WILMINGTON — A tribute to her father led Abbie Camp Niklasson to be a businesswoman and craft teacher.
LUVUMORE Workshop was started by Camp Niklasson to honor her father, Bill Camp, who passed away suddenly five years ago.
“One of the things he had passed on to my brother and me was our love of woodworking,” said Camp Niklasson. “Right after he had passed, neither of us could really bring ourselves to go into his woodworking shop.”
As a way to feel closer to her dad, she started to do small nail and string artboards. She’d sit out on her porch, work on a project, and this made her feel closer to her dad.
“Originally, I think that was my way of coping with the loss,” she said.
The name of the business draws from something her dad would write in birthday cards or send in messages.
At first, she made the nail and string artboards as gifts. But her friends started seeing them, with one asking to order one. This lead to Camp Niklasson posting them on social media, “and from there, the nail and string art took off.”
She started doing it as a side business while maintaining her regular career at Custom Molded Products. But then a friend of hers opened up a boutique in Washington Court House and wanted to do workshops. She was asked if she’d be willing to learn macrame to teach it as a workshop.
“At first I was like ‘you’re a little crazy’ because this seems hard. But she kind of pushed me and I’m kind of glad she did,” said Camp Niklasson.
She sat down with some YouTube videos and within a month had taught herself how to macrame. Within a month of that, she was teaching 12 girls in a workshop.
“They were all like, ‘You should make earrings’ or ‘You should do this’ and really pushing me to do this. At first, I was kind of relentless because my career took precedent. Also, I lived in a small apartment and didn’t have the room for the inventory needed,” she said.
A friend ordered some, she made more, and then posted them on social media, where they took off.
It was during the pandemic last year that made her think hard about whether or not to continue with her crafts. She was given more responsibilities at work, which would’ve meant she’d have to stop her side business.
“My husband and I sat down and we looked over finances and what my goal had been for years,” she said. “We made the decision to leave my career to pursue my side business full-time.”
Since this big decision, her crafts have been featured in five stores including Strength & Dignity and the Art House, both of Wilmington. She also teaches workshops for private groups, bridal showers, and even a nursing home. She’s even done wholesale to stores in Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas.
“My goal is, obviously, to keep doing that. To get into as many stores as I can,” she said. “Eventually, someday, I really want to own a space that can be a creative space where people can come and all the material is provided and they can do workshops with their children or a group for friends.”
She’s talked with Andrew Connarroe of the Art House as being a bigger presence in the Art House as it continues to grow.
On her journey to LUVUMORE and teaching these classes, she’s picked up many tricks and skills learning to do these crafts.
“One of the very cool things about teaching these classes is I started off teaching myself from just simple videos,” she said. “Everything that you can do wrong, I have done.”
One of the most rewarding things Camp Niklasson has discovered is how excited people — men, women, and children — are to be taking the classes.
“I think it comes down to you’re learning something fun and exciting, you get to make something with friends,” she said. “Also, especially, in our times now — with COVID and everything that’s stopped gatherings — everyone is so excited to get together and have time with their friends. I think people love to learn.”
She’s incredibly grateful and blessed to have been in contact with people who have helped her grow and, of course, the work ethic that her father gave her.
Her biggest piece of advice to potential artists or crafters is to not get frustrated if you don’t succeed at first. It’s OK to walk away for a little bit, but never quit on it.
“I genuinely believe that even if you’re not an artistic person … at the end of the day you can create something that’s beautiful,” she said.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574