HotPot Variety

This designer in Toronto has blown up thanks to her crochet bucket hats

Crochet bucket hats are cute, sturdy and certainly trending these days. A Toronto woman recently transformed her lockdown side hustle into a fully functioning fashion studio.

Jessica Papp is the founder and creative director of HotPot Variety, a brand well-known for its trendy handmade crochet accessories and clothing.

HotPot Variety’s most popular item, the crochet bucket hat, comes in a variety of different patterns and colours.

Papp told blogTO the idea for her side hustle struck during lockdowns in 2020. She was working in advertising full-time and decided to crochet as a hobby on the side.

"I needed a new hobby, I just needed something to channel my creative energy," she explained.

Papp is completely self-taught and learned how to crochet by watching YouTube tutorials.

After perfecting her crocheting skills throughout 2020, Papp officially launched her brand in November of the same year.

Papp says the popularity of the hats grew over time, and she's now branching into making clothing and swimwear for the summer.

HotPot Variety’s hats are made with 100 per cent cotton, and each hat takes two to three hours to make. Papp said she makes anywhere from three to four hats a day.

As her business continues to grow, Papp says she's having to plan her pieces according to the season.

"It starts out with a colour palette, and then from there, I'll think of the design," she said. "I'll find some inspiration of usually what print I love or what patterns I love."

Last year, Papp was contacted by one of Canada’s biggest retailers, Holt Renfrew, to collaborate on a deal to feature her crochet hats.

Holt Renfrew was eager to support independent Canadian designers and reached out to Papp to put in an order for 60 hats. Papp said she spent the whole summer fulfilling the order.

"I think crochet is a good kind of intersection of using that passion that I have from textiles and then being able to kind of create my own garments and make my own patterns, which is really cool," she said.

HotPot Variety's crochet hats are available to buy online and run for $170.

Want more stories like this? Make sure to subscribe to Side Hustle, blogTO's show about people in Toronto who have pursued their passion as a side project and found success, with new episodes every week on Snapchat.

Lead photo by

HotPot Variety

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