Cohen’s new business has sprung out of her hobby for knitting, one that began after moving north from her native Florida one October nine years ago. “I grew up in Florida where there’s not much call for warm woolen goods,” said Cohen. “When my husband and I moved to Connecticut nine years ago and I realized it was colder that day than it ever was in Florida in the winter, and I thought, ‘If this is October, January is going to be really rough.”
On her way home from work that day, Cohen bought needles, yarn, and a how-to book, and learned how to knit a scarf. The next time she left for work she was ready to face her new climate.
For over four years Cohen sold handmade goods on her page on Etsy, an online store that allows individuals to sell their goods without the expenses of running a website. Cynthia’s husband Josh opened his student loan lawyer business in the old Hayloft building after the couple had moved to Dover in search of a school district they liked for their children. Josh mentioned it would be nice for Cynthia to open the yarn store she’s always thought of opening.
The Ugly Duckling’s variety of yarn ranges from alpaca and sheep’s wool, which Cohen calls workhorse yarn, to more exquisite, hand-dyed yarn made from materials such as cashmere, for knitting pieces made to stand out.
Along with selling yarn, Cohen intends to start classes, teaching knitting, spinning, and dying in a spacious backroom to share a hobby she finds rewarding. “Anything where you can use your hands is rewarding,” said Cohen. “To go from nothing to something, especially something beautiful, it’s a chance to create and we don’t get the chance to create much anymore.”
This same philosophy was the inspiration for the name “Ugly Duckling.”
“The name came from the 1990s when everyone was opening an Email account,” said Cohen. “My mom suggested ‘Cygnet,’ which is a word for baby swan.” Just like something you knit, Cohen says a the story of the Ugly duckling was it had so much potential but hadn’t grown into itself and turned into a beautiful swan. “I liked the idea for the store, because yarn is beautiful but it has so much potential to it and it’s up to individual to bring out that potential.”
Winter’s coming, so if you need yarn to beef up that supply of warm clothing, Ugly Duckling is open 10 am to 5 pm every day but Tuesdays and Thursdays.