Most entrepreneurs have to work at getting their business off the ground.
But not Erin Maeder.
With a natural talent on her side, Erin, who lives in Cedar Rapids, turns a cold weather necessity into a whimsical conversation piece.
Erin was only 9 years-old when her grandmother gave her a needle and taught her the basics of crochet.
“I mostly just crocheted squares,” she said. “Then about 2 years ago I decided to crochet my son a blackbird hat.”
Erin said that when her friends saw what she had made, they wanted her to make one for them, too.
“That’s where I got the name for the business…Isaac’s Bird Brain-from Isaac’s blackbird hat.”
Since then, Erin said she has literally made thousands of hats and has a picture of every one she’s made, which can be found on her business’ Facebook page.
Erin said she gets a lot of help from her son, too. Isaac, now 3, models the hats his mom makes.
“He’s getting really good at it,” she said with a laugh.
He has two favorite hats which he would wear all the time if Erin let him; a “Geo” hat and a “Jake” hat, which are based on TV cartoon characters.
Erin also crochets slippers, booties, scarves, and mittens.
“I often go online and research what everyone else is doing,” she said. “I do my best to stay current and competitive.”
Most of the hats only take Erin 1-2 hours to make, but some can be rather complicated. She said she recently completed a Vikings hat, which comes complete with a “helmet” and beard.
And though Erin gets some interesting requests, she doesn’t work from a pattern.
“They send me pictures and I just try to make it the way they want.”
She said it doesn’t always turn out exactly the way it’s supposed to.
“But no one has complained about it yet,” she said with a smile.
Erin participated in her first craft show late last year and sold out of her entire inventory in one day.
“Since it was my first show I didn’t know what to expect,” she said with laugh. “Next time I’ll be better prepared.”
Erin said she hopes to take part in more craft shows next fall, but will continue to take orders for hats and other items on Facebook all year-long.
And as her hats continue to be in demand, Erin is getting ready to go back to school at Mount Mercy University, where she is majoring in Criminal Justice.
Erin has worked at ASAC for the past seven years, helping kids who have drug and alcohol problems.
“That’s really what got me into the Criminal Justice program,” she said. “I love working with kids. I hope to make a career out of it.”
For more information about Erin and Isaac’s Bird Brain, visit her Facebook page.