Image: Emma Knitty
Tell me more about your craft. What is it? When did you find out you were good at it?
I’m first and foremost a knitter and knit designer, but I do like to try my hand at other crafts once and a while, so I much prefer the term ‘maker’! I work as a graphic designer too which helps with inspiration, choosing colours and keeping up to date with trends.
I first started knitting over ten years ago when I was trying to find a hobby that didn’t involve a computer screen, but I didn’t really push myself or realise that I had a talent for it until just after my daughter was born and I was on maternity leave. Having a lot of free time during this period meant that I had the opportunity to knit more than usual so I progressed pretty quickly and learnt a lot.
Why did you decide to turn into a business?
I wouldn’t say that I run a business as I’m involved in the knitting community for different reasons, but I do sell hand-dyed vegan yarn online as well as knitting and crochet patterns.
Image: Emma Knitty
Tell us more about the process, the step by step process of your craft- From the concept to the final product.
I get inspired by everything, so sometimes I have far more ideas than I can handle and get a bit overwhelmed. I think this is a common problem for us creative types! Usually, I browse Pinterest or magazines and look at trend forecasts to see what colours and styles are will be ‘big’ in the following months and design with an eye on the next season. For example, during Christmas, I’ll be planning for Spring.
After that, I make a note of colours and patterns that are in (and out!) and see how I can make them fit with my brand and style. After that, I start designing, making charts, writing the pattern and taking photos for social media. I think it’s important to show how the creative process works because it lets others engage and get a feel for your work.
Where do you sell your product?
I currently sell on Etsy.
Have you noticed a rise in crafters and people buying creations?
Absolutely! I’ve noticed especially that makers support other makers, so a lot of us crafters buy from each other and help each other with regards to sharing accounts that they enjoy. The Instagram makers community really is a great representation of this as we all help one another to be the best we can be. I think that in general people prefer handmade over mass-produced items, and although they could be put off by the fact that handmade means more expensive, little by little people are starting to understand those unique handmade goods are worth every penny because they really are special. When you buy handmade you are supporting a dream.
Image: Emma Knitty
What is the crafting industry like?
Rather than ‘industry’, I prefer the term ‘community’ because, like I mentioned before, we all support each other. On the whole, the crafting community is extremely friendly, fun and inspiring place to be and not at all competitive. There are a lot of magazines that give exposure to makers with smaller followings and give them opportunities to get their work published (Mollie Makes, for example, prides itself on giving up-and-coming designers a platform) which is wonderful.
Do you recommend people starting up their own crafting creations and turning it into a business?
I do and I don’t. For a lot of us crafters, our crafting is a ‘side hustle’ rather than a full-time job. Very few makers get to do what they do full-time. As a maker and designer, my primary objective is to inspire and be inspired rather than to make money, although it is, of course, an amazing feeling when someone buys something you have created!
I would say that if you want to have a successful crafty business be prepared to work hard and find something different about your brand that will make it stand out and not get swallowed up and lost amongst other small businesses on Etsy and similar selling platforms. On the converse, and from personal experience, I would say that it is easy to get obsessed with the ‘business’ side of things and lose the passion and spark that fuels us as creative people. I think that any crafter’s primary objective should be enjoying what they do first and making money second.
You can find Emma Knitty on Instagram