Well, May is almost over, and of course it's on the last few days that I realized adKnits hit a pretty big milestone: adKnits turned 10 this month! Back in May of 2009, I officially opened for business on Etsy selling whatever struck my fancy and without a clue what I was doing. Business plans are for suckers, amiright?
The very first thing I sold was a little knitted change purse... in pink.
Just a little different from my current aesthetic, huh?
Wait, it gets better.
That is some rough photography, friends. Also, unfortunate color choices and clearly no one had told me about blocking yet.
One more gem for you:
I have no words.
I kept knitting, though, and eventually developed a fledgling line, though I had no idea what that actually meant. My knitwear started getting some attention after that. I was the Etsy featured seller in the fall of the following year, and featured in Ladies Home Journal the winter after that.
I went through a serious felting phase... coasters, bowls, pincushions, pencil cases...
Once I got that out of my system, I really buckled down business-wise. I cut products that weren't working, filled in gaps with new designs, and migrated all of my patterns over to a bulky-weight yarn that would require fewer stitches and knit up quicker. I limited the colors for each product and really focused on maintaining a consistent aesthetic in my designs and product photography. Finally, it felt like I was running a real business.
Perhaps because of this, I started to burn out on production knitting about halfway through 2018. Knitting stopped being enjoyable because I was making the same things over and over under the pressure of fulfilling a sale.
Around that same time, I had been looking for simple, cotton, drawstring project bags to keep all of my WIPs organized, ideally with a simple nature graphic on the front. I could see what I wanted so clearly in my head that I eventually gave up searching and decided to make it myself.
After that first run of sunflower bags, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to make things FOR knitters rather than sell knitwear itself. The 2018 holiday season marked the end of knitwear for me (though, you can still find the remains in my Etsy shop), and though adKnits hasn't existed very long in it's current form, I know it was the right decision. I still feel creatively fulfilled, AND knitting is fun again.
Though I've essentially started over and most days I don't feel like I know what I'm doing, it's pretty validating to look back and see how my business, aesthetic, and priorities have grown over the past decade. Cheers to another ten years, folks!