By Samantha Malott The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Carla Hofstee says it was her big, yes VERY big family that really solidified her organizational skills and prompted her to start crocheting as a way to relieve stress. Both talents have inspired businesses and an upcoming book titled "Organization with Ease"
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.
With her 12 children grown and out of the house, Carla Hofstee is filling her now quiet life with a new focus -- two business ventures decades in the making.
The 64-year-old calls it the "new season of my life."
Her crochet business that started as a hobby now has a proper store front in Coeur d'Alene, and what began as simply offering organization tips to fellow mothers has blossomed into a full schedule of classes and the soon-to-be interactive book "Organization with Ease."
Hofstee originally moved from Southern California at age 14 when her family decided to take over a southern Idaho dairy farm. She later moved back to California, where she met her husband, Jim.
Missing Idaho, Hofstee said, she and her husband decided to move to the Coeur d'Alene area to raise the big family she always dreamed of having.
"I felt like it was what I was supposed to do," she said. "I wanted to be a mother and adopt as many children as I could."
And a big family it became -- four biological children and eight adopted, including three sets of twins.
"Life was very busy," she said. But that's what really solidified her organizational skills, and her stress-relieving crochet habit picked up, too.
From laundry schedules, to chore and to-do lists, budgeting, gift and party planning, and more, Hofstee's friends began to grow curious about how she managed to keep such a tidy and smooth-running home, she said. She offered tips, but as word spread, she began to have too many visitors to handle at her house seeking her expertise.
So she planned a seminar.
"I was blown away by how much of a need there is," she said, noting 250 women showed up to that first three-hour-long class.
The seminar quickly transformed into smaller classes during the week and in-house visits to help with organization.
Hofstee had begun keeping notes of everything, when a friend suggested putting it all in a book, which she finally compiled last year. She expects it to be available on her website in a few weeks.
"I'm glad I wrote it along my journey," she said. "I'm better equipped now to do it all."
Hofstee said she never imagined being the owner of two businesses at her age, especially given she was just doing what she knew and loved all those years, but "I wouldn't change a thing."
"I've honestly enjoyed it all," she said. "You're as young as you feel, and I feel great." Hofstee said she has no plans to retire.
"I feel like we all live on purpose," she said, and for her, there are too many people to help, too much to do and learn. "I believe that God gave me my gifts and talents to share with others."
"We need support. Support keeps you going. It keeps us inspired and encouraged," she said.
Hofstee said a common thread she has come across in those with whom she works is that many lacked a traditional at-home role model while growing up.
"Mentoring is essential to how we live our lives. My mother was amazing. ... I learned most of what I know from her," she said. In return, "I love mentoring young mothers that are hungry for information that will make a difference in their life."
Her future plans include holding small, weekly organization classes in the My Girls Hats store office (located at 610 W. Hubbard Ave., Suite 212, in the Harbor Plaza upper parking lot entrance fronted by Farmer's Insurance), working with a publisher on her book and continuing to crochet hats, headbands, boot warmers and gloves for the store.
"My Girls Hats is my happy place," she said.
She also hopes to expand the store to include crochet classes and teaching those battling cancer to make their own hats.
"Watching people's faces when they try on a hat. To see them put on that smile is the most rewarding moment," Hofstee said.