Friday, July 13, 2018

An Interview with...Petra Breakstone


 





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
Petra here and here on Ravelry.

Petra supplies complete knit kits, yarns, individual patterns, e-books and fabulous shawl pins...



Where do you find inspiration?
Literally in anything. From a color combination that strikes me, a shape, a store display, a movie, a flower, a bird and so on. Sometimes I wake up because I had a great idea and need to write it down immediately so I won't forget. It's endless I tell you. I have to tell my brain to shut up, literally.
 
https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/beckett-poncho



What is your favourite knitting technique?
I like lace knitting, sampler type shawls/garments with many stitch patterns to not get bored, all knitted in the Continental knitting method.


Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
Shapes, colors and lines may strike up an idea for me, yes.
 



How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself? 
It fluctuates, you loose some and you acquire some. My current test knitter pool consists of 50 plus volunteers. Some garment tests require up to 27 testers at a time to get all the sizes done.


Did you do a formal business plan?
Along the way I made one, when I applied and actually had a yarn cart in a local mall with seven knitters along with myself manning the many mall hours. Not when I started.
 
https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jayda


Do you have a mentor?
No I don't. It might help though.


Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
I just followed my way of doing business of when I rescued a knit shop years ago that I owned for more than four years. It really is more of a knit party. I tend to want my knitter friends and myself to have a good time. Business sometimes is secondary. 
 


Do you use a tech editor?
Yes, Uta from Germany, she started test knitting for me and always had great feedback. So I fired my then editor and hired Uta. She and I have been a team for a while now. She is all about the grading, the charts, schematics and numbers. I am about the design and aesthetics.

How do you maintain your life/work balance? 
What balance? I don't have any, I work all the time. Well I love my work and having an online business with knit kits, yarns and other knitting related goodies plus a Ravelry page and two online knitting groups, there isn't a whole lot of time left at the end of the day.


How do you deal with criticism?
I always reply, first and foremost. My goal is to make people happy with my work and so I do find ways of doing just that. In fact I go out of my way to make people happy and 99.97% of the time that is possible. Then there are a few times that the nature of the people criticizing won't allow you to make anything right for them which I have a hard time with when that happens.
 
https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/woot

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
Years and I am not where I would like to be now, which is due to me being too generous with sales, promotions, freebies and such. If I had a business manager, he/she would scream at me...


What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
For me it's a two fold question, having not just a pattern business but also selling physical goods. I think though if knitting is not in your blood, then don't do it. It has to be a way of life, or you have to have money to go in big from the get go.


What’s next for you?
More designing and not just knitwear but gadgets and tools for knitting. I have shawl pins manufactured and have other goodies in the works that I can't talk about just yet. My mind is always going and surprises me with new ideas. Hopefully for a long while to come.


“Knitting is like therapy, only with two sticks and some pretty string, but in the end you have something pretty to show for.” 
 





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