In 2016, Zoe Frost was struggling in her new home in southern Oregon after moving from Oakland. She moved from a stable job to a place with minimal employment opportunities and felt detached from her queer community.
So naturally, as we do, she turned to cross stitch.
Frost loved crafts and embroidery was gaining popularity. Cross stitch, however, seemed to be an untapped market, especially when it comes to adult themed cross stitch kits.
There was only one problem: Frost didn’t know how to cross stitch. So she went to the nearest craft store, gathered all the supplies she needed and started to figure it out, using her already developed crafting skills and the occasional YouTube tutorial. Within a month, she settled on Etsy, and started his business: Junebug and Darlin.
Frost says she focused “the company’s energy on creating queer, subversive craftsmanship and truly inclusive designs,” while also creating a way for her to connect and stay connected with the queer community. . She even channeled her frustrations following the 2016 presidential election into her designs: “I felt very angry and very political and I really needed an outlet for that, so I took it. needle for weaving and I went.
Her designs take inspiration from traditional, vintage, and old-fashioned cross stitch patterns, and then she adds her own twist, like “incorporating more traditional designs with swear words” because it’s “a fun review on how far we’ve come. My favorite design is the “A Lady Should” Kit which features the phrase “A Lady Should wear modest dresses wear whatever she fucking wants.
Another favorite: A “three butterfly”Which, according to Frost, has a hidden message. Moths were chosen to challenge the traditional idea that butterflies are beautiful, transformative creatures, while moths are their ugly sister-in-law. Her underlying message here is that moths can act as a symbol for the queer community, because “no one really sees them, but they’re all there and doing the same things butterflies do and can be more colorful and more. beautiful and have more purpose “.
After moving to Portland from Klamath Falls later in 2016, she began selling her kits at various farmers’ markets. Frost further expanded its reach in 2018 after the small Pittsburg company contacted and asked to sell its kits in stores. It now sells to approximately 75 companies across the United States, as well as some international locations.
Owning the business enabled the connection to the queer community that Frost had sought out from the start, she says, especially when she hears stories about artisans using the posts to share their support for LGBTQ + friends. It’s important for her, says Frost, “to connect one on one and share these stories about how my products are making an impact.”