The Importance of Having an Email List

This week in SWATCH Studio, as we are welcoming in new enrollments for the course, students are already asking some very good questions:

I'm wondering if a website is essential or can you make a biz work through using social media? I feel like I know more about how to use social media than making a website and I couldn't afford to pay someone to make one for me. If it is essential can you recommend any resources to help make a diy website?

As someone who is just getting started in designing and wanting to get a business going, what are the must haves I should start with? Something techy? A certain number of patterns? Separate accounts for things? Help a newb out

I wonder about how to grow my "following" and getting my patterns noticed. I know I can't convert every pattern view but more views couldn't hurt. I'd love to hear more ways to market myself and my work without being spammy.

One of my problems so far is finding test knitters. I've posted in a few places but haven't gotten any bites yet. How can you find reliable test knitters that are willing to actually test knit your patterns when you're just starting out and don't have any following yet?

As I was reading through these, I realized that the answer to all of them was very much the same:

Email lists!

A website is not essential when you’re just starting out, (although it’s useful to have down the line), because you can certainly make it work on social media. What you really need to complement your social media presence is a landing page for your email list. Note: A landing page is a one-page website that is used to collect email addresses.

To get a business going, when you are starting out, it is crucial to have an audience for your work! So, a must is to have an irresistible freebie that you will promote on your landing page, enticing people to sign up for your email list. People who are willing to sign up for your list, in order to get the freebie, are already interested in what you provide, or they wouldn’t have signed up at all!

Growing your following and getting noticed: email lists. A good way to grow your email list is to present any new pattern releases, to your list, possibly with a special subscriber discount—you have to give extra benefits to your followers!

As for finding reliable test knitters, I have a special list on my website. I have a sign-up form for those who are interested in being a test knitter for me. This helps when I have a pattern that I want to have tested. I just send an email to them, and I know my call will be answered, because those on that list signed up specifically for this purpose.

So why are email lists so essential?

It’s still the best way to build an engaged audience, sell a product online, or create hype around your next big event or service project. When people signup to be on your list, they are interested in what you do and want to stay in the loop. They want you to let them know when you have a new pattern release, an upcoming KAL, or any other cool event.

That’s why I’m teaching my students in SWATCH Studio, this semester, how to set up, build and grow their email list AND Facebook Group, through a FREE and LIVE 6-week workshop. (Why FB groups too? Because it’s a great way to foster daily engagement and relationship building, and to see what your audience wants from you!) This is the only time I will be doing this workshop, along with the SWATCH Studio course, as I will be offering this workshop as a separate course in the future.

Enrollment for SWATCH Studio closes October 10th. If you want to discover your magic as a knitwear designer, so you can kick start your design career AND learn my secrets behind building my audience, click here to enroll now!

Aroha Knits Revamping + FREE New Pattern

What busy and stressful these past few months have been! Between traveling back to the States for a visa renewal, hosting a second round of the 5 Shawls, 5 Days challenge, taking part in Master Brand and really taking a good look at what it is I want to do and where I want to take Aroha Knits, I am exhausted!

But I'm also on fire and excited to be pushing Aroha Knits into a new direction. So what's new? 

Well let's start with the obvious, the MAJOR facelift. Before Aroha Knits was pink, now it's blue! I've been working closely with Chelsea Fitch of knitfitch.com on my visual branding - she not only created my new logo, but she also helped me determine my visual story, the colors, the imagery, the feel... I'm still working on updating my Instagram to be taking that same direction, but my website finally feels as it should be! Yay! You'll also hopefully find that it's much easier to navigate around now. Depending on who you are and what magic you like to create (knitters, aspiring designers and indie yarn dyers), you'll find a section catered to you and how you would like to experience Aroha Knits.

My patterns have also gotten a change as well. You'll be able to see the new look in the FREE download I have for you in this blog post.

PATTERN NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

But I think the biggest change and shift that Aroha Knits has experienced is... my why. Why do I do what I do? What drives me? What's my mission in this industry? What mark do I want to leave behind? I shared my story on Instagram but I'm going to write it here again for you to take it all at once.

My mission is to evolve and to grow. I am passionate about the transformative magic of knitting in all its forms; from transforming yarn into unique hand knit designs, to transforming my life from dissatisfaction to fulfillment, to empowering other magic-makers to make similar transformations.

I love putting myself right in the middle of the creation process of transforming yarn into a unique hand knit design. Watching and feeling the stitches coming together to create a tapestry of color and texture is such a magical feeling, one that’s easy to get addicted to and lost in, and it’s always an extremely satisfying moment when I take my project off of the blocking mats and think, “Wow, I thought of this idea and I made it come to life!”. Designing quietens my anxiety and combats depression, and honestly, it also makes me feel productive and that I’m contributing to the betterment of society. I incorporate personal stories and my cultural heritage into my designs so that I don’t create “just another pattern”, but something with meaning and significance, to leave a long-lasting mark in the fiber community. I want to leave my legacy in the fiber community, even after I’m long gone, to be known as the designer who drew upon her Maori heritage to create unique designs. 

I strive for a life of financial self-reliance on my design work, so I can continue to do what I love the most, making transformations happen. Like Merlin of Camelot, I like to lock myself away in my tower for days in order to create magic without distraction, then venturing out at the end to share my creations, and knowledge, with the community. Designing transformed my life from dissatisfaction to fulfillment, so of course I have the drive to do the work needed in order for me to be able to continue to do so. It’s challenging to make a living as a designer in the industry’s current state, but I want to play a part in shifting the perception that a designer’s work is worth paying for and that we are unapologetic about making it a career choice.

Part of creating magic is teaching others how to use their internal spark to manifest their own transformations. I don’t want to keep what I’ve learned all to myself - it’s greedy, selfish and only serves to hinder me in the long run. “A rising tide lifts all boats”. That’s why I strive to be generous with my knowledge of knitting and design; being a catalyst for people’s transformations is extremely rewarding and empowering the community, even a little bit a time, strengthens the fiber industry as a whole. Because I’ve experienced first hand the rewards that knitting and designing have brought to my life, not just financially but also mentally and emotionally, I want to empower others to push past their fears and self-doubts to discover the same rewards for themselves, whether it’s in knitting or designing. There is magic to be found in both knitting another designer’s pattern and creating your own; both involve transforming yarn into a project you can feel proud of, boosting your confidence and creativity. It doesn't matter how: use your creativity to make transformations happen!

Transforming yarn, transforming my life and transforming you: it’s these three aspects that help me leap out of bed every morning and push me past my own fears and self-doubts to ignite magic and spark transformations.  

So, in honor of my new mission of making transformations happen, here's a free pattern for you to download so you can start transforming your yarn too! This pattern has been fully tech-edited, test knit, complete with photos and a special link to a private page for video tutorials on any of the more fiddly stitches. So you're basically getting the quality of a paid-for pattern, for FREE!

PATTERN NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

I would love to hear your thoughts magic-makers! Do you love the change as much as I do? I feel so excited to be taking you on a new journey with me!

Start Conquering Fear and Gaining Self-Confidence TODAY

One common trait I see among aspiring knitwear designers or other beginning fiber entrepreneurs is fear. Fear of no-one liking their work, fear of ridicule, fear of criticism, fear of failing. Whatever that fear, it is strong enough to hold them back from pursuing their dreams of sharing their creative vision with the fiber community.

A few months ago, I was interviewed on the SweetGeorgia Yarn’s podcast. The lovely host, Felicia, asked me a question that really threw me for a loop: “Where do you find your self-confidence and fearlessness?” At the time I really didn’t know how to answer the question, but over the months it stuck with me as I asked myself, “How DID I gain the self-confidence to fearlessly do what I do?”

Then it struck me! The reason why I wasn’t able to pin-point that “aha” moment, when I magically started believing in myself, was because there was no “aha” moment. It was a gradual process that took place over the months I’ve been a designer.

What did I do? The answer lies within the question. I just DID. I took action. When I was first starting out as a knitwear designer, I was super nervous about hitting the “Publish to Ravelry” button. I was scared about people not liking the design; that the design was too complicated to read or hard to follow; that it wasn’t perfect. But I clicked that button anyway and guess what? My fears were just that – fears - not predictions of the future. People loved my work!

I know that my work isn’t perfect. Some mistakes do slip by requiring people to email me for help. But even that isn’t the life-ending experience that I had built it up in my head. I provide quality customer service, in order to make up for the mistakes in my product. So now when I receive an email asking for help, I don’t sweat it.

So if you’re feeling fear and are heavily doubting yourself: take action. By taking action you gain PROOF and examples of putting those fears to rest. I’m now able to click the Publish button on Ravelry without a second thought; it’s almost second nature to me. I’m not scared about going onto Periscope to do live video-streams with my audience. I’m not scared about sharing my work on Instagram. But conquering these fears didn’t happen overnight. It was through consistent and deliberate action over weeks and months that I was able to get to where I am now.

So start taking action today - everyday. Determine what fear is holding you back, and just do it anyway. Even if it’s a series of small steps, doing something is better than nothing! That’s my challenge to you this week.

You’ll be thanking yourself that you did - a week, a month, a year from now.


You don't have to conquer fear alone! Get the chance to work with me with my Spark-Igniter Session, a one-hour one-on-one personalized Skype coaching and mentoring call. During these calls, I am 100% focused on you and your goals, and dedicated to helping YOU overcome your obstacles in your biz. Click here to request a free 15-minute consultation.