How to Turn Your Weird Hobby into a Business (with Shelley Brander): Episode 354

In this episode, I have on special guest, Shelley Brander! Shelley is the founder and CEO of Loops Productions, where she is building communities, telling stories through high-end production, and growing empathetic, authentic brands.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link on this blog. I would never recommend a product I don’t use or love myself!


  • Shelley says that she always loved knitting. She remembers walking into a nice yarn store that wasn’t very friendly. She was upset and it lit the fire that maybe someday she would open her own shop. When she started feeling burnout, she realized that sometimes your passion is the best path towards income. She said it wasn’t profitable for 7 years, but she kept going, and came up with the idea of subscription.
  • There were a lot of hard times, but Shelley says that having her branding business really helped to show her she had something special. She said she was barely getting by on the yarn part. She said that she saw the yarn business as doing something that she felt was never done.
  • Shelley shares how community is a huge part of yarn. All ages, backgrounds, genders sitting there and enjoying this craft. She wanted to create this vibe within the community of her clients. Helpful communication, ability to connect, were so important, and building a business on that helped to create that community right off the bat, and come up with her slogan: “Knit the world together”
  • Shelley had so many road blocks and naysayers saying that this dream would never come true. Shelley says that in order to stay positive through all this, she says she’s motivated by the word can’t. Anything new sounds crazy. But if it won’t go away, and if you’re passionate about it, you can make the dream happen.
  • If something keeps coming up in your life, it might be worth pursuing. Shelley says to find someone who has similar energy to you, and life you up, and go to them when the self talk and naysayers are getting you down. Surround yourself with risk takers. People who aren’t doing what you’re doing won’t understand you.
  • There is power to surrendering. If you are willing to loose a little control, you will be taken on a path. You don’t have to wear every hat and control everything in your business, or in your life. Let go. As entrepreneurs we tend to want to control every outcome. The more we let go, the more we grow.
  • Shelley realized she was terrified of public speaking, so she leaned into it. Her TEDx talk was a platform that allowed her to overcome this fear, and talk about something she was so passionate about. Remember to not be complacent. Go outside of your comfort zone. Do things that scare you. That’s how you grow.


  • (1:15) A little more about Shelley.
  • (1:41) How Shelley took her “weird hobby” and turned it into a global phenomenon.
  • (4:50) The “Spark” of turning a hobby into a major business.
  • (7:02) Changing up her business model to subscription.
  • (7:56) How Shelley kept going through the hard times.
  • (10:15) Creating community in the yarn business.
  • (12:55) The power of persistency.
  • (14:01) Being motivated by the word can’t.
  • (14:48) What to say to the naysayers.
  • (16:32) Why we go to masterminds.
  • (18:20) One of Shelley’s favorite books: The Surrender Experiment
  • (21:38) “Your weird little hobby can change the world” Shelley’s TEDx talk.
  • (24:51) Getting too comfortable in your business.
  • (27:03) What it means for Shelley to make an impact.
  • (29:30) Where to connect with Shelley Brander


“Motivated by the word can’t”

“Just let go”


Connect with Shelley:


Book: Move the Kneedle, Yarns from an Unlikely Entrepreneur

Beginner Course: Knit Start


Books Mentioned in this episode:

The Surrender Experiment

The Year of Yes

Watch Full Episode:

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Hey! I’m Rachel. I’m a former Big Ten volleyball player turned entrepreneur and professional cheese taster (kidding–but that would be a sweet job).

I’m a Pinterest strategist for female entrepreneurs who are sick of struggling on Facebook & Instagram and want to automate their traffic and get more leads on autopilot. I’ve used Pinterest to increase my blog traffic by 34,000/month…for free!

Obsessed with: adventure, champagne, chocolate, and yoga pants.

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