Once a week I post interviews with interesting designers about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry. I’ve noticed that every designer makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world.
You can find Nicky here http://www.nickyepstein.com/ and here on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/people/NickyEpstein She also has a new line of button and clasps available here http://www.nickyknits.com/buttons.htm and here http://www.nickyknits.com/clasps.htm
Where do you find inspiration?
Basically, from everywhere--Nature,museums, fabrics,art books,architecture,sometimes even in just a ball of yarn or the color of yarns.
What is your favourite knitting technique?
Textural applique...although I enjoy most techniques,even intricate colorwork.
How did you determine your size range?
Traditional small, medium,large and x-large, depending on the design.
Do you look at other designers work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
Of course, I look at other designer's work but I'm not actively influenced by them--Sometimes 7th avenue designs will spark a knit design variation,shapes, lengths etc.
How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters?
I don't like the term "dumbing down" and I do not practice the implications of the term. I try to make my designs "knitter friendly", and even with my more intricate designs, I know and I've been told by knitters, that they are easier to knit than they look.
How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I do most of it myself and usually do all the finishing, but because of, work load, deadlines, etc, I use about 3 dedicated and trusted knitters, sometimes more depending on the book and deadline.
Did you do a formal business plan?.
No, I operate on an informal and unstructured (sometimes frantic) plan.
Do you have a mentor?
I think I'm too old to have a mentor.
Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
No, but I'd like to talk to Bill Gates.
What impact has the Internet had on your business?
Pretty big, particularly in getting information out on my books and patterns, and enabling me to have my own website that keeps me in personal touch with the knitting community.
Do you use a Tech Editor?
Yes, I have a few tech editors that work on my books.
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Knitting is a big part of my life...I work and play hard...and try to combine the two lifestyles.
How do you deal with criticism?
As a designer, you must expect criticism...I evaluate the source, take it in stride, and usually block out the extreme ones, both good and bad.
How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
Still trying. It took over 20 years of very hard work to establish my reputation until it turned profitable.
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Don't quit your day job...think outside the box...and develop a strong skin!