by Harivallabhi Ganapathy ('24)
When senior Akanksha Rajagopal opened her DMs on her Instagram crocheting page she couldn’t believe what she saw. She had received a plethora of messages thanking her for posting the crocheted Spiderman tutorial. When she checked her profile, she saw that the Spiderman tutorial had millions of views. All this support because of one reel on a small project like that? Her journey to get here was a hard one but one that was rewarding.
Rajagopal started ‘Akanksha Crochets’ on Instagram back in October of 2022. Her account grew immensely in the past year and is now sitting at 34,000 followers, and growing by the day.
She started crocheting in 2021, but it was only meant to be a one-time project. Eventually, though, it turned into something more.
“I found it to be a good stress reliever and great for my mental health, so I ended up continuing!” said Rajagopal.
After experiencing this comforting feeling from crocheting, along with support from her family and friends, Rajagopal began her business. When she first started though, she didn’t put much effort into it and only posted a few times a week, and listed only a few items on her storefront. Later though, she got the motivation to push forward to create more products that were unique and customizable, ones that represented her. As Rajagopal put in more effort during the summer, her account took off.
“It felt amazing that so many were interested in my work. I never really expected it, so it was a pleasant surprise, and of course, it felt really rewarding to see results from my hard work,” said Rajagopal when asked to reflect on her journey.
Although the journey has been amazing and rewarding as Rajagopal describes it, there have been struggles along the way. As she is a full-time high school student, she had a difficult time managing her business and schoolwork. Not only that, her college applications, since she is a senior, had also backtracked her business a bit. Including that, she compared herself to other creators a lot as the majority of them had a bigger following and created more pieces than she did.
But as the true businesswoman Rajagopal is, she learned from this.
She said, “I’ve learned much from doing this and formed many good habits. Some of these include finishing schoolwork as soon as I get home so that I’ll have time to crochet and pack orders later on in the day. I’ve also learned not to let this discourage me because everyone’s in a different place in life. I like to think about how this is many of their full-time jobs, while I’m still in school and have other responsibilities. So I don’t let myself feel pressured to create more!”
The support from her friends is also something that she would’ve never expected but she is so grateful for it. Rajagopal’s online friends, the ones she made throughout her journey, have also been equally supportive and great to share experiences and ideas with.
Her family has also been very encouraging, especially her mom.
“Someone who has supported me throughout this journey is my mother, who helped me from when I first started by buying me my first crochet hook and a skein of yarn. She continues to support me every day and serves as someone I look up to. I’m especially grateful to her for always sending me ideas for new projects whenever she sees anything crochet-related,” explained Rajagopal.
The South Brunswick community and her online community have been ever-encouraging. Rajagopal’s online community never fails to give her supportive messages too, as she gets encouraging words from people she’s never met before. The South Brunswick Public Library has also started a crocheting club for people of all ages and so far, it has been going great!
In the future, Rajagopal would love to take her business further by designing new products catered more towards her followers. She recently started tutorials and vlogs on her Youtube page which have more detailed tutorials. She would also love to collaborate with other small businesses either in the area or even internationally so they could work together to create newer and unique products like she recently did with Indivisual, a phone case company.
As a final message to her followers, Rajagopal exclaimed excitedly, “They can look forward to more crochet tutorials, in the form of videos & written patterns and instructional crochet club meetings. I would also like them to know that I’ll be releasing new products soon!”