Friday, February 27, 2015

An Interview with...Diane Soucy

Once a week I post interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that every one of these individuals makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the knitting world.

You can find Diane here and here on Ravelry. 

Where do you find inspiration?

My patterns are designed to be simple to knit, easy to wear, wardrobe staples. I look at the kinds of things people are wearing every day, and I look at popular catalogs and what is sold in stores also.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I love fair isle knitting, but cables and lace are my other favorites.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I don't usually look at other designers work, unless it one of my friends, just to see what they are doing.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
I have not heard of this controversy. Seems like many designers feel that they "write how they write", and if a knitter can't understand the pattern, it is the knitters fault. I try to write my patterns so that the average knitter can use them comfortably, whether they knit them as written or use them as a template for their own ideas. Coming into designing from working in a yarn shop, I have lots of ideas on how to make patterns easy to understand, with simple techniques. When I helped knitters with problem patterns, I thought many of them were written in a confusing way. I feel that knitters want to knit, not re-write the pattern.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I knit the prototype myself, then I have all of my designs test knit by someone else at least twice.

Did you do a formal business plan?
I'm not sure what that is.

Do you have a mentor?
Knitters are my mentors.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
I was helped when I first began my business by Bev Galaskes of Fiber Trends. She was very helpful and supportive to a beginner like me.

How are you using social media to grow your business?
I have a business Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a Pinterest account. My graphics person helps me with these.

Do you use a tech editor?
I always send my patterns to 3 different tech editors before they are ready for sale. Its inexpensive insurance against errors.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
I am always at work, but take time for my family whenever I want.

How do you deal with criticism?
I welcome it. Criticism is valuable feedback. I need to know what problems knitters are having with the patterns, so that I can change it if I can. If the criticism is not from someone that has used one of my patterns, I don't really pay attention to it.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I began publishing in 1997, and by 2003 I was making more money than my mechanic husband. Having a good distributor with sales reps was a key to this.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Knitting or writing patterns for publication? If you are writing patterns for publication, take classes and read all you can before you begin. Have your work test knitted and professionally edited. If knitters feel they can trust your work, they will buy your patterns. Design what knitters want, not only what you want to design.

What’s next for you?
Four new designs for fall 2015!

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