Monday, June 11, 2012

Giveaway #1: Lavender Hill Knits

Our first giveaway is from:

// etsy // facebook //

Lavender Hill Knits is a lovely Etsy shop that I had discovered a while ago. Julie was so kind as to be willing to sponsor this giveaway and even answer a few questions for me so that we could all learn more about her and her Etsy shop. I greatly enjoyed reading Julie's answers and got inspired by them as I hope you do, too. So please take the time to read them. :)

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I'm married and have two boys (ages 19 and 15) . Grew up in Chicago and was taught how to make tatted lace by an Aunt when I was about 8 years old. She gave me a book to take home that had knitting and crochet instructions and I taught myself how to do both with that book. I also took sewing lessons at a local shop when I was about 10 years old, so I've been doing needlework since I was pretty young. I moved to Boston after I finished college. During the 25 years I lived in New England, I've lived in Mass., New Hampshire and then Maine. We moved to Tennessee in 2010 for my husband's job. It's given me a whole new way of looking at knitting. I have so many wool sweaters, scarves and socks that I made to keep warm in New England, but don't have much opportunity to wear them down here:) So now my designs are really focused on items for the home and lighter scarves. Items that knitter's in any climate can enjoy making. 


When did you first start your Etsy shop?


I started my Etsy shop about 2 1/2 years ago. After reading the book - The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs - I was inspired to take my little business to the next level and start selling on the internet.


What have you learned since starting your own business?


Selling on the internet is challenging. I'm not a photographer by any means, so it took me a while to be able to take good photos for my shop. Also, using as many social networking tools as you can is important to promote your shop. However, using facebook, pinterest, instagram, twitter, etc. takes time and I'd much rather be designing or creating than trying to figure out why my photos won't upload to facebook! Trying to make time for everything you have to do to keep your business running takes a lot of time management. For my little business I am the designer/creator, shipper, marketing manager, supplies buyer, accountant, customer service department and new business developer! My 15 year old son helps me with some of those tasks:) I learn so much by communicating with my customers and using some of their ideas to create new items or to improve the ones I currently sell. I've noticed that there are a lot of people who "copy" what others are doing on Etsy. Because of that, I am always trying to take my business to a new level by coming up with new designs that are unique, different than what other sellers are offering. My goal for this summer is to develop my own website so I can have one place for customers to go to shop, see what I'm working on and communicate with me directly.

What inspires you?

Everything around me is an inspiration. I love color and nature and architecture. I take pictures with my phone of things that look interesting so I can look at them later. I carry a notebook around with me so I can write down ideas when they pop into my head. I also have a notebook on the nightstand next to my bed with a pen that lights up so I can write down ideas that come to me at night! I have folders full of ideas for new knitting patterns, just need more time in the day to bring them all to life! So many ideas...so little time!


What are some of your favorite things to make?


I really love making lampshade cozies and knitted curtains/valances (which I will be adding to my shop soon). I love the coziness and texture of knitted fabric and really like to experiment with working out new ways to add knitting to different places in my home. 


What advice do you have for any aspiring Etsy shop owners or those just starting out on the journey of running their own business?

I have both an undergraduate and master's degree in business and that has been a great help in running my business. I do wish I would have taken some design classes though. I think taking some business classes (marketing, accounting, business planning) would be a big help if you are thinking of starting your own business. I took a couple of entrepreneurship classes in graduate school and they really inspired me to start my own business. I started off slow, with a few items, so I could do it on a part-time basis while I was at home raising my two boys. As they got older and I had more time to devote to my business, I increased the business and branched out to other websites to expand (like Craftsy). That's the wonderful thing about running your own business, you can do it part-time or full-time so it will fit into your schedule. 
I think the most important thing you can do is to create a uniqueness to your business. Creating a specific "feel" or "brand" for your shop is important. You want to be able to set yourself apart from others. I'm always looking to add a new and interesting design to my shop that will get people to visit. I may not sell many (or any!) of that item, but it gets people to check out my shop. 
You never know if you'll be a success unless you try! So if you have a love and passion for something you want to share with others, go for it! 

Thank you soo much, Julie!

Julie has a variety of PDF knitting patterns, stitch markers, and bags.

knitting stitch markers - snag free - red millefiori bead  - set of 6 - three loop sizes available


Project Bag for knitting or crochet - chenille leaves and flowers - purple lavender green  - free knitting pattern with purchase


knitting project bag - crochet project bag - amigurumi project bag - wristlet pouch - Urban Zoologie owls orange - free knitting pattern too


Knitting Pattern PDF - Felted Wool Nashville Bag - as seen in The Knitter magazine  - includes free tutorial on making a fabric lining


Knitting Pattern PDF - Women's Felted Moc Slippers - great handmade gift idea - pattern using BULKY weight yarn


Knitting Pattern PDF- A Walk on the Beach Cowl/Scarf - great gift idea - neckwarmer cozy - knitting pattern using worsted or sock yarn


Now, for the giveaway: Julie has offered any two PDF patterns for the winner! I wish I could win this one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 comments:

  1. I loved reading her answers! That did inspire me, sometimes the transition from small business selling to friends to online store is a lot of swallow! So it's cool to see that I'm not the only person with troubles :)

    also, her stuff is beautiful!!

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  2. Also, I tried to add your blog button, but I can't find the code..?

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  3. I actually like the "a walk on the beach cowl"!! gorgeous!!

    x.

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