An Ohio State zoology student is knitting her own zoo of baby animal hats.
Lauren McClure, a fourth-year in anthropology and zoology, combined her interests in crochet and animals by creating her own Etsy shop.
The Baby Zootique opened for business in January. McClure works in the summer for the Cincinnati Zoo in its education department, teaching children about different animals, nature and conservation. Before opening the shop, she would make scarves, stuffed animals and other small items as gifts for friends who were pregnant or had small children. After McClure made gifts for her supervisor at the zoo, she said co-workers all encouraged her to start an Etsy shop and sell her creations.
“I first learned to crochet in fifth grade when I moved from Texas to Vermont,” McClure said. “I learned the basics in school, then self-taught the rest.”
Each baby hat is designed to look like a different animal, including monkeys, koala bears, giraffes and elephants. Lauren also handpicks names for each of her creations, such as “Zuri the Giraffe.” “Avery the Owl” is named after her supervisor’s daughter, the one who inspired the creation of the shop in the first place. Other names come from animals she has worked with at the zoo, and friends and conservationists she’s inspired by, such as Bindi Irwin.
“I want to make the hats cute and unique, personalize each one with a name that fits,” McClure said.
McClure said she does not plan to expand outside of baby products anytime soon, but might add mittens or other small items to her store in the future if enough requests are made. With a schedule around work and school, smaller items are easier to complete since they take less time to make, she said.
“I’m not trying to expand the shop too much,” McClure said. “This is just a hobby for me to have fun with, not my job. I enjoy making homemade items for people and friends that are one of a kind.”
Since the launch in January, Lauren has had around 20 orders for the $17 hats. This will be the first full winter that the Baby Zootique will be up and running, and she expects the number of orders to rise.
“I find joy in being able to create something from nothing to make people smile,” McClure said. “I try to make the prices reasonable because its not about the money, I just like to make hand crafted gifts that make people happy.”