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 Francoise here and here on Ravelry.
Where do you find inspiration?
Depending on the design, I draw inspiration from nature or the Maori culture. If I’m having a particularly hard time coming up with a design, I play word association games with the yarn I’m working with to see what themes pop up.
How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
It can be annoying to have to spell things out in so much detail sometimes, but its not about me, it’s about the customer experience. If they’re happy, then I’m happy. I can’t make too many assumptions about a particular knitter’s experience level and how they process information so I have to do my best to take all of that into consideration.
How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
Usually more than 4 or 5.
Did you do a formal business plan?
Nope! I had no idea what I was doing in terms of business in the beginning because it was just a simple hobby and I was doing it for fun. Now I’m focusing on growing my social media following and my email lists.
Do you have a mentor?
Yes, I have two! Lucinda from the LYS Mont-Tricot in Canada and Kalurah from While They Play Designs. I find it’s important to be close to people who are ten steps ahead of you so you can go to them for advice, and find inspiration and motivation from their journey.
Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
I’m still figuring that out, but I’m experimenting with releasing some patterns for free while they are being tested. This is to help with list building, driving traffic to my website, building a connections with new knitters and giving them the chance to support me later on by purchasing the official, final pattern when it goes on Ravelry.
Do you use a tech editor?
From time to time. I mostly rely on the feedback from my test knitters, but I am currently in the process of hiring a tech editor “full time” for my future designs.
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
I set a pretty rigorous schedule. 8 AM to 4:30 PM is time for work and after that, I put all my work (which includes knitting away). There are some times when I have to work overtime, but I try to keep it pretty relaxed.
How do you deal with criticism?
It used to really stress me out, but now I handle it by just simply talking to who ever has having trouble with my work and seeing how I can make their knitting experience better. They really appreciate it when a designer goes out of their way to help them out.
How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I’m still not a point where I’m paying the bills or making a huge profit, but being able to support my husband and I is my end goal, in terms of finances.
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Don’t quit your day job just yet! Take it slow and steady if needed, but most importantly have fun. It takes a while to get things going, possibly a year or two (or more), but if you start today, you’ll be thanking yourself in the years to come that you made the choice to act.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on a design e-course focusing on accessory patterns. I’ve been talking to current and new followers to my work what pain points they’ve been having from making the transition from knitting other designers patterns to designing and writing their own. It’s these problems that I hope to solve in my upcoming online course. In the mean time, you can already find some designer and online biz resources on my blog at www.arohaknits.com