By Alisa Pierce
Blog Content Contributor
On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Alexandrea Rodriguez, the owner and creator of LEVEL UP Creations. Rodriguez is a Texas State University student who started LEVEL UP Creations to share her talent in making handmade crochet and knitted items with a special focus on gamer-themed collectibles. Since Pokémon Go’s rise to popularity, Rodriguez has started to make smaller versions of her Pokémon items and has been dropping them of at random Pokéstops around San Marcos for players to find and keep. I was able to ask her a few questions about her creations before her major item drop off this month.
Rodriguez didn’t always make the items so many have come to love. She actually began knitting about four years ago while facing some health problems that caused her to stay in a hospital for an extended period of time. She learned how to knit from a few of her friends on campus so that she could donate handmade items such as beanies to other patients in the hospital.
“It was a lot of fun,” Rodriguez stated.
Rodriguez was eventually introduced to crocheted dolls and beanies, which, while similar to knitting, offered her a different route to making gifts for her friends. She instantly fell in love with the method and began to make most of her creations through crochet.
These creations usually always have something to do with old school video games.
“I definitely grew up with a lot of the retro games, like Super Mario, Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda,” Rodriguez explained. “Whatever I did in my spare time with gaming, I wanted to corroborate with my new favorite hobby.” This hobby took off, and soon, Rodriguez was crocheting not only for pleasure, but for business too.
Originally called Alex’s Knitting, Rodriguez’s company stayed small until a large number of residents of San Marcos started approaching her for custom made items, especially if they were Pokémon themed. It was then that Rodriguez realized that she could make money through her hobby.
“It started off as something really small, just friends and family making small orders here and there,” Rodriguez said. “The next thing I knew, there were more than twenty people messaging me on Facebook asking for their own items. It blew up from there.”
LEVEL UP Creations is Rodriguez’s way of sharing her creations, and through her expertise and game-themed items the popularity of her company has skyrocketed.
Although her company has been making products for a while now, it wasn’t until recently that Rodriguez began making drop offs. Rodriguez was inspired by the drop offs done by Nicole’s Nerdy Knots in Dallas, and through increasing local interest, decided to do her own drop offs in San Marcos.
“I got the idea from (Nicole), and I found out that there were hundreds of people all over the world doing the same thing,” Rodriguez said. “I was definitely inspired.”
Now, Rodriguez and her company are starting to make drop offs a regular event with a September drop off planned for Tuesday, September 27. This drop off will be around the Texas State campus and will include fifteen to twenty items, so look around the popular sites on campus for your own Pokémon themed crochet item.