Meet Your Maker - Perfectly Knotted

Welcome to the second post in my Meet Your Maker series. As I mentioned in my previous Meet Your Maker post Claire (Perfectly Knotted) was the person who inspired me to open my own Etsy shop so it is only fitting that she be the first maker featured.

Introduce yourself and your business.

 I'm Claire from Perfectly Knotted. I run both and Etsy shop and a website where I sell handmade knit and crochet wear, patterns, and faux fur pom poms. My main focus at the moment is supplying super soft, fluffy faux fur pom poms!

How did you launch your business & what made you want to start a small business?

 A couple years ago, my friend and I were talking about how expensive those little crochet crop tops were at stores like Forever 21. We were like, hey we could totally make these if we learned how to crochet! Fast forward several YouTube videos and failed attempts and I finally made a decent looking top! Around this time, I also started knitting again when I was home visiting my family for Christmas. I decided I really enjoyed knitting and crocheting as a hobby and started doing it whenever I watched TV and movies at home (=A LOT of knitting and crocheting). I gave away tons as gifts and then thought, "hmmm maybe I could sell some of this". I initially only wanted to sell enough so that I could cover the cost of supplies and maybe make a little spare change, but once I made a few sales and had people other than family and friends interested in buying form me I started thinking about actually trying to turn this into a real business. I opened my Etsy shop in May of 2016.

What are some struggles you had starting your business and how did you over come them?

 Once I decided to really put effort into developing my business, I realized how many little things are involved and how much time I needed to invest in it. My biggest struggle was actually sitting down and putting work into my listings and SEO keywords and all that. It was easy to list an item, but to actually make it look good and make people want to buy it is much harder. This lead to my other big struggle. Photos. Taking photos with my phone in an apartment with crappy lighting does not result in high quality photos. I also lived alone, so any pictures with the items on a real person had to be selfies. I did lots of research, and spoke to some other maker friends I had made through Instagram. I started batching my photos whenever it was a good lighting day (natural light is key!), using white foam boards as my backdrop, using photo editing software, etc. I still have lots of work to do, but if you look at my old photos compared to now, it is a HUGE improvement.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

 My inspiration comes from a lot of different places. I LOVE being all cozy and warm, snuggling up in blankets when it is cold, so majority of my products are inspired by that. I use mainly super chunky yarn that is nice a soft and squishy, to try to create that warm, cozy, snuggly feeling for my hats and scarves! My colour inspiration comes from my own clothes most of the time! I wear a lot of neutrals and jewel tones, so I'm drawn to those colours when I am planning up a project or shopping the yarn aisles. I also draw a ton of inspiration from the maker community. I have made so many friends through this community and have gotten tips and tricks and suggestions from many of them. I regularly buy patterns from my talented friends and incorporate them into my product line. One super important person is Mollie from White Owl Crochet Co. She has helped me out so much over the last couple years, and her products are AMAZING. She has such a unique style and brand, and it always inspires me to keep on developing and working on my own.

What motivates you as a maker?

 I love the feeling of saying "I made this!" It gives me so much satisfaction to make all of theses things by hand and have other people actually want to buy them (I still am blown away every time!). Each sale gives me a little more motivation to keep on making. The money is not why I started this business, or why I want to continue it, but it feels SO good to be able to save up a travel fund or purchase something nice for myself and know that this is the reason!

What is a goal you set for yourself as a maker/artist and how did you achieve it?

 My goal over this past fall was to get more organized and set up more of a plan for my shop. Fall and winter are of course the busy season for anyone that makes winter items. Christmas markets are everywhere, pom pom sales are through the roof, and here was little old me, ready to cry (happy and stressed tears) because I was so busy. I wanted more balance between my full time job, my business, and just having a life. I got realistic and worked out how much I could accomplish in a week and changed my shop policies to accomodate this. I only take a certain number of orders a week so I don't get overwhelmed. This also gives me more time to focus on the creative aspect and work on designing patterns and making new knit and crochet items.

What is your favorite part of being a maker?

 As I mentioned before, being able to say "I made this" is probably my favorite part of being a maker. Also, the endless number of possibilities for things to make.

Do you have any tips for new makers/ small business owners?

 I think my main tip would be to really invest the time at the beginning for setting up your shop and listings and learn how to take good photos and how to reach your target audience. Also, do research into registering your business and taxes and all that! I never thought my business would take off the way it did, and I was HORRIBLE at keeping receipts when I started, so come tax time, I couldn't claim a huge chunk of my expenses :(

What are some hobbies or interests you have outside of your small business?
 Travel and reading. I read A LOT, most years I set a goal of 100 books a year. I absolutely love young adult fiction and fantasy series. My main goal for making money with this business was to save for traveling. I constantly have the travel bug! My goal is 30 countries by the time I am 30, and I am on track at 26 countries and 26 years old! I would also love to go to every continent!

Share a fun fact about yourself.
I have really loose joints, so I can hyper extend my elbows, knees etc. My arms look like they are broken when I hyper extend my elbows 😂  Its a great party trick haha!

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