Being a female creative has its challenges on both large scale and small. Today, we’re chatting with Kathryn about her etsy shop, Kathryn’s Handiworks.
1) Tell us about your shop, what you make, and when you started.
I taught myself how to knit from a book when I was about 10. I made random items and gifts for other people, but I didn’t really start selling anything until I taught myself to crochet about five years ago. Crocheting is much faster and much more my style. People started requesting items, so I made a Facebook page and soon after, an Etsy shop. My maiden name is Handwerker, so I called my shop “Kathryn’s Handiworks.” Loveys are probably my biggest seller. They’re basically tiny round blankets with different character heads attached. I also make your typical hats and scarves. Holiday decorations, like table runners and Christmas tree skirts, are my favorite. I also make baby blankets for each new baby in my family. But honestly, I can make just about anything. I love a good challenge.
2) “Crafting” is sort of a double-headed beast nowadays. On one side, a “crafted” piece in marketing terms usually means upscale and expensive, but a “crafty” woman is usually not seen that way at all. What is it about crafting that speaks to you?
Crafting is my happy place. I have a serious inability to sit still; my hands are always busy, even when watching TV. I’ve also always been a somewhat anxious person, and crocheting calms me down like nothing else. I also like transforming balls of yarn into something beautiful! Crocheting sometimes feels like a “grandma” activity, but it’s starting to make a comeback. I love meeting other “young folks” who crochet. So basically, everything about crocheting speaks to me.
3) You stick mostly to crochet and yarn crafts. Would you like to branch out from there?
I’ve always been a “crafty” type person. I’ve spray painted half the furniture in our house and made random mixed media canvas things. But as far as selling, I don’t really have plans to branch out. Crocheting is so versatile that I could make something new every week for the rest of my life. I definitely have plans to branch out within the yarn world, though. I didn’t do any craft fairs this year because my husband just got transferred from our home in Louisiana to Oklahoma City, so we’re in the process of moving. But that’s definitely something I want to do next year. I frequently make things for people that I’ve never made before, so I’m pretty happy with that level of “branching out.” My husband has started painting, a la Bob Ross videos, and I plan on putting those in my craft fair booth. He can branch out enough for the both of us!
4) I totally missed how this niche started, but can you explain amigurumi?
Amigurumi literally means “knitted or crochet stuffed dolls” in Japanese. To quote Wikipedia, “the pervading aesthetic of amigurumi is cuteness.” They’re basically cute little stuffed dolls or animals. Apparently it became popular in the US in the mid-2000s, but I didn’t catch on until a few years ago. I’ve made tiny pigs, ducks, llamas…basically anything cute! I also crochet play food, which may or may not count as amigurumi, depending on who you ask.
5) For other creators out there– how do you choose how to price your pieces? Is it hard to determine a value for your work?
Pricing is definitely one of the most difficult aspects of this. I start by checking out Etsy and seeing what other people are charging for similar items. I try to go in the middle, so mine isn’t the cheapest but also not the most expensive. Of course you want to make sure you get at least enough profit to cover your supplies. But charging even minimum wage for your time quickly prices you out of a sale most of the time. It’s a really fine line.
6) And how can our readers check out your shop?
Love #CreativeInsights? Check out our previous interview with writer Kayla Cagan!