How Hello Stella blossomed during the pandemic
Lindsay Parry shares her love of art and fibres through her blooming small yarn business
Small businesses were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. They were constantly adapting to new opening plan policies, lockdowns and safety protocols and many were left frustrated with the lack of government support. However, a few industries providing remote, online experiences, services and products flourished and even made record sales.
One of the industries which thrived during the pandemic was the hobby and arts and craft supply industry. This included Hello Stella, a hand-dyed yarn business specializing in untreated wool, meaning the yarn comes straight from a sheep and without chemical processing.
“My business actually, I would say, more so blossomed. I think a lot of people found themselves at home with a lot more time and they were interested in picking up a new hobby,” said Lindsay Parry, owner and founder of Hello Stella.
With increasing time spent at home, many people were seeking new pastime hobbies and there was a surge in people expressing interest in pursuing arts and crafts, including knitting, crocheting and fibre arts.
Parry herself initially fell in love with fibre arts for its ability to help her relax and relieve stress. Prompted by wanting to make her husband a handmade knit gift for Christmas one year, she first learned to knit 12 years ago.
“[Knitting] has become a daily thing for me and it helps greatly with stress. It’s just something I find I take a few minutes every day and, it could be something small like a sock, but it kind of grounds me a little bit more,” said Parry.
Named after her dog, Hello Stella started in 2017 when Parry became a new mom. She was faced with the choice of returning to her day job or staying home with her son. Ultimately, she decided to leave her job. During this time, she merged her two interests in the arts and fibres through Hello Stella.
“[Hello Stella] had always been a dream of mine to start and I kind of decided, if not now, then when would I? So I took a chance,” said Parry.
She always knew she wanted to lead a creative life and her career to reflect her passion.
This year marks the business’ fifth. It has grown tremendously since it first launched. In the beginning, Parry only sold handmade knit items, such as hats and scarves. She now sells various types of fibres, patterns, tea, stickers and art and her business Instagram page has garnered more than 34 thousand followers.
Despite all the achievements and successes during the pandemic, Hello Stella could not escape all the negative consequences of the pandemic lockdowns.
“Peru is one of the major hubs in the world for wool distribution and they closed down for [months], which greatly impacted wool being produced and spun,” explained Parry.
Peru is home to 87 per cent of the world’s alpaca population, making it a major hub for alpaca wool. In 2018, the country exported 30 tons of alpaca fibre. However, in March 2020, President Martín Vizcarra announced a nation-wide lockdown, affecting business operations and exports. The strict lockdown measures lasted until late June and July of 2020.
The supply shortage is what forced Hello Stella to explore more domestic, local yarn and shift from chemically treated wool to pure, untreated wool. Last year, Parry introduced domestic wool into a wide range of products and began working with local farms as well.
Her favourite part of the business is the process of dying the yarn — the most creative aspect of running the shop. She uses her background in colour theory to mix and merge beautiful, unique and captivating colours, such as lilac fields, a dusty mauve purple and Patina, a blend of warm orange and turquoise.
Coming up, Hello Stella will participate as a vendor at Hamilton’s Fibre Forge market at The Cotton Factory on Mar. 22. Whether you are a crochet or knitting enthusiast or interested in exploring your fibre options for your next crafting project, the market is the perfect opportunity to touch and see Hello Stella’s fibre products in-person.