St. Paul Woman’s Knitting Hobby Becomes Thriving Business

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)- Everyone dreams of turning their hobby into a job, but not many people get to do it or are brave enough to.

But one young lady took a leap of faith and turned her knitting hobby into a thriving business. Her name is Jessie McShane, founder of Wool and Whiskey.

In Minnesota, we fight the cold any way we can. A hot drink, a blaze in the fireplace — or maybe some wool and some whiskey?

It’s a fitting name for McShane’s business, which she runs out of her St. Paul apartment.

“Wool and Whiskey is a brand that I created last year,” McShane said. “I knit and crochet scarves and headbands and mittens.”

It started as just a hobby while teaching abroad in Korea, knitting to pass the time.

“My co-workers there — actually almost all of them — were either knitting or crocheting between classes or on our field trips. One day [they said], ‘Jessie you should try this.’ So they taught me and … from there, I loved it,” she said. “I started wearing them last fall, and I would be walking down the street and someone would stop me and say, ‘Can I ask you where you got your scarf?'”

And that’s how she knitted together a business, selling her handmade items on e-commerce website Etsy.com.

Jessie doesn’t really look the part of a knitter.

“I’m not 80 years old, no,” she said. “For me, especially juggling school and work and kind of everything, it’s … a hobby for me to sit down and say, ‘OK, this is what I can do to just relieve a lot of my stress,” Mcshane said.

When asked about the fast success of the business, Jessie said it’s been crazy.

“It’s been a whirlwind, but it’s kind of been a dream come true to me because it’s something that I love doing,” she said. “And I love seeing, you know, pictures from friends … out at the games and they’ll have their scarfs on on social media and I’m like, ‘That’s a Wool and Whiskey scarf!'”

Jessie came up with the name on a winter night when she was cozy with a scarf and a little whiskey: two things that keep you warm.

Also, Progresso just reached out to partner with her this winter, so now she’s getting national attention with a social media campaign using the hashtag “#soupseason.”

More from Natalie Nyhus
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