UCLA student starts knitting business to give back to community

For Sydney Flamm, kindness is just one point.

After learning to crochet and knit through school clubs and YouTube tutorials, the third-year sociology student said she decided to open her own business, Syd’s Knits. Her site features products such as cardigans and crochet toys, and she said for every beanie sold, she donates another to a cancer patient. When she started, Flamm said she mainly considered knitting and crocheting as a hobby, but as her anxiety about the pandemic grew, sewing became a way to relieve stress.

“Knitting is definitely therapy,” Flamm said. “You are able to take a moment, reconnect and focus.”

While Flamm said she took up knitting and crocheting as a hobby for a few months, what inspired her to make it a business were the stories of her grandmother. When she was a child, her grandmother used to knit her clothes, and Flamm said she incorporated donations into her business as a way to honor her grandmother’s life after she passed away. of a cancer. Her neighbor, who Flamm says is a fellow craftsman and cancer survivor, also provides her with beanies to donate.

Flamm said her grandmother was also a knitter and made clothes for her when she was a baby. (Courtesy of Sydney Flamm)

[Related: UCLA student crochets for a cause by donating business profits to charities]

To gather ideas for her products, Flamm said she turns to Instagram, finding inspiration in different styles such as v-necks and cardigans with pockets before creating her own patterns and measurements. Material selection is also a diligent process, as she said she tries to use sustainably sourced yarn purchased from Wool and the Gang, the same company that Olympic diver and avid knitter Tom Daley uses.

When deciding which platform to put her business on, Flamm said she chose to create her own website because she had experience in website design through creating online photography portfolios. . A personalized website also allowed her to have international expeditions, and she said the site even spurred a slight hobby of entrepreneurship.

As Flamm’s mother, Lesley Gran, said, Flamm’s decision to run a business was unexpected. One of the main concerns Gran said she had for Flamm was balancing her entrepreneurial spirit and schoolwork, and Gran said she helped gain publicity through word-of-mouth. ear at the start of his business. There were also other logistical details that Gran suggested Flamm work out, such as payment tracking and return policy, she said.

Now, Gran said Flamm runs her business independently — from promotions to accounting — but the family is involved in a modest way. Flamm’s sister models select clothes on her website, and Gran says Flamm shows her finished products and sometimes lets her try them on. She’s proud of how Flamm has grown her business, and Gran said she hopes Flamm continues to knit regardless of her profession later in life.

“I’m very happy that she’s doing this,” Gran said. “Even if she were to do it for free and not earn any money, I would be just as supportive.”

(Courtesy of Sydney Flamm)
Flamm said she tries to source most of her yarns sustainably from companies such as London-based Wool and the Gang, the same brand that Olympic diver Tom Daley uses. (Courtesy of Sydney Flamm)

[Related: UCLA student celebrates Indigenous heritage through handmade beadwork business]

Before starting her business, Flamm said she had no experience in entrepreneurship and struggled to get Syd’s Knits off the ground, turning to online articles for advice. One of the ways she said she tried to broaden her appeal was taking custom orders, an idea she honed with her family before it became a staple of her online site.

As a Flamm customer and elementary school classmate Samantha Heller, a third-year music and industry history student, said the ordering process with Flamm’s company was efficient and user-friendly. . After placing an order via Instagram direct message, Heller said Flamm will update her with photos of the product as she knits it to ensure customer satisfaction. What sets the company apart from Flamm is not just the knitting itself, but its openness and communication with each customer, Heller added.

“You can tell (Flamm has) found herself through her craft, and she really appreciates every single person,” Heller said. “That kindness comes through in his craft.”

For Flamm, one of the most rewarding parts of his business is collaborating with customers on custom orders and seeing how happy they are to receive them. Looking ahead, she said she hopes to not only continue to grow her client base, but also expand her philanthropy. In the past, Flamm said she’s donated beanies to homeless shelters alongside the Alumni Scholars Club, and currently plans to donate her company’s proceeds to Team Relay. for Life from UCLA to help fund childhood cancer research. No matter how big the business grows, she says there’s always time to give back.

“The time and effort someone puts into making something tangible for someone – that’s something very unique and it’s just a great feeling to give back to people,” Flamm said.