Friday, October 7, 2011

An Interview with...Holly Priestley

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 Holly here, here and here on Ravelry. Her patterns are all available from her web site.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere.  I like my items to be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing and fun to wear as well as knit. 

What is your favourite knitting technique?
Just one favorite?  I really like the look of a clean stockinette pattern and many of my designs use them strategically to bring emphasis to lace or cables, color work or even just the yarn itself.

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 designers' work, my Pinterest account is my friend and is brimming with all kinds of inspiring color combos and textures.  I'm not afraid of being influenced by their designs at all, I welcome the inspiration and hope that they do the same from me.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
It really depends on the project, for accessories that only have one size I'll usually recruit the help of 3 or 4 testers but for cardigans and other pieces that have multiple variations I'll usually recruit 1 or 2 for each size.  I don't have sample knitters just yet but when I start doing trunk shows I probably will acquire some of those as well. 

Did you do a formal business plan?
I did do a formal business plan but it was a few years back when I was in college and my business has changed a bit.  I think writing the plan was a great experience and helps me to think about the progression, evolution and developments my business is making and has made.

What impact has the Internet had on your business?
The Internet is a massive part of my business.  It allows me to sell patterns quickly and efficiently to the entire world, all over the United States and Canada, Australia, the UK, Chile, everywhere! I think it would be exponentially more difficult for me to get my designs beyond my hometown or state without the Internet even though this wonderful contraption is teeming with others doing the same.  I really like having the community of LYS but also the OYS (online yarn store), very different and yet very much the same.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
What was that last word?  B-a-l-a-n-c-e?  I'm not sure I know that word, never heard it before...

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I'm still working on that, I do have two part time jobs right now that are paying the major bills and this one is paying minor bills and allowing me to satiate my addiction to yarns and fibers

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Accept that knitting, designing, dyeing, etc are all learning processes.  Bottomless pits.  You can always learn something new and you probably always will!  That's the excitement of it!  Don't put off publishing your own design because you're afraid that there are more experienced knitters/designers out there than you are, just go for it, if nothing else it's a phenomenal learning experience.

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