Sometimes all your small business needs is a little boost from a celebrity.
Singer and former American Idol contestant Frenchie Davis was riding the New York City subway in late November when she spotted a man knitting on the train. She snapped a picture of him and shared it to her Facebook page.
She didn’t think much of it at the time, but the subtle nod of approval has turned into big business for that commuter with the knitting needles
The man’s name is Louis Boria, and he runs BrookylnBoyKnits.com, a custom knitting service. As chance would have it, a friend of Boria’s saw Davis’s post and shared his name and a link to his site as a reply to her photo.
“For the first time in 10 years, I have pending orders,” Boria told the New York Daily News in an interview this week. He’s planning a revamp of his website and says he’s hiring two additional knitters to help with the surge of orders.
Boria says his obsession with knitting began with a dream. He awoke one morning, arms outstretched, fingering imaginary knitting needles in the empty air. He says he was startled but took it as a sign. He immediately got a starter’s kit of supplies and went to work.
Boria commutes two hours a day and took the train time to hone his craft. It was daunting at first, he says, but after hundreds of hours of work he crafted his first sweater.
Then, in 2009, he launched Brooklyn Boy Knits. And he’s been at it ever since.
Boria is usually a one-man operation and not one for self-promotion. He says he gives out three scarves a day to the homeless during winter and recently contributed some pieces to a silent auction for the benefit of hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
He hopes with the new attention he can spin his business into a full-time pursuit. “I’m passionate about this, and I need to take a leap and pursue this opportunity,” he said.