I've seen it, you've seen it, fabulous photographs of shiny, lovely people sitting in wonderful studios surrounded by their creative-ness and craft, telling us how it all started for them and then one day, hey, they just Quit Their Day Job, didn't really have to prepare, it all "just happened" and now they're continually surrounded by their beautiful craft and wonderfulness.
Can you tell I'm jealous?
I've been asked a few times about what I think of making a living from knitting (my craft of choice) and yes, it seems by looking at some sites that there are some big-hitter knitters out there that make a living just from knitting, but the reality for me was a little different and I thought I'd share my story (briefly, of course).
Last year I was retrenched from my job in an investment bank in the City of London (I always called this my part-time job where my real job involved needles and some yarn) - perfect, I thought, I'll finally be able to live my dream of knitting day in and day out with the cushion (see what I did there?) of a retrenchment package to keep me warm and cosy.
The reality was a litte different. The first couple of months were great - especially not having to worry about cash - I was blogging a lot, tweeting (I have a lot to say sometimes), knitting, taking photographs, knitting some more, watching highbrow Japanese films and listenign to more Radio 4 than I dare to admit to, working on business plans, putting together creative stuff, and knitting. But that all changed when cash began to dry up (ok, an extended trip back to Cape Town didn't help), and I started to panic. Can I really make a living from some needles and yarn?
Panic led to self-doubt which had a knock-on effect. It seemed the more I stressed, the less I was able to feel free and be creative. Knitting, as you know, is a tricky discipline. It takes time and time is ultimately what you get paid for, but yet, you cannot be priced out the market. Always a balancing act. And really, even though I now had all the time in the world, I really didn't have much time at all to do everything.
So the cash finally ran out. I almost made my rent a few times just from my knitting sales, but it would have meant having to forego the extra glass of champagne and eventually I was forced back into the corporate world (I have a law degree for trade, but am a knitter by heart - sorry, couldn't resist that), but a funny thing has happened, now that I'm not stressed about where my rent is going to be paid, I'm the busiest knit-wise I have ever been (yay!).
- Consider what success means to you and from there, work out what works for you to realise it.
- Do the sums. Yip, do the sums.
- If you've done all the preparation, don't panic when things look a little tough. Keep going until it really isn't feasible to go any further.
- Luck. Yip, pretty much without luck, hard work really only goes so far. The two are not mutually exclusive.
These really are only a few points. Don't want to bore you as there are so many articles, posts, advisers , naysayers, yaysayers on this very topic. But I just wanted to share my experiences so far. Currently, Strikk is exactly where I want it to be and I'm loving the steady stream of orders and the time to offer custom pieces. There are some changes ahead, but for the moment, this is exactly perfect.
If you have some ideas or comments or experiences, I would love to hear them.