2017 and all that!
Happy New Year everyone! I’ve been reviewing the last year and thinking about my 2018 theme.
My theme for 2017: Connect
A lot of good things happened during 2017. I was one of the winners of the Designer category of Knit Now magazine’s Knitter of the Year competition. Rosalind sweater, my winning design, was published in Knit Now, as well as Painterly shawl which was inspired by Van Gogh paintings. Winchester sweater and the Seed Heads collection were published by The Knitter. I started running workshops at two new venues. And I ended the year with lots of happy memories after I celebrated a big birthday, Mr BK and I celebrated a big anniversary and my brother got married.
What Did I Do?
Elevate Your Business
I did an online course called Elevate Your Business, run by Joeli Kelly and Tara Swiger. After I finished working through the exercises I had quite a task list!
When you run an online business it’s difficult to have a sense of how many people are finding your website, visiting it again, or enjoying your blog posts. You can use Google Analytics to find some of this information, but you have to hunt for it. Nowadays, people tend to comment on social media posts rather than blogposts. It’s easy to think that no one reads your blog. Joeli and Tara recommended a website plugin that allows you to see how many people have visited your website that day every time you open a page. As I visit my website often to check, edit or add information, I see that number increasing throughout the day. You’ve no idea how encouraging this is! And, best of all, once it is set up it takes no extra effort.
I used the same plugin to add a popup window asking visitors to sign-up for my newsletter. I wasn’t sure about doing this, but I’m so glad that I did. The number of subscribers to my newsletter has increased dramatically. It’s exciting knowing that people have looked at your website and like it enough to want to stay in contact.
Newsletters and Emails
I’m communicating more effectively through newsletters and emails. I’m writing a monthly newsletter which goes out to all subscribers. I also send newsletters about my short courses and workshops to UK subscribers.
I’m giving newsletter subscribers priority booking for the short courses and workshops that I organize. So, for each season’s teaching program, I send one newsletter to let them know in advance when booking will open, and a second one when it has opened. After a couple of days, I open booking to non-subscribers. I’m also offering a discount coupon to subscribers who have already been on a short course or workshop that I host.
I’ve written some email templates so that I can send course details out quickly someone has booked, then a reminder just before the workshop or course.
This year I started teaching workshops at two new venues. The Refectory Table (in Loughborough, Leicestershire) is run by Janet Currie. Janet works with local artists and makers to deliver inspirational creative business courses, art workshops, and events. Hope & Elvis (in Welbeck, Nottinghamshire) was set up by Louise Presley and is now run by Louise Asher. They host workshops taught by leading artists and contemporary makers. Both venues focus on creative activities, so I’m rethinking my workshop content. Therefore, at both The Refectory Table and Hope and Elvis my workshops will allow you to explore your creativity through particular knitting and crochet techniques. Whereas at the Being Knitterly Studio and yarn shops my will focus on the techniques that you need for a particular project.
Out and About
I had a stand at four festivals this year: Lady Bay Arts Festival, Nottingham Yarn Expo, Hope & Elvis (for the Welbeck Winter Weekend), and Winter Woollies. Preparation went smoothly this year, so I was able to enjoy meeting everyone who visited those shows. It was great to chat with customers from previous shows as well as people who had been to my workshops.
I have also started giving talks about knitwear design, which is really enjoyable.
2018 Theme: Loose Ends
During 2018 I had a few opportunities that were too good to miss. The consequence was that I didn’t meet all of my goals for Being Knitterly. I had to be realistic about what can be achieved in a given time and put some projects on hold. When I’m planning my work schedule I prioritize magazine commissions, then teaching, then self-published patterns. I’ve done a lot of commissions for magazines with the consequence that I have put my other projects on hold for far too long. It can be quite frustrating! This year I want to work on these unfinished projects, therefore my 2018 theme is loose ends! I’m going to finish all current commissions, then review my teaching and finally work through my pattern queue of patterns waiting for self-publication. That’s actually quite a lot of work!
This time next year you can look forward to a just few more of my designs in magazines, a revamped teaching program, and many more of my designs available to buy as patterns and kits.
So, what word have you chosen for 2018 and why?