Kelly Ngadze age of 28 Founder of Mama Lex Handmade Knits (MLHK)
I see myself as a creative woman who expresses herself through every stitch and pattern I make on my handmade items. MLHK is a product of love and I still to this day put my heart into every pattern and every stitch. MLHK is a crochet and knitting business that is based in Chegutu Zimbabwe. I produce creative designs out of yarn and all my items are made from scratch. MLHK caters to every body shape and size and everything is custom made for your body. My goal would be to empower other creative women who are crocheters to branch out and make beautiful items of clothing.
What made you come up with the brand name Mama Lexy?
The name Lexy comes from my son’s name Alex. When I was pregnant he was such an inspiration. I have always loved crocheting and knitting. so when I was pregnant I had more free time on my hands so I started knitting a lot more but the first thing I made was little booties for my son. He was such an inspiration. when he was born and his little feet were in the booties that I made, something just struck me and I knew that I could do this on a larger scale! So, this name came very naturally to me Mama Lexy; Alex’s mother.
Did you ever dream of getting into this line of business?
Getting into this life of business was never by accident. My biggest role model is my mum who founded Mai Regi Restaurant in Chegutu and my late grandmother who owned a grocery store that is still up and running. I was always passionate about the art of knitting and crocheting. My family knew I had a talent and so did I. However the dream of starting a business was too big, it made me quite fearful. I was also chasing a lot of different projects then, so I never had the time to nurture the dream. After falling pregnant, as I mentioned, I got all this free time and the dream of crochet became so obvious and so transparent that I just couldn’t ignore or suffocate it. I knew then, that I had to give it a try.
When did you learn to crochet?
My grandmother Constance thought me how to crochet and knit when I was little. I think I was 5 years old. I did crochet a few scarfs at a young and then I stopped. But when I made my first booties for my son that pushed me to do crochet at a larger scale. I learned more designs and patterns from my mum because she used to crochet some cute outfits for us.
What was easiest / most difficult about learning to crochet?
There is nothing particularly difficult about learning to crochet. Since it was my mum and my late grandmother who thought me how to crochet they made so much fun. My grandmother would teach while singing a song this would help me remember how to thread and stitch. It was never a struggle to hold the yarn and hook and getting fluid movement. Also, it became easier to recognize all the different strands of yarn in a stitch and to visualize the tops of stitches and where to insert the hook. Now that I am learning different designs it is challenging to following written patterns. But hey I love a good challenge.
How often do you crochet?
I crochet every day, creating bespoke pieces for the wedding, cocktail events, birthday parties, vacation, and vacations, is not a 9－5 job by any stretch of the imagination. Suiting individual customer needs and requirements demands long working hours for me but I love it. I need every second of my day because I get a lot of clients and orders from home Zimbabwe and some as far as China, Dubai, South Africa, the UK you name it.
Who are your role models and inspiration?
My role models are my Mum Chipo Lisa Ngadze aka Mai Regi and my Dad Rueben Ngadze my late grandmother Constance Sanyamahwe and most of all my Son Alexander.
What is your favorite quote or saying?
Mwari mubatsiri God is my helper because I believe everything I do God helps me. Most of all my most favorite quote is women empowerment. I believe that God created women for a beautiful reason and for that I believe we need to shine and let our talents, skills, or knowledge be recognized by the whole world.
What five words would best describe you?
Do you do any other crafts? How do they compare to crochet?
During the Covid-19 pandemic as a way of helping my community, I sew some masks and I still doing whenever I get my free time every day. Currently, I am trailing crochet masks for clients for winter 2021.
Would you consider crochet a form of therapy? If so, elaborate.
It’s a form of escapism I escape and reflect when I crotchet and come up with great and new ideas. So yes it is therapeutical. Also, crochet is like my little world my happy place is meaningful and enjoyable knowing my end result would be amazing and make my clients happy it serves its purpose.