interview goes up, the fashion night on Nov. 14 would have already occurred. If you want details about the evening, please come visit my blog!)

Twinkie Chan

You seem to have a very active life with your business, two blogs, and modelling for ShanaLogic. How do you stay organised?
I gotta tell you, some of those things on your list don't take up too much time :P. Shana from ShanaLogic is awesome and has been very good to me. But I don't need to model for her all the time, and that only really takes like 6 hours out of every couple months or so when she sends me a box of goodies to shoot. I LOVE my IEatYuckyStuff blog, but I really don't take a lot of time to update it. I mean, you can't ALWAYS be eating stuff that grosses people out, right? I try. I try! The business really does take up a lot of time, though, from attempting to update my Etsy shop, to taking custom orders, to always designing new patterns, to coordinating my helpers, to working on side projects like my book, to working on expanding the business (still top secret stuff right now).... I'm actually not very organized. I would never tell anybody to run a business like me! My biggest tool for organization is a plain notebook and a pen! I make a lot of lists!

Do you find it confusing to do all of the various activities you're involved in or do you feel it keeps you interested?
I feel that it keeps me interested! All the stuff I do basically relates to each other. One helps grow the other. Making stuff is one thing, but promoting it is another, so I try to do a little bit of both. My hands would probably fall off if I just crocheted all day, so doing stuff like blogging or photoshopping pictures or doing interviews is a really nice breather!


"I just want to wear stuff that makes me smile. If other people happen to like it, hey, bonus!"


You have a pretty distinctive personal style. What inspires your look?
Okay, I used to REALLY hate pink. Like in college, I did not want pink anywhere near me, and I did NOT want the word "cute" to be said anywhere near me. But I was also never really great at adopting punk or goth styles authentically. It never felt like me. It felt like I was trying to be somebody else. I went on a trip to Hong Kong at some point during college (my family is from there) and I ran into a ton of clothing with pink and strawberries all over it. It DISGUSTED me! But for that very reason, I loved it! How my style has evolved today is really kind of like how you hear a word that you hate, for example "hella," but then you find yourself saying it all the time ironically, which eventually leads to you saying it earnestly. I love pink and cuteness now! I think of all the kawaii/lolita/Harajuku stuff as the opposite side of rebellion, rebelling against what people typically think of as alternative clothing. Now I just want to wear stuff that makes me smile. If other people happen to like it, hey, bonus! I am certainly inspired by Japanese street fashion and clothing for 2nd graders, but I never was an extremist, so I think I just borrow bits and pieces from various styles rather than subscribing to just one label. I still wear jeans and t-shirts!

Twinkie Chan

You're currently working on a crochet pattern book. How did that come about? And when is it due to hit the shelves?
I used to work in publishing, and my friend Kera and I had wanted to do a book with the company she worked for years ago. However, the guy who is now my manager (I know, it's weird that I have one) really thought that I should hold off on a book. Fast forward to the beginning of 2009, and I guess he had a change of heart! ;) I had always felt a bit conflicted about the book. It kinda feels like giving away your secrets. But even after the first patterns are out, I will always have new designs, so it's not really like giving everything away.  There's always more in this noggin! Plus I know that there are lots of people who don't have the cash to buy my finished pieces, so it will be great to share my ideas and techniques with them, too. My publisher is Andrews McMeel Publishing, and the book is slated for Fall 2010. You never know what might happen in publishing, but I do hope we stick to that date. I'd love for the book to be out before the holidays in 2010! I am so curious about what it will look like! It doesn't even have a proper title yet. Suggestions, anyone? We're working on it...!

Do you have any advice for other people with crafty businesses?

"Strike out on your own, and don't copy a trend. Trends die and new ones are born, so don't be a follower, be a leader!"


Finally, what is next for Twinkie Chan?
I don't really want to spoil what we've been cooking up! Nothing is set in stone (or on paper) yet, but let's just say that I am working on a HUGE expansion to increase production. I've been taking meetings with companies, and I think we're close to something exciting. It's all kind of scary and new, and I don't want to jinx anything. Just keep your fingers crossed and your eyes peeled for amazing announcements!


You can find out more about Twinkie Chan at her blog, or her Etsy shop. Want to make your very own Twinkie Chan lollipop brooch? Check it out here!

Comments

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Seriously, Twinkie's like my HERO: She's Japanese. Has tattoos of cupcakes and lollipops. Has bright pink hair. Has a wall full of neatly organized rainbow wool. SHE KNITS AND CRAFTS AWESOME ANIME THINGS! I FREAKIN LOVE HER SO MUCH. <3
wow. i can't crochet, but the book is on my christmas list anyway!
I love her scarfs! She has a setup on shanalogic. com where she sells some of them ;)
Im #1 Puerto Rico Fan ... Twinkie Chan love your foodies and your blog ..

xoxo
Sylvette Marie
OMFG!! me and twinkie have the same shirt!! the one were she is wearing the pear scarve!! the blue shirt that says "c-ya"!! omfg i feel so special!
OMFG!! me and twinkie have the same shirt!! the one were she is wearing the pear scarve!! the blue shirt that says "c-ya"!! omfg i feel so special!
luv her!i actually painted her for this years art project,i love her love her love her!
luv her!i actually painted her for this years art project,i love her love her love her!
Its really amazing what she can make with yarn. Can't wait for the book!!!
Best scarf ever! All Twinkie designs are fab.
Oh my god your pear scarf is so cute lol
i wish she'd write me into he will for one of those scarves ^3^
I loove Shanalogic,when I first saw this article i was like " i think she models for shanalogic!"
I loove Shanalogic,when I first saw this article i was like " i think she models for shanalogic!"
nom nom nom everybody looooves food, makes us happy. Awesome ideas Happy
Can I have one.... please........
Kawaii~ ^^ I want to learn how to knit.. seems to be really exciting!
unrealHappy how talented Happy
man you are awesome! you have inspired my knittin and i love all your quirky scarves!
oh my these are fantastic!
ohh man you should sell em.
She is breath of fresh air! I first saw her on ShainaLogic and thought she was totally cute along with the work she does!!!! Looking at her stuff can totally turn a bad day into good!
Oh my goodness! (Which is exactly what I said when I saw her picture!) I've seen Twinkie Chan's picture on ShanaLogic and always thought she was so adorable! Great interview! I'd love to meet her one day. ^__^ and see her Hello Kitty scarf!
Just incredible. Stuff like this really makes me want to try tackling crochet again (even if I failed horribly last time lol). So awesome!
Nice interview. I'm excited for the book as well! Its really amazing what she can make with yarn.
What a great interview. Can't wait to see what the book will be like I bet it will be amazing Happy


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