Who ties all these nautical knots? or Meet our Artisans
One of the fun parts of my job is meeting all the interesting and yes crazy people that work for us. They come from all walks of life! Some are professionals… pharmacists, sailors, taekwondo teachers. They work for us part time as artisans to either keep busy or because they simply love working with their hands. Others come from creative backgrounds where hand crafting is what they live for, they can’t get enough of it.
Featuring our artisans is another idea we have for sharing our world with you. Slow creative knot tying days to the fast pace of running a business, keeping rope in stock and wondering when the next great hand crafter will walk through the door and decide to join our merry bunch of pirates. It starts with Lily, I don’t know what we would do without her. Thank you, Lily! Even though I did have to bribe her with the promise of a beta fish in trade for this interview.
Tell us how you got started with crochet? Macramé? How did you get started at Mystic Knotwork?
I actually started with knitting, I’ve been knitting from a very young age, I learned from my mom. In college I became more and more interested in crochet, so I taught myself through YouTube videos and written tutorials. The first thing I ever made was a blanket, I began making a lot of those, and then started experimenting with clothing.
My brother worked at MKW before I did, I learned about the job through him and became very interested as I was already quite crafty. I had some experience with macramé from doing plant hangers, and some friendship bracelets as a kid.
How did you decide to sell on Etsy?
I decided to start selling on Etsy very recently, just a month ago. Previously to Etsy I would post my work exclusively on Instagram, and I would always get requests to sell my items, so I would do so through apps like Cash app and Venmo. After quite a while of doing that, I gained the confidence to open an Etsy shop, because I figured it was worth the shot even if it didn’t work out.
Do you macramé as well? What types of items do you macramé?
I do some macramé, mostly plant hangers. I have a plant obsession, so I have many, many plants throughout my home, many of which are in plant hangers that I’ve made.
What came first Etsy or Mystic Knotwork?
I’ve been working at Mystic Knotwork for 2 years, and I started Etsy about a month ago.
How has working for Mystic Knotwork influenced your creativity & business acumen?
Working at Mystic Knotwork gave me a lot of insight into how a handmade business operates. It especially helped me when it comes to calculating the prices for my crochet items. I learned a lot from Matt, who taught me to think about the cost of overhead and materials, in addition to the time it takes to make an item. All of these factors go into pricing an item for Mystic Knotwork, and I have tried to adopt this model for my crochet items.
Your items on Etsy are unique. How do you choose the colors and texture of the yarns?
I don’t really have a method for choosing colors or textures. My preference is to work with acrylic yarn, and occasionally cotton. I choose colors that catch my eye, or that have been requested by a client. I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with fuzzy or furry yarn, which I wasn’t sure would come out well, but I like it a lot.
You tie nautical jewelry pieces for Mystic Knotwork. Do you make other items for them and what are they?
I make nautical jewelry for Mystic Knotwork, as well as do a lot of finishing work on items that have already been made. Lately I’ve been experimenting with making some large plant hangers for the shop, which has been a fun change from the usual things I make.
What do you enjoy making the most, crochet clothing, macramé decor or a Mystic Knotwork item?
My favorite thing to do is to crochet. I would do it for all hours of the day if I could!
As a main employee of Mystic Knotwork what are the other skills the job requires?
As well as being a maker, you also have to have some knowledge of the workings of a business. This includes pricing for custom items, and some of the creative aspect of turning an idea into a work of art.
Where do you like to go on vacation?
Mystic Knotwork is in Mystic, a sailing port, do you sail, do you love being by the sea?
I don’t sail, but I’ve always loved being by the sea. When my paternal grandfather retired, he essentially was a full-time fisherman, and would take all the grandkids to the ocean on his boat at least once a week. Those were some of my best memories growing up.
Where did you go to school and what did you study? Do you see yourself continuing your education in the future?
I went to school at the University of Rhode Island. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, as well as a bachelors in gender and women’s studies, and a minor in Arabic. I loved school and would love to continue on and get a master’s degree, but I’m unsure of what direction I would want to go in at this point.
When did you know you like creating things with your hands?
I’ve loved creating things with my hands for as long as I can remember. I’ve been knitting for many years and crocheting is my more recent hobby.
What business advice do you have for people starting out as artisan crochet and knot tyers?
My business advice for anyone just starting out selling their handmade items is to believe that you are worth it, and that your work is desirable! As soon as I started believing in myself, I feel that others started to believe in me too and treat me more as a business person and not as much as a hobbyist.
Do you prefer the artisan atmosphere at Mystic Knotwork over say a department store or corporate office and why?
Yes, I much prefer the artisan atmosphere. The culture at Mystic Knotwork is much more laid back and facilitates creativity much more than I’ve ever experienced at any other jobs.
If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be and why? I would time travel.
The beta fish was delivered as promised and knotably named 5-Pass.