Every once in a blue moon you are randomly connected to an incredible person by fate. That is what happened when a mutual friend Mark, introduced me to Annie expressing that we both have similar passions and should definitely connect. (By similar passions, Mark meant we are both creative people. If you put knitting needles in my hand, I honestly would not even know how to hold them!)
Annie loves handcrafts, gardening, film/photography among other things, sells on her Knittedhome on Etsy shop, is a new(er) mother, and…..drum roll for Annie, just launched a brand new, super-amazing website! As you can see she is a very busy lady! Before you head over and shop til’ you drop, get to know Annie a little more and how her dream came to fruition below.
1. How long have you been knitting for?
“I have been knitting for nearly 14 years + crocheting for almost 21 years!”
2. When did you realize knitting was your passion?
“I have loved knitting + crocheting for (honestly) as long as I can remember. I have always loved the ability to be able to make something with my hands from “nothing.” In grade school, I would dream up what I wanted to make for my Beanie Babies (anyone else out there?) and then I would proceed to create it through trial and error crocheting. It was a lot like sculpting; constantly reshaping and rethinking how to construct the finished product.
I started knitting at 14 because I grew bored of crocheting. I knitted tons of scarfs (like most beginners) + only realized after every family member was outfitted with too many scarves that it was time to find a new pattern to master. Knitting felt very intuitive that I almost feel more at ease with knitting needles than a crochet hook. Almost. ;-)”
3. What made you decide to open an etsy shop?
“I realized I wanted to make this passion a “job” when I was in high school and a whopping 80 freshmen peers wanted me to make them a crocheted purse just like mine. I wish I could remember when I heard of Etsy – perhaps from another blogging friend whom I met via sustainable living groups.
The idea that people would actually pay for something I love to make – even itch to spend all my free time doing – and that others were doing this exact dream of mine – was such an epiphany for me! I haven’t been able to stop going forward toward this Crazy Dream since!”
4. Have friends and family been supportive of your shop?
“Nearly all my friends + family are so supportive of my Etsy shop, even if they truly believe I should “just get a real job already.” The best part is when friends share my Facebook Page posts unsolicited or comment on my blog posts. I do a happy dance every time.
I still feel like a fledging shop owner (5 years in!) but I’ve found that owning and being proud of my shop is the best marketing tool to get the word out to my friends + family + their networks through them. If I don’t take my business seriously, why should they?
P.S. If any readers want to start an Etsy shop, they can get 40 free listings when they use this link.“
5. What has been your biggest challenge this far with the shop?
“So far I’d say my biggest challenge has been building my brand. I’m definitely not a designer by any means (interior/graphic) so this has been a struggle from the beginning. But this year I’m focusing on rebranding Knittedhome + creating a cohesive look across all things Knittedhome (from the etsy shop to the show table). I’ve even hired a few friends to lend their talents + know-how to improve Knittedhome and I can’t wait to finally unveil the new look!”
6. How do you juggle being a new mother and your shop?
“Being a new mom while managing Knittedhome has definitely been an eye opener (what did I do when I was just a stay at home WIFE?) but also an incredible motivator.
With only nap times to truly focus on my business (2-4 hours a day) I have quickly learned the art of scheduling top priorities + minimizing distractions. Each day I ask myself, “what am I going to do today that will create an income?” And I focus at least some time each day on answering this. Whether it is working on my next ePattern, photographing items, promoting my shop or next craft fair or simply crafting a new item for my shop, I focus on one of these tasks before allowing myself to indulge in other areas (i.e. reading my favorite blogs, watching Homesteading videos on YouTube, cleaning out my email subscriptions or watching an episode on Netflix while mindlessly crafting).
I also dedicate at least a few days a week to sit down + focus on email marketing. Which includes composing email newsletter updates, personal outreach for future collaborations, and answering any inquiries I’ve received.
As for the rest of the housework that comes with being a WAHM, so far I try to get most of it done during my daughter’s awake hours (washing dishes after breakfast; folding laundry “together”; swapping laundry loads during nap times; and general small tasks that I can model for my daughter/encourage her participation at her skill level).
And of course there are days when nothing gets accomplished but lots of play + field trips to the zoo or a friend’s house.
It certainly isn’t perfect or a well picked-up home, but we’re making progress and tweaking our systems as we learn.”
7. What has been your most rewarding experience so far?
“So far the most rewarding experience has been participating in + helping to plan the Naturally Crafty Trunk Show earlier this year. I admit I was a bit skeptical that a small (7) collection of home-based businesses hosted in a small home could draw a decent crowd + return on investment – but I was SO amazed + pleased at how wrong I was! In fact, I think our hostess may be on to a new niche market that has long been underserved in our area: the Crunchy Mama!
I’ve always seen the Expensive Art show, the Granny’s Church craft show + bake sale, the Church Rummage sale, and just recently the “Etsy-in-real-life” art show has started on the scene, but the Organic/Naturally Living was surprisingly absent. And I hadn’t even known it was missing until I was approached about joining this amazing collection of women!
Getting to collaborate + meet so many knowledgeable women has definitely been a highlight of my creative career. I’m so excited to continue building on this niche market and see where it takes us.
The Downtown Toledo Art Walks is a pretty close second that I’d also like to mention. I get to set up shop along the sidewalks in the reviving Warehouse district with my family + close friend (who also just started a home business + has been a wonderful supporter + enabler) and meet my customers in person! This is huge compared to guessing everything about them when it comes to selling online. I love the personal connection I get to make with each person who stops by. Even when they don’t make a purchase, I get to know what draws them to my work and connect with them on a different level (new mama/baby wearer/knitter/crocheter/sustainable living fanatic/or a prospective new knit+crochet student). My daughter + hubby are great salesmen and it’s so refreshing to work as a team in short bursts like this. I always pack up feeling refreshed + energized to tackle the world!
Every year I look forward to these once-a-month summer shows and this year I’m finally stretching my comfort zone to add more Art Fairs to the mix. It’s so addicting to meet customers in the flesh. Wish me luck!
Thank you so much for the opportunity to get to meet you + your readers. Please let me know if anyone has any other questions either in the comments or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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*Photography by JP Photography