To be able to recreate a complicated crocheted garment after you’ve had only a good look at it, is a gift. To sell that garment for less than half the price it would cost in any fashion store, is a gift too: to your customers.
That is how Linda Smit goes about her business. Each month she unpacks her crocheted and knitted goods at the Pure Boland Market and sells them at irresistible prices. Think trendy boot cuffs, crocheted tops, fingerless gloves, beanies – even crocheted baby accessories – that would cost a small fortune in a retro boutique store. Linda sells them mostly to cover the cost of the wool and the yarn.
For Linda her business is not a means to get rich. She just wants to be productive. “After I had retired, my husband and I travelled quite a bit. But I grew tired of living out of a suitcase and we came back home. Then I saw a Groenstoor advertisement and went to have a look. In February 2009 I put up my stall.”
At first Linda sold mosaic but she gradually switched over to knitting and crochet work. “I’ll take anything I see, that’s popular or seems interesting, and recreate it.” Her gift for working without patterns also allows her to take orders and create customised items – from simple decorative badges to intricate garments. “People would place an order at one Groenstoor and come pick it up the next.”
Linda’s creativity was cultivated by her mother, who knitted and sewed and made even her daughter’s ball gowns at home.
Now Linda not only produces girls’ skirts for a local school – tailored to each girl’s specific measurements – and other sewing jobs that need an expert hand. She also produces her knitwear and crochet pieces by their hundreds.
Producing stock for the Pure Boland Market has become a way of life for Linda. She has only missed one or two markets since the very beginning. “Sometimes my children would say ‘Mom, can’t you just leave it for a moment?’. But I can’t. I am absolutely addicted to this.”