Meet Your Maker- Knitty Natty

This week on MYM we have Natalie from Knitty Natty. I absolutely love Natalie's work and her YouTube Podcasts are fantastic. Natalie shares some amazing tips in this post and I think it will be very helpful to a lot of makers (including myself). Be sure to check out her work if you haven't already!

 Introduce yourself and your business.

Hi! I'm Natalie, also known as Knitty Natty. I'm the knit and crochet designer behind Love in Stitches. I published my first design in July of 2018 and haven't looked back. By day I'm a reading specialist at an elementary school, but by night I'm a designer, podcaster, tutorial creator, and lover of all things yarn!

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

After a two-year social media hiatus, I was ready to get back online, but not interested in the personal drama that came with being plugged in. So I started an anonymous, yarn-only Instagram account in August 2017. I didn't include my name or any photos of me; and wouldn't you know that people still found me, lol! After 6 or so months of being anon, I figured out that I didn't want to just post pictures of my personal projects anymore. I wanted to connect! So I made my Instagram account more personal and started a blog. I'm a huge blabber mouth when it comes to yarny things and I needed more space to chat about it. Eventually the blog wasn't enough to contain my passion and I started a YouTube channel where I upload weekly podcasts and tutorials. Somewhere along the line I started designing knit and crochet patterns too. I just can't stop!

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

I think the biggest obstacle for makers, and women in particular, is fear. "What if my pattern is a dud?" "What will people think if I show my messy house?!" "What if I say something that is offensive and hurts others?" Just in case no one has told you this: THERE IS SPACE FOR YOU IN THIS COMMUNITY. So my biggest tip is to be yourself. Even though we all know that what we show the outside world is inherently "cleaned up", it doesn't have to be fake. What you have to offer the right people will show up for. So just be authentic, kind, and consistent and the rest will come in time.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

My designs usually go two ways. Sometimes I have a yarn dyer contact me and say, "I want this type of project in this yarn." In that case, I try to draw a lot of inspiration from the dyer his/herself or the mood of the yarn that they've sent me. I typically do a fair amount of research on the colors and stitches so that they are meaningful to the design. This usually takes me longer than it does to make the tangible piece!

Other times, I find my concept by identifying a problem or gap in previous designs. I made my Float Tote because I couldn't find a product out there that would keep my yarns separated for colorwork and still squish down in my bag. My latest knit design, Louisiana Street, began with the idea that I wanted to work in reverse order from all the previous shawls I've ever knit- that is, from widest side to smallest point. These types of designs typically move faster since they come to me organically.

What motivates you as a maker?

I am definitely motivated by other makers. When I'm feeling overwhelmed with work, I watch a knitting podcast during lunch or look at a crocheter's Instagram. Instantly that urge to create comes back to me and I just want to get to home and start making! The most inspirational times are when I'm able to attend yarny events. Being surrounded by other people who understand your affinity for twisty, acid-dyed sheep fluff?! Yes, please. Sign me up!

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

I strive to keep growing every month. I find it helps to set very realistic goals for yourself. Instead of saying, "I want to have 500 Instagram followers by X date." Say to yourself, "I'm going to post every day on Instagram for a month and see how that affects my follower count." I find goals that I know I can achieve through my own consistent work much more rewarding than performance-based goals.

What is your favorite part of being a maker?

Hands down, my favorite part is the community. Being a capital "M" Maker is not exactly mainstream. Sometimes the world has a hard time understanding why I *NEED* to work with yarn every single day to maintain sanity, but my community doesn't. The online maker community is massive and strong. There are so many people I've met on social media {because of knitting} that I've had the privilege to then meet in person. "Maker" isn't just a hat I put on when I walk out the door for the day, it is woven into me (pun intended) for good.

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

Be wary of trying to do too much. Overwhelmed people don't make good decisions. Write down all of your goals for your business and put them into a priority order. Let's say you want to start a weekly podcast, publish a design every month, and build your own website. Decide which element is most essential and begin with that. So maybe you start by doing your weekly podcast. At first it takes up a lot of time and brain space, but after a month or so, it becomes routine! Then it's time to get out that goals list again and start working on the next thing. Now you can put your whole self into building your own website. And guess what?! Since you have your podcast down pat, both those goals can coexist. Oh, and you have a following from your podcast so your website traffic starts out with a nice boost. By the time you get to putting out a pattern every month, you'll have a wonderful foundation. And so on.

What are some hobbies or interests you have outside of your small business?

While most of my time outside of work is truly spent with yarn, I do get away from it now and again! Currently I'm loving Pilates classes. I usually get to go twice a week to my local studio. I'm also a casual reader and can't get enough of Nicholas Sparks right now. I know it's cheesy, but they're such nice getaways. Plus, some of his earlier books are kind of dark! I think I've read almost all of them now so I'll need a new obsession soon. My husband and I both play Pokemon Go. He got me into it and I was shocked how much fun I had! It gets us out of the house and exercising together.

Share a fun fact about yourself.

I'm a huge Disney Parks fan! It's all my husband's fault.  My husband's family went all the time growing up. I never went to Disney as a child- in fact, the first time I went I was 24 years old. We've been to both Disney World and Disneyland multiple times in the past few years and have plans for Disney Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong in 2021. We plan to live it up as Disney adults before we take kids!


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