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Conversations with the Inspiring Samantha Baron

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Baron.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The first version of Likewoah started back when I was fourteen and in high school in Bend, Oregon. I picked up crocheting as a way to keep myself busy during all the time I spent traveling in cars & vans to snowboard contests. It started as just making beanies for friends, but before I knew it, I was selling my hats and even sponsoring a few friends in the snowboard industry. I don’t remember when I stopped crocheting, but I think it was right around the time I picked up my life and moved to DC for college.

Fast forward to a few years later and I was living in New York City trying to figure my life out after college. I graduated with a degree in Film & Media Arts and just felt incredibly lost working as a barista in NYC, barely making enough money to eat and pay rent. I never considered myself an artist despite having taken every art class I could in college, but I needed a creative outlet so I decided to pick up crocheting again. From there, I launched an Etsy shop and some amazing friends purchased some of the first things I listed, and the rest is history.

I ended up moving to San Francisco and started to think a little more seriously about Likewoah, but I still kept it as a side hustle. I did my first market, which turned into markets almost every weekend, got my first wholesale accounts, and really enjoyed the extra cash as well as scratching my innate creative itch as my full-time job wasn’t sparking much joy in my life.

Two years ago, I made the move from San Francisco to Denver for after accepting a full-time job that ended up being the biggest blessing and curse of my life. Within the first few weeks, I realized it was not the job I thought I signed up for, not the industry I wanted to work in anymore and was not really sure what to do. Eight months later, I walked into work on a Monday morning and was told they could no longer afford to pay me and my job was terminated immediately.

I spent the next few months interviewing for jobs I didn’t want, walking a lot of dogs, traveling around the world to see friends having some epic new adventures, and finally realized turning Likewoah into my full-time job was what I wanted to do. With the support of my amazing husband, I begin to make that a reality about a year ago.

I now sell crocheted and macrame goods, teach workshops, design and sell my own patterns, as well as continuing to explore the world of fiber art. I sell online, at markets across the country, and with my amazing wholesale accounts throughout the country. It’s been a long and trying road to get to where I am today, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I look forward to seeing how my business continues to evolve over the years.

Has it been a smooth road?
I think I speak for all makers and business owners when I say there is no such thing as a smooth road to success. I have never had so much anxiety and stress in my life. Somedays I love it, I feel the creative juices running, I love making my products, and all seems great. The next day, I might feel awful, someone ripped off my designs on Instagram, my body aches from repetitive motion, and I just feel drained. It truly ebbs and flows, each day is different. I’ve worked harder than I ever have in my life to grow and continue to evolve my business, but I often second guess myself and wonder if I made the right choice, the right decision, or if this is the “right” path to be on.

I grew up doing a few too many extreme sports and now live with the reality that a part of my life is living with pain on a daily basis. I have spent years working through it and have a regiment currently that is working pretty well for me, but some days I wake up with the intention of making products all day and find my body just can’t. The combination of being in pain and the inability to make products creates more stress that can feel pretty crippling somedays. I try my best to keep positive on days like that, but some days are just hard.

For any young women, or women, in general, starting on their journey to running their own business, you truly have to find something you love. Something that on days you are working sixteen hours, exhausted, and more stressed than you’ve ever felt, you can remind yourself why you are doing it. Your passion will help you to keep going when you run into road bumps along the way.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Likewoah Handmade story. Tell us more about the business.
I started Likewoah with making only crocheted goods such as beanies and scarves. I still love crocheting and have some amazing new designs coming out this fall, but my business has shifted quite a bit into macrame goods as well. My line of macrame earrings are one of my most popular items currently, and its been really fun to watch that side of my business continue to grow.

From the start, I wanted Likewoah Handmade to be a business that if I was a consumer I would want to buy from. I donate 5% of all of my sales to Planned Parenthood, an organization I hold dear to my heart. I definitely lose business for taking a stance and often find myself getting accosted when selling at a market because of it, but Women’s right to health services and autonomy over her own body is something I believe in and will fight for until this country changes.

I try to be as green as possible with running my business as well, continuing to find different ways to do so. I work with such large quantities of yarn and rope that I do order those new from a few different vendors. My larger scraps from macrame pieces get made into my earrings and keychains, and I am working to get my yarn scraps spun into yarn that I can incorporate into my pieces. I ship all of my orders in packages, tissue paper, etc., that I have received from online orders (don’t be surprised when your beanie shows up in an Amazon box).

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Starting your own business is an incredible challenge that should be treated like a marathon, not a sprint. Starting your own business as a woman is no different, except that you are running the marathon with a 100lb weighted vest. I feel so thankful to be in an industry that is predominantly female, especially coming from an industry that was run almost exclusively by men. We live in a very interesting world at this point in time and I am a huge fan of supporting all the ladies, even when they are direct competition to my business. We have to lift each other up to be successful in this world, and I try to practice what I preach when it comes to where I shop, how I purchase goods, and who I purchase them from.

I have a love-hate relationship with social media these days, but it has been truly incredible the support from other female business owners via social media channels. I have connected with so many amazing and truly badass women on social media from all over the world. I love that the majority of my wholesale accounts are women-owned businesses that really align with my business and what I stand for.

I know there are so many barriers out there for women running their own business but I truly believe if we continue to lift each other up and build a community of support, all of our businesses will continue to grow.

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Image Credit:
Samantha Baron

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