“Hello, crochet friends!” That’s how Jonah Larson, 11, starts his popular online crochet tutorials. Jonah lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He has been crocheting since he was 5 years old. Crochet involves looping yarn with a hooked needle to make a fabric.
How did Jonah get interested in crochet? “It all started when I found a hooked needle in my aunt’s bag of crafts,” he told TIME for Kids. Jonah was curious, so he started watching how-to-crochet videos on YouTube. He quickly discovered his talent for crocheting intricate designs. First he made a dishcloth. Then he moved on to larger items, such as a blanket with 800 crocheted flowers.
With his parents’ help, Jonah opened an Instagram account to show off his creations. He also started a business called Jonah’s Hands and began selling his work. Jonah’s Hands got the attention of the La Crosse Tribune. After the paper published a story about him this year, Jonah got about 4,500 orders.
Success has its challenges, and Jonah found he couldn’t keep up with the demand for his work. After all, his main job is school—and, as Jonah points out, “I only have two hands!” So he found other ways to conduct his business. Jonah now collaborates with yarn companies to make his online tutorials. He also partners with stores to design clothing.
Jonah says it’s important to “get support from other people” when growing a business. One person he counts on is Daniel Sheehan, a fashion designer. Sheehan learned about Jonah through social media. He mentors Jonah on building his brand. What’s Sheehan’s advice for kids who want to start their own business? “Get your ideas on paper,” Sheehan told TFK, “so you can better communicate your business goals to others.”
Jonah uses his business to give back. He has donated some of the proceeds from Jonah’s Hands to Roots Ethiopia. This nonprofit organization helps children and families in Ethiopia, the African country where Jonah was born.
In the future, Jonah hopes to help even more people, but in a different way: He wants to become a surgeon. “Being a surgeon requires hand dexterity and patience,” says Jonah. “Crocheting has taught me both of those skills!”