Taking it slow: How Danielle Reid opened her slow crochet business Ides of May

When 2020 rolled around, no one expected how drastically our lives would change. During the months of quarantine, the possibilities were endless as everyone was at home, bored and in search of something to keep themselves busy. 

For Danielle Reid, quarantine meant transferring to the Ryerson School of Journalism, learning how to crochet, and eventually opening her Instagram business, Ides of May.

Ides of May, named after Reid’s fascination with ancient Roman history and her birthday in May, is a brand that focuses on “slow crochet” fashion.

“Slow crochet fashion is a reference to the fact that everything I make is made-to-order. This means I’m not hoarding a bunch of materials that I’m not going to end up using that will just end up in the trash,” said Reid. 

Reid, along with one of her friends, were really discouraged about quarantine and not being able to go out and do the things they used to be able to do. The two had always talked about learning to crochet their own shirts, so they decided that quarantine was the perfect time to learn. 

“We thought it would be so much fun to walk around in clothes that we made and have people ask us “where is that from?” And we could say that we made it,” said Reid. 

Though the process was a lot of trial and error, Reid eventually took her pieces to Instagram and received a lot of positive feedback. 

“I was making a lot of jewellery on the side too, so I thought I might as well just start selling everything,” said Reid.

In a time where fast fashion and consumerism is at an all-time high, Reid is a strong believer in creating ethical and sustainable fashion. 

“We individually, and other people in their teens or twenties contribute to a lot of waste. I was determined to find ways that I can make clothing in a more ethical, less “fast fashiony” consumer kind of way,” said Reid.  

Using the crochet skills she learned from her grandmother along with the time she spent practising her craft in quarantine, Reid began to crochet yarn pieces of different shapes, sizes and colours.

Ides of May Market Bag in matcha green via Instagram @idesofmayshop

Reid sells an assortment of tops, bags, hats and jewellery. “We have a bra top named after my sister Olivia, this white snow bunny top in the shape of a diamond which reminds me of the bunny hills people ski on, and a necklace with a red pendant that I named after the vampire Esmeralda,” said Reid.  

Reid’s sister Olivia posing in the Olivia Bra Top.
Reid’s sister Olivia posing in the Olivia Bra Top via Instagram @idesofmayshop

“I get a lot of inspiration from different artists on Instagram. Even walking down Queen Street West, going into stores and seeing what is popular and then putting my own twist on it,” said Reid. “I don’t want to become a clone of everybody else.”

Reid’s Instagram inspirations

Ides of May has only been around for about a month and a half, but Reid has big plans for the future. Right now, Reid is taking things at her own pace but eventually hopes to expand her social media from Instagram to TikTok and then to her own website. Reid also wants to start an Instagram segment on her feed where she can enlighten her followers on some historical facts and knowledge on the Ides. The next thing on her to-do list is learning how to make more intricate pieces such as cardigans and abstract crochet work. 

A cardigan which went viral on TikTok is a piece that Reid spoke very fondly about. Herself and many other crocheters have either attempted or taken inspiration from it. The cardigan in question is the JW Anderson Colourblock Patchwork Cardigan seen on Harry Styles which took the crocheting world by storm. “The brand JW Anderson themselves even posted tutorials on how to make the sweater since so many people were trying to recreate it,” said Reid.  

Harry Styles in the JW Anderson Colourblock Patchwork Cardigan. Photo Courtesy of JW Anderson.

Ides of May also dipped their toes in the pool of social justice. For the month of September, the business donated 100 per cent of the proceeds made from the May earrings to The Black Legal Action Centre.

“We raised $140 off of earrings for $10,” said Reid. “I was so excited, I didn’t really expect that reaction considering the business is so small and new.”

In terms of advice for other small businesses Reid is an advocate for the supportive community of small business owners, “Get yourself out there. Post pictures on social media. Everyone in the small business field is so nice and supportive. Make connections and just do it,” said Reid.

The Ides of May shop can be found at their Instagram, @idesofmayshop. They are open to orders and inquiries via direct message.