Starting a… Business in Knitting

Posted: 13th January 2016

For pleasure, for fun, for therapy, for charity or for profit; there is no doubt that knitting is one of the nation’s favourite pastimes. There is undoubtedly a “Handmade Revolution” going on and with an estimated 7.5 million knitters in the UK, supplying and supporting this growing band of enthusiasts makes good business sense.

Bagging your customers

Be where your customers are. Yarn, wool and patterns are very tactile so customers are tempted to make impulse purchases if they can see and feel. Be creative about where you exhibit; passionate knitters are everywhere and are likely to buy even when they haven’t gone out specifically to do so.

Offer a wide range of products to service everybody from the complete beginner to the expert. A fun poll on your website called something like “what sort of knit are you?” could help direct people towards buying the right products for their skill level; you don’t want them giving up if they can’t follow the pattern.

Keep abreast of new trends but not at the expense of losing traditional knitters. Offer a vintage corner with crazy patterns from the past plus retro makes for great content on your social media.

Become an expert! Offer to talk at events, do demonstrations or host a knitting club. Be generous with your knowledge and share your skills, once people trust you they will buy.

Create a community

Knitting is collaborative activity so try to create an active community around your products using social media platforms like Facebook (facebook.com). Encourage your followers to contribute; pictures of their creations, hints, tips and support – buying is easy if the customer is spurred on by the group (rather than the retailer).

Like any addiction, knitters need their fix regularly so keep a good database, recording purchases and preferences then keep customers regularly updated with appropriate products using an email newsletter (mailchimp.com).

Give something back. Charity knitting is great for people love to knit, but don’t always have a reason to do so. Create your own project and involve your community in contributing, knitforpeace.org.uk gives advice on how to start a scheme.

Go techno

Video is easier than you think, create some YouTube videos covering common mistakes, techniques and “how to” stop motion animation. YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine; anything you post will help drive traffic to your website.

Make it easy for people to make multiple purchases on your website, cross marketing your products with interactive pop ups prompting customers to add additional products to their basket “do you need needles today?”

Mobile is the latest trend and your website should be visible from all devices; long term mobile web accessibility will impact Google rankings ensure sure you can be found everywhere.

Sourcebook:

UK Hand Knitting Association, the Knitty-pedia for all things knitted and crocheted (ukhandknitting.com)

The Knitting and Stitching Show holds many events across the UK (theknittingandstitchingshow.com)

Ravelry is a free site for knitters and crocheters (ravelry.com)