Friday, February 20, 2015

An Interview with...Lacie Lynnae

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 Lacie here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in all sorts of different places but I absolutely love to look at architecture and interesting plants. It might not seem like those two things relate to knitting, but if I see a cool old building it gets me dreaming about the types of things people wore when it was first built. As for plants, I love the beautiful shapes and repetition that exists naturally. Lets just say symmetry makes me happy.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I'm a sucker for finishing techniques! I really love a nice looking hem but that's not very interesting. As far as actual knitting goes, I think that mosaic knitting is awesome.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I think it is really important to look at other designers work because everyone is influenced by designs whether it is on the street, on the runway or on Ravelry. If you are going to be influenced anyway, it is smart to look at designers that you admire (even if you're not in the same industry). I love looking at fashion magazines to see how designers are using color and form this season, but I also enjoy just sitting outside and checking out people's street style and how they are wearing clothing in general. To me, being a creative person and a designer is just the process of curating visual inspiration and then translating that into my personal take on knitwear.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters? 

Personally, I love knitting and if I need to do a lot of in-depth explanations to make my patterns more accessible to more people so that they can enjoy knitting too, I'm all for it. I understand that in this day and age we didn't all learn to knit at age three, so maybe we need to add some extra explanations to our patterns. However, I try not to shy away from using more advanced techniques in my work, especially if I am using that technique for a specific reason. In those cases I just try to be particularly vigilant about providing detailed instructions or videos to make the process as enjoyable as possible.

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

I like to do a lot of the knitting myself but with a new baby around sometimes that just isn't that practical. These days I do have a very talented young lady who knits up some samples for me.

Did you do a formal business plan? 

I don't have a written business plan but I definitely have a detailed strategy for the 30 Day Sweater brand and where I'd like to see it go in the next 5 years.

Do you have a mentor?
Not formally but I really look up to Trisha Malcom and Erika Knight.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?

I haven't implemented everything yet but I am working on a model that is very much inspired by the book Ready, Fire, Aim and by the work of Ryan Deiss at Digital Marketer.

How are you using social media to grow your business? 

Not much actually. We have found that social media doesn't really convert to sales very well and so instead we opt to use our email list to market directly to the people who are for sure interested in what we're doing. We are going to start experimenting with Facebook advertising in the near future, but I don't really consider that the same thing.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
I am fortunate that I get to work alongside my husband and that we have a fairly relaxed environment that we can bring our daughter along to work with us. Usually we just try not to work once we're home and make sure to get out at least once a week with friends or family. It also helps that we get to walk together to and from our workspace together every day so we can chat and practice our French lessons.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself? 

This is an interesting question simply because both my husband and I run knitting websites. We started with his website New Stitch A Day in January 2011. We were supporting ourselves full-time with his website after two years. 30 Day Sweater started as a product that we launched to his audience in May of 2013 and we launched the website in October of that year. It was profitable from day one because we already had a platform audience to work from.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting? 

Start getting people on your email list right now! Having a platform (your email list) to share your content from is key to beginning to make sales. Also I would say to start talking to some people who run different sorts of businesses in the industry. Take some notes on how they became successful and what sorts of things they wouldn't do again. Learning from the mistakes and successes of other people could potentially save you a ton of time, effort and money.

What’s next for you?
Hopefully a print version of my book The 30 Day Sweater! And I am currently working on a new version of the book that walks you through the process of making a seamed, set-in sleeve sweater to fit you perfectly and can also be completed in 30 days. I think that offering a more advanced but still very "do-able" option instead of just the raglan style sweater of the first book will be really exciting for a lot of knitters!

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