I bought some gorgeously soft, chunky, mustard yellow (naturally) fingerless mitts from Natalie last year at a Crafty Fox Market, and spent a good deal of time oohing and ahhing over the beautiful snoods on her table.
We chatted about squeezing Miss Knit Nat in around a full time job, and choosing the right online platform and stockists.
When and why did you start Miss Knit Nat?
I started Miss Knit Nat in 2011 and it’s been SO exciting to see it grow since then. It kind of grew organically, I started selling a few snoods on Etsy and then just loved having my own business and the creative side so it grew from there. I remember a conversation with my husband at one point where we were talking about whether it was a business or a hobby and we were like, ok let’s do this!
Talk us through a typical day for you.
I actually work full time as well as Miss Knit Nat so a typical day is kind of spread out across my free time.
I knit stock and orders in the evenings after work, and at the moment tend to spend my weekend day times focusing on designing and trying out new products, as I have the biggest expanse of time to really get creative. Weekends also offer the best daylight at the moment for those Instagram photos!
You sell across several platforms, how do you get the word out and have you found a particular site better for you?
I think I just spent a while looking at and searching for the various platforms, to see what I thought would be most suitable for my products, and joining Not On The High Street a couple of years ago was just brilliant.
At one point I was selling across even more platforms but then realised that if you have to make one change across several items and platforms it can be massively time consuming – so have honed that back to the ones that I feel give me the most exposure and I get the most back from – my online shop, Folksy, Etsy, and the Designer/Makers shop.
Your lovely wares are stocked in the UK and the US – how did you approach your stockists and have you any tips for fellow makers?
I’ve only started wholesaling in the last year and I think the main thing is to research boutiques and shops you think your items might work well in, and then to email them with an items sheet and details of your prices and terms, plus some background about you as a maker.
I’ve not really ever taken items straight into a shop, but I might ask for an email address while I am there and then follow up afterwards. Shops can get approached by loads of makers and sometimes it can be that as much as they love your items, the time might not be quite right, or they already have a few similar items in their shop, so don’t be disheartened if it’s a no.
On the other side, when you are stocked, it can also be a great way to get feedback on what people are buying. The same goes for doing craft fairs, as your top sellers can be really different in person to those online.
What advice would you give someone looking to turn their hobby into a business?
Knowing your business and what you want to get out of it is so key. As I started off very small just selling a couple of styles of snoods, I didn’t really have a business plan from day one. It can also be really hard to pitch yourself with confidence as everything is so personal to you.
Last year I went to a few business talks and did some mentoring with the fab Zoe from Ladybird Likes. This really helped me to start shaping where I wanted to be, and then getting there. Events can also be a great opportunity to network with other makers – Crafty Fox Market do some brilliant talks.
I also find that working full time you have to be really organised. I need to know exactly what timeframes I can turn orders around in, so that customers get their purchases on time, but I need to build in enough flexibility in case I have a busy day or week at work so that the two don’t affect each other. I tend to keep a rigid eye on how many orders I have on, and adjust turnaround times if necessary.
One of the best ways of promotion is also getting yourself out there – on social media and by doing craft fairs. I did quite a few craft fairs over the winter and it was so much fun. My top craft fair tip is having a print out checklist every time – include the really obvious stuff on it too so you don’t forget anything last minute, including your day-before-tasks like ironing your table cloth and charging your card reader!
Thank you Natalie! Aren’t those woolies gorgeous?
I know it’s March but lord know we’ll still need the extra cosiness a while longer, so Natalie is kindly offering 15% off to inky readers with the code INKYBLOG15 in her online shop. It’s valid until March 22nd so get cracking!
Twitter – @missknitnat
Instagram – @missknitnat
Facebook – MissKnitNat
Pinterest – Miss Knit Nat
Etsy – Miss Knit Nat
Folksy – Miss Knit Nat
Not On The High Street – Miss Knit Nat
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