By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood
Businesswoman and author Felicia Lo Wong took an unusual path to launching a hand dyed yarn business in Vancouver, Canada.
Her journey began years earlier while a student at the University of British Columbia, when she was admitted to the competitive pharmaceutical science program.
“On day one… I sat in that class with 125 people and I knew I was in the wrong place,” Wong said. “I knew these are not my people, this is not my tribe, but I got in when a lot of people really wanted to get into the school…”
About the same time she took up competitive ballroom dancing and started sewing her dance costumes, a throwback to one of her earliest craft obsessions that grew out of watching her mother make herself a hot pink dress.
“I just became very inspired seeing that it was possible to make things for yourself,” she said.
Wong was about 10 when she started experimenting with the sewing machine after watching her mom sew that dress. Wong ended up breaking her mom’s machine, but was allowed to continue to sew on the replacement. She also taught her herself to knit from a free booklet published by a yarn company while still in elementary school. Meanwhile, her dad was a painter and printmaker, so Wong grew up surrounded by color, design and creativity.
While her parents modeled creative behavior, they didn’t want her to pursue the arts professionally.
“They really wanted for me to not have things so difficult (financially),” Wong recalled.
Listen to Wong tell her story on the podcast and read the rest of the story in Issue 68 of the Craft Industry Alliance Journal.
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