July 7, 2015

Seller Spotlight with Athena & Lisa of Knits N Knacks

We love that two best friends are running a thriving business together and balancing an abundance of orders with family time. Athena & Lisa of Knits N Knacks create a variety of amazing knitted and crocheted items for babies and adults, as well as some amazing patterns. Learn how they’ve grown a huge Facebook following and read about their unique goal of working with more stay at home moms in the future. We would also like to give them a huge thank you for all their Made Urban support! We love following their Facebook page and seeing which fellow URBEE’s listing they will share for their “Made Urban Mondays”! Be sure to give them a like to follow along and see if you get featured: https://www.facebook.com/KnitsNKnacks4U

Tell us about your company:
Knits N Knacks….. we are two best friends (Athena and Lisa) who love to play with yarn! Based out of Fort Assiniboine, a tiny little town with a population of around 150. Home of the worlds largest wagon wheel and pick! We sell quality hand made knit and crochet winter wear. Knits N Knacks started out doing mostly kids hats, ventured into photography props for newborns and now we specialize in ladies winter wear. Both of us also love designing and writing patterns that we also sell.

Why did you start your business?

We had so many friends, family and our husbands tell us we should sell our knits. So we figured we may as well give it a try and sell something we love to do anyways. Knitting and crocheting is like our own private therapy sessions at the end of a long day with the kids! We actually started out selling knit wear and second hand consignment items. Hence the knits and the knacks. As the knit items became more popular we shut down the consignment portion and we both taught ourselves to crochet so we could expand our line of products. Getting messages from happy customers and seeing fan photos just make our hearts happy! 

A coffee shop that supplies your caffeine fix or a local designer that wowed you…tell us about a local company that has been a lifesaver to your business:
Since we are in such a small town most all our orders are mailed out. We would like to thank our local post mistresses that put up with our many parcels during our busy winter months. They are so patient and always have little treats for our kids. We have also met so many ladies with similar business that we are now friends with. It’s so nice to have the support of other great crafters. A big thank you as well to an amazing local photographer, Kim from Vanleeuwen Photography! We trade back and forth and she provides us with the most beautiful product photos. Kim also helped us with the designing of our logo. It is the best feeling seeing something you made on tiny newborn babies. 

What was the first product you offered and how did you begin selling it?
The first things we started selling were scarves. After my (Athena’s) grandma taught me to knit I probably made close to 20 scarves before I tried anything else. We first started at our local Christmas farmers market and then moved to Facebook. 

What’s your favorite product out of all that you make and why is it your favorite?
Our favorite product is the Annabeth Slouch hat because its a pattern we wrote ourselves. We both have one in our personal collections and love them! It also happens to be our best seller.

What sets your business apart from others doing something similar?
Instead of specializing in just knit or crochet items we can offer a wide variety of both. Also since there are two of us we can take in more orders at one time. We are also both very good at seeing an item a customer will ask for and just making up a pattern for it… It may take a try or two but it’s worth is to get it perfect. 

Tell us about a business disaster you learned a valuable lesson from and can (hopefully) laugh about now:
Not really a huge disaster but we have found that we need to be really specific on sizes when taking custom orders. For example our 2yr old’s head may be a lot different in size than a customer’s child’s head. In the begining we had happily re-made more than a few hats for customers, when the original ended up being a little small. We strive for perfection so if you’re not happy then we are not happy and we will do all we can to fix our mistake. Luckily we have not had any sizing issues for some time now. 

What has been the biggest challenge of running your business and how have you overcome it?

Balancing our family time and “work” time. So, finding the time to get our orders done. With 6 kids 7yrs and under between the two of us, we have spent many a late night knitting and crocheting up a storm. Also finding the will power to have to turn some orders away when we get too busy. 

What’s been the most important aspect to growing your business?
Our Facebook page has been very helpful to get our name out to our customers. Also participating in giveaways and auctions helps to gain new fans. It is really fun doing larger markets around the Edmonton area, it’s so nice to meet our fans face to face! We have lately also ventured onto Instagram and now that we are on Made Urban we hope to gain and even bigger fan base. 

We like to help hold people accountable so tell us one of your goals!

To use up our yarn that we already have for orders, while resisting the urge to buy more….. HAHA good luck to us. In all seriousness though, as we expand we would love to grow our team to include other local stay at home moms. To help us complete orders and give them some extra income. We love our small town and would like to give back to it.

Be sure to head on over to Knit N Knacks Made Urban Storefront to view more of their amazing products: www.knitsnknacks.madeurban.com 

Thanks for answering our questions Athena & Lisa and for being a part of Made Urban!

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