This year we journey together to explore our knitting roots and learn more about knitters and designers of many different backgrounds. As part of this project, I’ve created a series of guest posts to introduce you to designers who are women of color. In this post, the fourth post in the series, we meet Lori from L Knits, who tells us about starting up a Yarn Craft Business and has a special gift for you!
Journey to Yarn Craft Entrepreneurship
I’ve always had a passion for creating and business. It just came naturally to me. I remember watching my Aunt Bernie crocheting afghans when I was seven years old. Her fingers just flew. I was amazed. I bet everyone in our large extended family had one of those granny square afghans. She is the one who taught me how to crochet.
I remember watching neighborhood kids sell lemonade in their front yards and thought there must be a better way. So I asked my mother to make me some lemonade and I loaded up my red wagon with cups, change and a pitcher of lemonade and sold it to the moms and dads working in their yards. Even then I knew you had to go out and get the business you wanted.
I learned to knit after I got married and had my son. So, off to my LYS I went and took knitting lessons. The first sweater I ever knit was one I designed myself. A designer was born. That was 26 years ago. Since then I’ve dabbled in almost every corner of fiber art.
I went to college for Marketing right out of high school. I fell in love with promotion, branding and sales. But it didn’t feed my soul. I knew my life calling was tied to creativity and yarn so I went back for Fashion, Fiber and Textiles. After graduating the second time I immediately got my ‘dream’ job working for a major New York designer. I hated it.
I quit and took some time to figure out how I could combine my love of yarn, and business. I asked some probing questions and felt the anguish of those who responded. L Knits was born out of that analysis. It was a long journey to get here. But here I am a woman who wants to help yarn craft entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams of building profitable creative yarn businesses.
I feel that there’s a new opportunity for us yarn craft entrepreneurs. An opportunity to begin anew, to forge a new path, to elevate an industry and create the business you’ve always dreamed of.
If you’ve been wanting to start your own yarn craft business you couldn’t have picked a better time. People are turning away from corporate structures, employment and economic uncertainties and setting up their own virtual shops doing what they love.
We’re in a new season of entrepreneurship. This is the first time in the history of business that so many people have been willing to become transparent and authentic about who they are and what they do and attach those values and principles to what they produce and offer in a small business.
No longer is destiny, purpose or success tied to employment. Owning your own yarn craft business is one area where your grit, persistence and patience are in direct correlation to your success.
I’m Lori Henry, the founder of L Knits. LKnits.com publishes resources that helps Hand Knit and Crochet Designers, Yarn Spinners and Independent Fiber Dyers build profitable businesses. It’s where hand knit designers, crocheters, independent yarn dyers and spinners go to grow.
The ability to start a business has never been this accessible. Technology has advanced to the point where you can do most of what needs to be done yourself in the comfort of wherever you happen to be. For the tasks you need to outsource, there are plenty of freelancers who are more than willing to help you. Resources like fiverr.com have almost everything from website design to copywriting and CreativeMarket.com is another favorite for graphics and images.
Building and growing a yarn craft business can still be challenging and complex and the road to success is filled with twist and turns, steep hills and deep valleys. Entrepreneurship will be more than you ever expected it to be and there will be days that you absolutely love what you do and you’ll also have days where you don’t even want to look at a computer. You’ll work harder and longer and be pushed, pulled and stretched physically and emotionally more than you ever thought you could.
Anyone can do it but not everyone will be successful at it. The journey to profitable yarn craft entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It’s for a person with the soul of an artist and the spirit of a warrior.
One of the illusions in the craft industry is that if you are a proficient at knitting, crochet, yarn spinning and dyeing, you can operate a successful business. Nothing can be further from the truth.
It takes not only mastery of your craft but proficiency in the following areas as well:
- A working knowledge of Color Theory
- An understanding of the basic characteristics of natural and synthetic fibers
- A knowledge of Design Principles and Elements
- The ability to draw, sketch and visually communicate your ideas
To successfully build and grow a profitable business you need the following skills:
- Technical computer skills for website development, design and blogging
- The ability to create and stick to business plans, systems and strategies
- Financial planning and bookkeeping knowledge
- Marketing and branding expertise
- Copywriting and content creation
Now, don’t get scared off. I know it’s a lot and it seems intimidating but if it were easy, everyone with sticks and string would be doing it.
In your journey to entrepreneurship, sometimes the biggest obstacle isn’t developing the practical skillset you need to build your business but tackling the resistance in your own head. Issues of self-confidence, faith in your vision and the belief that you can actually do this will repeatedly pop-up, distract you, depress you and make it hard for you to move forward. Every entrepreneur goes through this. Although, not every one can overcome it.
These fears stop most businesses from gaining traction and prevailing until their goals are reached. What most business people come to realize is that the enemy isn’t your competition, customer criticisms or the inability to learn new skills; it’s the person in the mirror who will be the one to stop you dead in your tracks.
The opportunities are abundant. There’s a great big crafty world and if you want to build and grow a profitable business, there’s a place for you. But, you have to be ready to conquer the doubtful voices in your head and push through the feelings of doubt and fear and make it happen.
Sticks & String,
Learn more about Lori here:
- L Knits website: www.LKnits.com
- Facebook: https://www.
- Pinterest: https://www.
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/