QOTW: If you could go back to the day before you started your handmade business, what advice would you give yourself?
Hi makers! It has been a few weeks since I've brought a new QOTW to the OML table, but I'm back and ready to explore new thoughts and topics with you.
For many of us, what began as a knitting or crocheting hobby has blossomed into a handmade business. And by blossomed I mean crawled, dragged, struggled, dancing the two steps forward one step back jig, and fought tooth and nail to become the small handmade business that exists today. Making mistakes is what growing as a business and a maker and a person is all about. And oh, the mistakes we have all made! What's the saying, Hindsight is 20/20? If only we knew then what we know now.
So makers, if you could hop in a time machine and go back to the day before you started your handmade business, what would you say to yourself? What would you tell the inexperienced, innocent and wide-eyed entrepreneur you used to be?
The list of things I would tell myself before I opened my Etsy shop almost four years ago is a long one. Don't use cheap yarn, wait until you're 100% happy with an accessory before you share it with the world, and for the love of God write your patterns down (something I still don't do every time...bad, bad Kelly). But I think one of the most important pieces of advice I could offer my tender, inexperienced soul is to be myself. Cliche? Heck yes. But hear me out.
When you enter the small business world, it's almost like you're a blank canvas. Every experience you have, every person you meet, every fellow entrepreneur or maker you admire, every good or bad customer you interact with, they all leave their mark on you. Eventually that canvas is no longer blank, and if we aren't careful, we can become painted as something we no longer recognize.
It look me a long time to find my way. To find a path that felt like my own. To feel authentic and happy with how my business is perceived by others. The first couple of years my canvas was muddy and confused. There were pieces of myself showing through, but it wasn't until last year I really started to get a feel for what I wanted knitbrooks to be. And really, it all boiled down to accepting what I loved most in my personal life, and realizing I could adopt and incorporate that into my business. I love nature, being outside, the feeling of snuggling into something warm while the crisp air blows around me. I love exploring new places and soaking in the beauty of wild Canada. All of these things I love, what I find joy in, what makes me ME, is what I want and am working to bring to my handmade business.
Who knew being myself was the best business strategy all along?
Here's what Stefanie of @miyukicrochet, Melody of @bmandarines, Claire of @woolcouture, and - Ennajik of @joyofmotion would share with themselves.
If you could go back to the day before you started your handmade business, what advice would you give yourself?
If you could go back to the day before you started your handmade business, what advice would you give yourself? Tell us in the comments below, or tag us on our @ourmakerlife with #ourmakerlife with a picture of your maker life for a chance to be featured on our feed!
If you have a question in mind you would like to see answered by fellow makers, just send us a quick 'OML QOTW' email - we'd love to put together a QOTW with you.
Kelly, OML dream team
Kelly is the mind, body and soul behind @knitbrooks: handmade modern knitwear inspired by nature’s endless beauty. After completing a photojournalism program, Kelly used both knitting and crocheting as a way to relax after a long day working as a reporter/photographer. This hobby has since transformed into a way to combine her love of creating fashionable knitwear, with her passion for photography, a cozy lifestyle, and her awe and admiration of the untouched wilderness.