Friday, October 21, 2016

An Interview with... Randi @ Randi K Design

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 Randi here and  here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
I never search for inspiration, but can often find it in things around me. Colors can take me down many paths, and with my Norwegian background, patterns are pretty easily developed. I can remember a wallpaper on a Mexican restaurant made a great impression once, and an old Norwegian woodcarving became a pretty mitten pattern. I travel a lot, and get influenced by many cultures. As I love architecture, old buildings, beautiful tiles and pottery, woven blankets, embroidery etc, etc, soaking it up like a child in a candy store.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I can handle most all techniques, hard to pick one, but I guess I work mostly with stranded patterns. Since colors often gets me started, I guess color work is what I most often end up with.

How did you determine your size range?
For children size clothing, I design and work one of the sizes, then I add another 3 - 4 sizes larger/smaller than my model. These will all be worked by test knitters. 

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
It is very hard not to be influenced by other designers, especially since I get "high" on color combinations. I might see colors used, that easily could influence one of my up-coming designs, consciously or not. I hope that I myself can inspire other knitters in the same manner, but would never except my patterns being copied for profit by someone else. We all put a lot of work into creating and writing, and I highly respect other designers' work the same way that I am sure they respect mine.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
If we are talking several sizes, I often work 2, 3 sizes myself. In addition, I use at least one test knitter for each size, sometimes more. They all look for mistakes in charts and text. I write my patterns in 2 languages, English and Norwegian, and I have a couple of proof readers on the English versions.

Did you do a formal business plan?

Do you have a mentor?
No. I have knitted from childhood, my mentor was my mother many years ago. My background is Graphic Design, so color combinations, shapes and patterns basically goes hand in hand with what I did in my profession as a Graphic Designer. For me it is all playing and fun.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
I really don't. I am really not at all that professional, but I have always had a very strong need for creating. Years ago I made and sold clothing to stores, but not anymore. However I like to share my creations with others, so I started to write patterns. These are sold on a few web addresses, also Ravelry and Etsy

Do you use a tech editor?
I use proof readers.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
I do not stress work, at least I try not to. My life is extra ordinarily busy as it is, traveling a lot between Norway, USA and Africa, almost never staying more than 2 months in one place. I work for pleasure more than for income, although it is inspiring with great feedback, and I enjoy seeing pattern sales "take off".

How do you deal with criticism?
I try to put on a smile no matter what, and I always try to help when needed. Feedback is great, bad or good. It gives me a chance to correct and do it better next time. 

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
For me this is "play money", and I can not see that this will make me rich in any way or form. I would have to take on a way more serious work ethic, which at this point I have no time or energy to maintain.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Go with your heart, if this is your passion. Take advice from someone that succeeded, but be prepared to work hard.

What’s next for you?
Who knows? Depends on where I land in the end. Maybe a book?

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