Meet the Team: Anna Friss

Meet the Team: Anna Friss

Today we're shining the spotlight on the newest member of the Zollie and Gist team, Anna! As our Customer Service and Marketing Coordinator, you may have seen her face floating around on our social media or corresponded with her via email. Read on and get to know a bit about Anna, her love for basketry, and her favorite music for crafting!

meet the team anna friss


What’s your name and title? 

I’m Anna, and I’m the Marketing and Customer Service Coordinator at Gist Yarn and Zollie. 

What do you do at Zollie and Gist?

My role has a few different components. In the marketing realm, I support Susie by helping to make sure our customers have a great online experience. This includes creating engaging email and blog content, and connecting with our community through the Zollie and Gist social media accounts. As Customer Service Coordinator, I also help answer your order questions via email and phone call.

What are your primary fiber interests? How did you come to love fibers, crafts, or textiles?

My mother is a knitter, and I did a bit of knitting, felting, and frame loom weaving as a child with her guidance, but it wasn’t until my later years that I began to appreciate the rich history of fibers and textiles. 

I’ve always loved fashion. When I made the decision to study Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising in college, I became aware of the devastating environmental impact of fast fashion on our Earth. I grew interested in sustainable and responsible sourcing, and noticed that the brands I admired were almost always using textiles made of natural fibers or deadstock material. This brought me full circle back into an exploration of knitting with natural fiber yarns, sewing using thrifted or up-cycled fabrics, and mending. 

Now that I have the dreamy job of working for a yarn and craft kit company, I am exploring a myriad of new fiber crafts- cross stitch, crochet, embroidery, shaft-loom weaving, and more. The act of slowing down and attuning my body to the pace of hand work is a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Working with natural fibers has been deeply grounding, and brings me into connection to myself, my ancestors, and the natural world.

anna friss staff blog


Tell us a little about your professional background, and how you landed where you are today.

My career trajectory has been…circuitous, but I’ll try to make this brief. I spent 8 years working in the hospitality industry during and after college. I thought I may enter a career in fashion design, but ended up falling in love with food and viticulture, specifically low intervention winemaking, while working in restaurants. After graduating I went to "wine-school" and received my Level 2 Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, then spent some time working as an assistant wine buyer for a restaurant in Detroit. I still love food and wine, but fine dining can be mentally and physically taxing, and ultimately it was not a lifestyle I could sustain. 

After losing my service job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I took the opportunity to pivot. I co-founded a multidisciplinary food centered project called Parcette Detroit alongside a couple friends. We provided home deliveries and national shipments of curated foods, hand sewn tote bags, zines, floral arrangements, and naturally dyed tea towels, all made from scratch, as well as running raffles and pop ups to raise money for local charities. We disbanded the project when my two co-founders both moved out of the city, but it was an extremely fun experience!

parcette detroit

From there I went on to juggle working as a freelance photographer, Assistant Manager at a local bookstore, and Studio Assistant at a natural dye studio in Detroit. I loved creating social media and marketing materials for both the dye studio and bookstore, and began to look more seriously for a full time role in that world. When I came across the job listing for this position, I applied immediately! I’ve been a part of the Gist and Zollie team for about seven months now, and I feel so lucky to have landed somewhere that I get to pull from the full breadth of my nontraditional, gig-economy skillset.

What other hobbies or interests do you have (outside of work!)? 

I have loads of hobbies! I once heard Joni Mitchell speak in an interview about the necessity of having multiple creative practices, in her case painting and singing. She spoke of how they were complementary components of her sensibility, and moving between the two allowed her to stay inspired at all times. I resonate with that very deeply (I'm a Gemini moon), and let myself move freely between hobbies. This includes film photography, sewing, knitting, collaging, baking, gardening, ceramics, sketching/painting, and ballet. Lately I’ve been spending my evenings apprenticing in the study of folk herbalism. I’ve also become obsessed with basket weaving, and am having fun letting myself fall into the basketry hole!

anna friss zollie blog


What keeps you inspired and connected to your creativity? Do you have any daily creative rituals or practices?

I’m very inspired by nature, community, music, magic, poetry, and solitude. I love spending the afternoon alone, watching an old movie, going to a museum, or flipping through stacks of books to gather inspiration.

As for rituals, I try to maintain a consistent zen meditation practice. My creativity is very linked to my spirituality, and meditation is at the foundation of both. I also go through periods of commitment to writing morning pages, an exercise from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. Setting aside time for self reflection and unboundaried release is very creatively nurturing.

Are you currently a beginner at anything? How’s it going?

I’m proud to say I am the resident beginner here at Zollie! I am (slowly) working my way through every Zollie kit and pattern bundle, most of which are crafts that are completely new to me. There are definitely moments of resistance and frustration, but overall, I love it. It feels so good to stretch myself in a new direction. I am making loads of mistakes as I go, but that’s part of the process. Every mistake teaches me something new, and the feeling of finally getting it right after a few rounds of trial and error is really empowering.

What craft/art project are you currently working on?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently obsessed with basketry! I made my first ever small basket a few weeks ago using reed and daylily in a workshop with Angela Eastman. Now I’m working on a frame basket made primarily of willow, reed, and mulberry, which I started thanks to some generous guidance from Michael Marie. In the future, I'd love to weave a coffin. I'm really fascinated by green burial. 

anna friss staff blog zollie


What’s the most exciting project you’re currently working on?

I’m having a blast working on our organic social media and marketing launch strategy for our new product, Palette Scout! I’ve always been a neutrals/earth tones girl, and playing with Palette Scout has helped me realize that it’s not because I don’t like brighter colors, I just didn’t understand how to make palettes that looked nice together. I’m so inspired by the way Palette Scout is already changing my own ability to feel confident in my color choices. I can’t wait to create some content that shows off how multipurpose Palette Scout is, and get it into the hands of all the interior designers, fashion lovers, artists, and teachers who I know will come to adore this product.

Favorite songs/artists or podcasts to listen to while crafting?

Big music gal. My taste really runs the gamut. I’ve made a couple of playlists for Zollie and Gist already, and look forward to making more in the future!

The artists I’ve currently got on repeat are Bar Italia, Jessica Pratt, The Sundays, MJ Lenderman, Cindy Lee, and The Japanese House. I’m completely obsessed with the new Charli XCX album Brat. My partner also plays in a few bands that are really great (shout out Bonny Doon and Tyvek).

Best trip you’ve ever taken?

Last summer my sister and I took a trip to Scotland to attend a friend’s wedding in Edinburgh, and spent some time in the Cairngorms and on the Isle of Skye. It was completely magical. I’ve taken a lot of great trips, but this was one of the best.

anna friss staff blog post


Last book you read and loved?

The last book I absolutely TORE through was The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue. It was so smart and extremely funny. Another recent favorite was Pure Colour by Sheila Heti. 

What would your perfect weekend look like?

It’s late summer or early fall. My boyfriend and I are on Lake Michigan. The daily agenda consists of reading, swimming, and eating olives, burrata, prosciutto, fresh bread, and salted ripe tomatoes. At night we sit by the fireplace and then fall asleep to the sound of the waves. In the morning maybe we go to the farmers market, probably for more tomatoes.

anna friss staff blog