Her Website: www.midknitcravings.etsy.com
Her Instagram: www.instagram.com/midknitcravings
JM: Tell us a bit about your business.
MC: Midknit Cravings is a hand-dyed yarn company that my sister and I own together. We opened our doors (okay, our Etsy shop!) at the very end of January 2017, and our goal is to offer unique & fun colorways – and tonals to match everything! We dye out of our studio that our husbands built us, and we love having our own creative space to make a mess and have fun!
MC: “Both Tara and I are creative people. Tara has been a crocheter for almost 15 years, and I have been almost as long, but I switched to my real love of knitting about 5 years ago. Our maternal grandma was a prolific crocheter & knitter, and we got our fiber love from her. I think it was a natural progression that we started feeling the desire, almost need, to dye our own yarn. We sometimes knew what we wanted to work with, but couldn’t find it, so we set about finding bare yarn, and dyes. We dyed our first skeins in December 2016 and were hooked immediately.
We also both have children, and were both looking for a way that we could stay home with them. We live in a very small town, with very little in the way of secular work, so we’ve both worked from home since they were born. Hand dyeing has allowed us to stay home with them, while helping support our families, as well.”
JM: What is your favorite thing about being a yarnpreneur?
MC: “If you asked us when we first opened, we would have said that it was creating the colors… and we do LOVE that! It is a lot of fun to go into the studio in the morning with no plan and have what we call “”play days””, which are the days we create for fun and see what comes out of the pots. We absolutely love a blank yarn canvas, and how it can literally turn into anything! If we have a certain blue in our head for a shawl, we can create it. That is just amazing.
But our FAVORITE part is our customers. We absolutely love getting messages through Etsy and Instagram – helping them choose the perfect yarn for their pattern, and chatting with them about their projects. We often go digging around our yarn bins making matches & sets to send photos to customers if they are having trouble visualizing how colors work together. It feels so good to know that we are making people so happy when they find that perfect combo. And then to see projects popping up that use our yarn… well. I don’t know if there is anything more exciting than that. We are so grateful to our community. We wouldn’t (and couldn’t) do this without you! ”
MC: “There’s a few things on the admin side of the business, lol! As with any business, there is bookkeeping. Who knew it was going to be so intense? Thankfully, Tara is a bookkeeper, and she takes care of that for us (poor her!!).
Figuring out shipping was stressful. We wanted a way to offer good shipping rates, which contradicts Canada Posts policy. Their rates are insanely high, and we hate that. So figuring out a way to ship for a fair price to fellow Canadians, and internationally was a headache.
Basically, our least favorite parts are the “”admin”” areas of the business! We would love to just create and play and have fun, but that can’t happen without having to do the behind the scenes work.”
JM: What would you tell (or what advice would you give) someone that wants to be a yarnpreneur?
MC: “Oh boy… the things we wished we knew… this could get long!
First of all, this is FUN! Experiment, play, enjoy the process. Don’t compare yourself to others… trust us. You can easily become discouraged because someone will ALWAYS be ‘better’ than you. If something comes out of your dye pot and you think “”WHAT THE HECK?!?””, it’s not ruined! There is someone out there who will love it, and if not, overdye it!
Just do your own thing, let your own personal style come through, and remember that there is room for you, too. Fellow dyers aren’t your ‘competition’ – viewing them that way will hurt you. Befriend them, don’t be afraid to reach out to them, and to help others when you can. Other dyers can be your greatest learning tools. We have been so fortunate that we have learned SO much from others, and will be forever grateful for them.
But don’t forget that it is also hard work. We vastly underestimated how much work it would be. It’s not so much the dye days (although they can be long, and hard), but don’t forget the business side of it. There were a hundred things that needed to be done before we made our debut. That was hard. We just wanted to dye and get our stuff out there, but it’s not that easy. You can’t sell yarn without a name. You have to set up a shop, an email, social media accounts. You have to brand, get a logo, figure out shipping, pricing, sources for your yarn & dye. It’s a lot of behind the scenes work, which we honestly didn’t really think of until we were in the midst of it.
Oh… one last thing. ALWAYS check the bottom of your pots before putting it on your heat source. You don’t want to catch a plastic teaspoon on fire and see flames shooting out from the bottom of your pot. Not that we did that… ahem.”
JM: What do you wish you had done differently when you first started your business?
MC: “This is a hard question! We are still a very new company, and we’re still learning every day. We are really happy with how we’ve started. If you ask us this in a year, I’m sure that experience will prove that we’ve done things harder than we’ve had to!
Oh… wait. There are a couple things. I wished we would have taken more time to experiment with yarn bases and make sure we loved it before launching it. Making a switch after launching is hard, and a step we could have avoided. Also, I hate cutting our yarn labels. We are now getting them printed and cut at a printery, and that will be a huge time-saver!”
MC: “So many things!! The ideas just don’t stop – it’s almost overwhelming sometimes.
We are hoping to introduce more yarn bases to our shop, which we are currently researching now – so many samples to dye up, swatch, and test out. We want to have a sport and worsted line in time for fall. We are also excited to start doing some handmade markets & shows. We have our first one coming up in October, and we can’t wait! We would love to do some fiber-related shows next year as well!”