We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the nineth in our series, an interview with Lisa-Dawn of GoodYarns.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started with GoodYarns?
I'm a mother of 3 teens and a little extra blessing who is 5. I have an MA in journalism. I have been busy over the last several years home teaching my kids (the older ones until about 4 years ago). Needless to say it is an exuberant, creative household.
How and why Good Yarns?
As far as knitting goes, mainly I have made things for my kids. I have always liked that DIY allows you to pick from a broader palate of colours, richer fibres and your own choice of styles than can be found at the average local department store. After all isn't personalization what DIY is all about?!
For classic patterns - over the years I have hunted for classic items for family members that you just can't find in stores - for example the basic kitty ears balaclava for toddlers and sailor's watch cap for men. My Etsy shop allows me to help others resource these classics too.
Satisfying a creative need - I've always liked the portability of knitting - you can take it along to doctor's visits, baseball tournaments or whatever. It's been a sanity saving creative outlet for me. Someone said in conversation a few years ago that she wasn't "a maker." This dumbfounded me. I didn't know there was any other way to be!
When choosing a name for my shop, I asked my older daughter for an idea for a name that combined knitting and writing, and she immediately blurted out, "Good Yarns." There you have it!
Apart from creating knitted items, what do you do? What is your day job?
My day job is still teaching my youngest son, who after a year of walking on eggshells through Junior Kindergarten (JK), boycotted Senior Kindergarten (SK) this year. No biggie - we just carry on with reading & math games, etc. He loves making things, anything to do with letters, markers, paints. And digging. He can hardly wait for snow so he can get his snow shovel back out (me, not so much)! We go on what he calls 'adventure walks' on trails in local conservation areas whenever we can. He loves every hat and toy that pops off my needles, believing they are all his. This has led to some heart breaking sobbing and wailing when someone has bought something from a craft table that he didn't think was mine to give away.
What goals or plans do you have in store for your business?
I actually have no plans whatsoever to go back to a day job. Why would I when I can make things, go on adventure walk whenever the sun shines, and enjoy these precious moments with my little boy (and my big kids too). I guess the future holds more knitting, more writing - more joy! Oh and here's an alien notion - more time with my best friend, my beloved spouse, who has supported me in my mothering, teaching and creative imperatives over the years.
How do you promote yourself? and what is your best marketing tip?
The marketing strategy that works best for me is - my kids as walking billboards! Not that I force them to wear stuff just so people buy it - but so many times I have had inquiries and/or commissions out of the blue based on something the kids have been wearing. After that, Etsy is a great and simple way to get your stuff out there and enable people to obtain it easily if desired.
What advice would you give to new etsy sellers?
I always cringe a bit at the site interviews that give top priority to great pictures. Sure, bad pictures don't do your product justice. But I find I have more personal tolerance for photos that aren't just the bland studio white. Better I think is the advice that you should make or sell what rings your bell. It's that passion that is contagious to others.
Intereviewed November, 2010 by JAnnsBoutique