Delving into the history of an American High School student’s small crochet flower business

Kelly Wang

Staff Writer

     A sweet present for your loved one or an anticipating question to ask them on a date, flowers are an universal symbol for love. But their beauty is short-lasting—as with any living thing. Madyson Tran, a sophomore at American High, took this ephemeral nature and decided to weave it into a life-long memory: crocheted flowers.  

     It was October when Tran decided to kick-start her business of crocheting. 

     Before, she had first seen this “idea on Tiktok, where you crochet flower bouquets, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to buy that, I can make it.’ I had a few friends’ birthdays coming up, so I was like, ‘I’m gonna make this and give it to them for Christmas presents.’ And when I did, they were really happy about it. They’re like, ‘Maddie, you should start selling these.’” 

     Tran’s history with crochet, however, dates back further than this simple inspiration she had from social media. 

     Tran recalls, “I got my first crochet hook from my aunt for a birthday or Christmas gift a long time ago. And it’s just been in our house, and we haven’t actually done anything with it. COVID came, and I didn’t know what to get for my best friend. So I was like, ‘You know what? I have a hook, I have yarn, and I have Walmart. I could go make her something.’ That’s the first time I did my first crochet project, and how I learned to crochet.”

    Her aunt was not only the spark for her new passion, she also played an important part in Tran’s small business. 

    “I love going to Joanne more than Michaels to get my yarn,” Tran laughs, “And my aunt is really glad to take me. I go, ‘Hey, can we go to Joanne’s?’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah, sure.’ And when I say, ‘I could pay for my yarn.’ She’s always like, ‘No, no, I got you.’”

     Despite family being a strong support for Tran, her friends also pushed her to where she is today.

     “I didn’t really think of [starting a business] until October, and that’s when my friend said, ‘You should put it up on your story, asking if people wanted to buy [crochet] flowers for homecoming proposals.’ When I did, surprisingly a lot of people actually wanted them. So I got a few orders in October, and that’s how it started.”

     Tran appreciatively adds, “The ones who commissioned me, I feel have supported me. They actually want to give me work to do and are willing to pay for it as well for my time and labor. I’m glad for that.”

     She mentions the two friends who have been most important to her during her business experience: Natalie Renée Schmoyer and Annika Smavatkul, sophomores at American High School. Both strongly admire Madyson’s small business.

     “My initial thoughts on Mady’s business were along the lines of ‘oh wow I didn’t know she could make cool things.’ Now I look at Madyson’s business as an inspiration,” Schmoyer comments.

     “When I first saw her art, I messaged her about how amazing it was and how talented she is. Then more recently I was able to purchase something for my mom. When she originally informed me of the price, I insisted on paying more because she had lowered it for her customers’ convenience.”

     Smavatkul adds with the same sentiments, thinking back to the time when Maddie first started, “She had been getting into crochet since lockdown, and it’s so cool to see that her business is getting big. I initially thought that her crochet business was really cool. I’m currently so proud of how much she’s done. I commissioned Mady for a tank top, and she did a great job!”

     Tran’s two friends especially compliment her work effort and her balancing of school life with this business she currently juggles. 

     Schmoyer praises, “I think her ability to balance work and time management is impressive to say the least. It didn’t shock me much since she has always presented herself as capable of great things.” 

     Smavatkul completely agrees, saying, “I haven’t seen any struggles specifically, but I know that crochet is extremely time-consuming, and it can be tiring at times. I think that it’s amazing that she was able to stay motivated throughout the whole process.”

     Towards this, Tran confesses, “I’m just glad to say that my teachers give minimal work,” and “because I take the BART home sometimes, I just crochet on the BART.” She includes jokingly, “I look like one of those old grandmas.”

     With many months of practice handling her business’ demands, Tran hopes to further expand her business, reaching to create designs other than flowers. 

     “I have a list of what I want to make in the future. Right now, Christmas is coming up. And what better use for my hobby than making Christmas gifts? What I have planned is little purses. They’re pretty big-ish, medium, crochet purses. It’s big enough to fit your phone, wallet, and little other things that you carry around.” 

     Tran even crocheted plenty of small gifts for her family and friends that she considered selling. 

     “I made these little flower clips…for small gifts. I made them for my sisters—I have three sisters—and they loved them. They loved them so much they even fought.”

    Still, despite this hobby becoming a large economical factor in Tran’s life, to her, the most important part about this business was being able “to see people really happy with my work as well.”

Focused deeply on her work, Madyson Tran (10) works on a new crochet project, modeling it after a prototype she had made before. It could possibly even be a sneak peek to a new product for her business. Picture credits: Kelly Wang.

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