Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I am a person who has been on an incredible life journey. I am a native of Eastern Kentucky. I spend much of my childhood with my grandmother who taught me about color and texture. My grandmother was an amazing quilter and created these rich, colorful pieces out of scraps. I akin my own knitted creations to her love of scraps and colors. I sit down with a basket of scrap yarns in similar color tones and just begin to mix and match colors and textures.
I am a Special Education/Intervention Specialist teacher. I spend my days with students who are considered to have behavioral issues. I love my day job – never boring. Often, I find these students the most interesting students and when successful can just blossom to incredible adults.
I love flower gardening. My favorites are heirloom flowers such as zinnias, cleome, cosmos….I just love pondering color tones ….for me, it’s the creation of a tapestry in the garden.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I opened my Business in January of 2015. I have knitted for over 40 years and used knitting as a Winter creative outlook for my love of playing with colors. As my transition into empty nester occurred, I found myself knitting more and began to create new designs for my knitted goods. After creating and selling to friends throughout the past few years, I decided that it was time to embark on a knitting business. As a longtime Etsy customer, an Etsy store seemed to be the right move for my new business.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I create knitted hats, scarves and gloves – blending yarns and color tones to create what I often term Medley creations. My scarves can include 12 or more yarns and my gloves or hats might add vintage buttons or recycled yarns. My newest design is a Ponytail hat. I had seen several Ponytail hats but many looked pretty but not functional. I live in the country and we snow sled; shovel snow and often ride four wheelers out in the cold. Our gals need a warm hat that keeps our head warm; allows us to keep our hair up in a ponytail and doesn’t come off when we are out riding four-wheelers in our fields. Of course, I felt a little pretty needed to be included and thus, my cable knit ponytail hat. My infinity scarves are my tribute to women my age who like something colorful and natural looking. Of course, my Judi hats are my favorite – my friend, Judi is a world traveler who always looks good so the bulky knit Judi hat is functional and fashionable and folds up and travels well.
What inspires your work?
My work is inspired by flower gardens, quilts, and textures. I love color but I couldn’t create if I couldn’t feel the texture of the yarns. It’s about touch and just feeling what yarn needs to be together. Sometimes, I will pull 3 different yarns to create a row …blending the colors and texture to create its own texture.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
In 2017, I want to design more custom pieces. For example, new hats – I believe that one’s hat can be his/her signature piece. I want to think about hats – especially hats for middle age to elderly folks. Recently, my father, age 80 years, asked me create a hat just for him. As he is bald, one of his needs was that the hat keep his head warm and fit tightly. Image my delight, when his fellow breakfast mates requested that I make them a hat also. I want to create scarves that meet a person’s sense of colors and gloves that meet the need of the wearer. I love that interaction between my creation and the wearer.
My dream for my business is to grow to add one more knitter into the business. I would like to provide an opportunity for my daughters or daughter in law or son to spend more time at home with family and knit for supplementary income. Plus, it is so important in this rush, rush world that we take time to create. It is what makes us human.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
My knitted creations are one of a kind. I create my own patterns and blend my own color tones. I have looked at many knitting online stores, and my work is very different from others creations.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have a small studio in my house where I work during Spring and Summer. During the Winter, I tend to carry my work wherever I go…
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Marketing on Social Media. I wish I had learned more about this venue before I opened my business. It has taken me about a year to understand how Social Media Marketing works.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Social Media Marketing is a key to success. Etsy forums are a must to learn about what’s going on out there. Instagram is the biggest avenue to market your work.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
When I am not working, I am grazing seed catalogs; dreaming of new flower gardens and when warm enough, out digging in the dirt.
What is your favorite quote?
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
― Maya Angelou
Where can people find out more about your business?
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.