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Knitting Community Response

It has been incredible (and overwhelming!) to read some of the comments that this blog post has gotten.

This is an entrepreneurial blog and the business dynamics are often emphasized here more than the personal side, but let me touch on the latter for a second.

One of the things that got me personally so excited in this project was seeing the enthusiasm of my 6-year old daughter as she starts to learn the craft (trust me when I say that it’s a humbling experience having a 6-year old educate you on slipknots!). Chances are good that ordinarily I would probably never touch a knitting needle, but sitting around having some ‘father-daughter time’ knitting mask-holders has inspired me to get excited in being introduced to this world as well.

One of our main hopes with knitting.com is to inspire more people who might not ordinarily embark on it (like myself!). There’s a reasonable likelihood the project is a colossal failure (as many commenters have pointed out lol) but maybe we can get a few new people to the world of knitting on the way to falling flat on our faces.

The knitting community is clearly strong – far stronger than I would have imagined just a couple of days ago! We want to support that community as much as possible, largely out of necessity as we’re neophytes in this world! We’re trying to build a team of passionate knitters and also looking to work with designers of all backgrounds (and of course, compensating as fairly as possible). We’ve already started working with some of you and we’re looking forward to reaching out to more of you in the coming months.

The comments have been more informative and sobering than you could ever imagine. We have a lot to learn and we hear your feedback, good or bad.

Dave Bryant

Dave Bryant has been importing from China for over 10 years and has started numerous product brands. He sold his multi-million dollar ecommerce business in 2016 and create another 7-figure business within 18 months. He's also a former Amazon warehouse employee of one week.

19 Comments

  1. Seeing as neither of you have knitting experience, how will you be able to discern quality knitting patterns and products from sub-par or even mislabeled content? How much overlap will you have with the already successful yarn.com?

    1. Hi – Thanks for the comment. One of the things I mentioned in the initial post but wasn’t very clear about is that we were able to make a very important hire right out of the gate with someone with a very strong knitting background, both personally and professionally. Because you’re absolutely right – although Mike and I are both learning the craft, it’s going to be a LONG time before we could have even remotely enough knowledge to be able to discern quality content or product like a knowledgeable knitter would. We’re also continuing to add more people to our team with strong knitting backgrounds.

      1. So you’re aiming to reinvent what Cassidy Forbes did for her wife some 15+ years ago?

      2. Ah so you don’t want to actually run this business then. You want to own and manage it.

  2. It’s probably worth looking at the big names in knitting websites and seeing if they’ll share financials with you! Even the biggest most well known stores are still paying wholesale prices for their yarn, and obviously there’s a limit to how much markup is acceptable. And knitting isn’t a hobby where the goal is to get the most stuff, it’s a hobby where ideally you purchase product, take weeks or months or years to turn it into a durable beautiful object, and begin the cycle anew. Craftsy dot com, in particular, might be worth looking into, as they were THE name in online classes for a long time!

    Feel free to email me if you’d like to hire a small yarn store owner to consult on how to appeal to the broadest customer base (knitters, I’ve found, are a different cross section of consumers than many others.)

    Looking forward to hearing from you
    Annie Webber, Owner, Mind’s Eye Yarns

    1. Thanks Annie – very insightful, especially about not being a hobby where the ‘goal is to get the most stuff’. We may be in touch down the road!

  3. How do you expect to compete with the *enormous* library of free patterns available on other knitting-focused websites?
    While I do sometimes buy patterns, especially for complex garments or fancy lace, for almost anything a beginner knitter might want to make there’s a free pattern (or 10) available with a quick Google search, not to mention the extensive libraries available through the various knitting and yarncraft community websites.

    1. This is one of the continuous discussion points with our team – how do we differentiate ourselves from the enormous trove of VERY GOOD content out there already? We’d love to hear any suggestions from people like yourself for anything you would like to see.
      Personally, for me as a new knitter I find it very difficult to make my way through a pattern especially as a lot of the material is text heavy. I’d like to see our content a little more demonstrative (whether that’s video, interactive illustrations, etc). Our team is working on it, but again, any feedback you have we’d love to hear!

      1. Where will your patterns come from? It takes months to produce a new pattern.

        There is concern from designers about exploitation and theft based because of bad actors previously in this space.

        1. Thanks Nancy for your response! Before we even started this project, we sat down for a couple of days with some people from the industry and they expressed to us how there is quite a bit of distrust in this space between people like ‘us’ and the pattern makers. It’s something we want to be as cognizant of as possible, specifically in terms of compensating fairly and not ripping off anyone’s designs. I’m not sure if you’re a designer yourself, but if there’s anything specific we can do that would make that relationship better, I’d love to hear.

          1. If you want to make those relationships better, actually pay designers fairly. Almost nobody does. If you have $80k for a domain name, you should be able to properly compensate designers :-) And if you actually *do* pay designers well, you might actually get knitters on your side.

            As for what’s fair, here’s a good thread to get you started: https://twitter.com/HunterHammersen/status/1374359916304027648

      2. You have expressed your intention to make serious money with this venture, therefore, any feedback you receive on your content (once you manage to figure out what that will be) should be compensated. This smacks of crowdsourcing something which you hope to use to make money, and just …. no. That’s exploitative and gross.

        You should also consider whether or not, as a person new to the fiber arts, you are in a position to really understand what the market is lacking or will bear. For heavens sake, there are a plethora of knitting how-tos already available on YouTube and various websites. Did you bother to do any in-depth market research at all?

        1. Hi Elsa – I share some of your feelings when it comes to crowdsourcing. In ecommerce, crowdsourcing is a big thing, and I’ve never loved the idea of a bunch of people competing for a ‘lowest cost wins’ mentality (and along the way, work sometimes being taken without ever being compensated for).
          You’re right about their being tons of great content already available. Finding a way to make our content different and hopefully more instructive to a new knitter (like myself!) is the only chance we’ll have for success.

      3. Asking for the knitting community to give you free feedback for your business probably won’t help your credibility.

      4. I would personally like to see patterns with embedded video tutorials! When I write patterns I often include links to videos I make, but I’d love to be able to insert the videos. Maybe even do a mouse-over for less-known abbreviations that would remind someone the definition when reading the pattern?

    1. Hey Judy – clearly! I checked out your blog. Fascinating story. Showing my naivety again, I never knew knitting specifically for actresses/actors on film sets was a thing.

  4. Have you looked at the crash-and-burn of the Making Things App a couple years ago? That was actually built by knitters, had new tools, and a massive pattern library… and it was from women already in the industry. It’s long gone now. The Making Things App failed because it did not meet the standards of the contemporary knitter—the bar is very high and the acceptance of shortcomings is very low. The Making Things App was killed by knitters who actively rejected it.

    Please be warned that you’re not dealing with grandmas here. You’re courting a very online community—one that values independent makers, local businesses, justice causes, ethical practices, and skill. I would recommend a pause for some serious research—I can’t overstate that the responses you’ve gotten here, on Reddit, and Twitter barely scratch the surface.

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