Friday, April 15, 2011

An Interview with...Anne Corcoran

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 Anne here on Ravelry  and her patterns are here.

Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from poetry, nature. I like sets. For example - the 4 seasons, the signs of the Zodiac, which I am working on now. I am also part way through an exploration of light and lace.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I love knitting lace.

How did you determine your size range?
You don't really have worry about size with lace.

Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be  influenced by their designs?
I have never really look at the work of others. I have to have something come together from my inspiration, the stitches, and the garment shape.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters?
I don't dumb down patterns. I knit in fine yarn, with fairly simple stitches and very little return row patterning.  I tend to like to keep things fairly simple anyway.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?

I have one crack test knitter who keeps me on my toes!!

Did you do a formal business plan?
No formal plan.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
The templates are out there of designers who have pattern lines. I just decided one day to focus on lace.

What impact has the Internet had on your business?
I could only do my business with the Internet.

Do you use a Tech Editor?
I did use a tech editor, but there were still mistakes.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
I knit in the evening and on weekends.  I run Infiknit during the week and I cook and clean, shuttle the kids around and knit around these activities.

How do you deal with criticism?
I use to get really upset when there was an error in a pattern. One knitter was really very nasty about it - she is now my test knitter. I have decided that if this were meant to be, it will be, despite errors, set backs, criticism etc. I am a type C personality.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
Q.A. is not self-supporting yet.  It is my retirement project.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Do it. Just don't quit your day job. Have a back up plan - i.e. plan to teach or something. Know that you will have to be a three-ring circus to generate any amount of a following. Which means doing what I see Mary Beth Temple doing on my Facebook wall - she tweets regularly, posts as often,does designer "spots" on audio & video. Travels all over the country, all the time - as does Lucy Neatby, Fiona Ellis, Cat Bordhi.

It is the rare designer that can just knit it and they will come, because they have to know where you are.  If you advertise, plan to spend about $10 - 20,000.00 per year on advertising and your design will have to be so good that people will come back again and again and again.

See another interview with Anne here, in which she works under her second identity as Carol Tomany.

No comments:

Post a Comment