Q: What is Slope Girl Knits? Can you briefly describe your business for us?
A: Slope Girl Knits is a Brooklyn-based, high quality custom knit and crochet shop that features infinity scarves, hats, mittens, wedding and party decorations, accessories and more. Everything in the shop is 100% made to order, almost all of the products are machine washable and I ship worldwide.
My shop was born in September 2013 at the suggestion of several friends who noticed my giant stockpile of knit and crochet items and thought I should open a shop. I had learned to knit as a teen, from a lovely French teacher who gave up her lunch hours to teach us kids to knit. I still have my very first pair of needles from her class- a set of size 4 straight bamboo needles! They are itty bitty, and I love them so much. I hope to pass them on to my future children one day, along with the skills she gave me.
It's been an amazing experience to sell on Etsy, unlock my creativity through fashion and design, build a real business from the ground up (something I never thought I'd do!), and connect with a global community of artists. I'm so grateful as well to the support I've received from my family and my friends who help me take photos, sell at craft shows and model my products!
Q: Some artisans develop their products to meet consumer needs, while others craft products based on things and/or experiences that inspire them. What is the inspiration behind your business?
A: Customer service is number one to me. It's why I love this community--Etsy makes it so easy for me to connect to my customers and provide the best experience possible whether it's through a quick reply or a custom order. I want everyone who purchases an item from my shop to feel that they are connecting with a real person and that their order is in good hands--which is why they come to Etsy in the first place :) I like to wrap all of my orders in tissue paper with a special tag, card and a protective wrap, so whether you're ordering for yourself or for a friend, it always feels like you're getting a gift!
I adore custom orders because I love the challenge of bringing someone's vision to life. Last year, a woman contacted me in need of a hat and mitten set that would match her coat. She sent me a photo of the coat, and I got to work sourcing the right colors and adjusting the sizing. I'm so happy that she loved it! Her positive review made my day. I love knowing I made someone happy and helped them solve a problem!
Apart from custom orders, I draw inspiration for my regular line from everywhere! My 'rustic' line is inspired by the time I spent living in beautiful New Hampshire, and my classic line is inspired by being a life-long New Yorker. We like both comfort and style here, and you can never go wrong with a classic staple that will match with anything, like a white or cream-colored infinity scarf! I do enjoy mixing things up from time to time, and my ornament and decoration collection has allowed me to tap into bright colors, detail, and personalization. It's another fun dimension of Slope Girl Knits that is continuing to expand, so stay tuned for more!
Q: Oftentimes, each artisan has a different strategy and objective for their business. What are the next steps for you and your business?
A: My shop began as a bit of a hobby business. I come from a video production/marketing background, and that's always been my career. I never imagined I'd take my shop much further than a few items on Etsy, but once I joined the Etsy NY Team, started doing markets and expanded my line, I realized I'd opened a Pandora's box of opportunity I didn't think possible! I've learned so, so much and it's become a huge and important part of my life. Apart from being another income source, it's allowed me to hone in on many of my skills and apply them to expanding my business in several ways.
Social media is a huge part of my strategy and how I connect with customers to learn what they like and don't like, if my prices are fair, etc. I value their opinions so much! I am on all platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube), and find it to be a non-negotiable when it comes to marketing in this day and age. All shops should be on social media, blogging, etc. It's definitely vital to keeping up yourself relevant and up to date with the community.
Next steps for Slope Girl Knits?
This past year I've started a local teaching business for adults and children to learn how to knit (email me at email@example.com if interested!), opened on Etsy Wholesale with a limited collection, and have had my products in stock at some local Brooklyn storefronts.
In 2016, I plan to launch a children's clothing line and a Spanish-language version of the shop. I grew up bilingual, and it's important to me to be able to connect with that community!
As I continue to move forward, I like to say I take things one day at a time with my business. It's mine, and I feel confident in my product and comfortable in making the decisions I need to uphold my mission of handmade and high quality customer service. I'm a person who likes to think big things through, so I consider every option to expand very carefully. Will the quality of my product still meet my standards? How will my customers feel? Do I have enough time to realistically take this on? These are all questions I ask myself when opportunities to expand come up, and if it makes sense and keeps to my values then I move forward. You never know what will happen in life, and right now I'm open to all possibilities, ideas and discussions!
Q: Can you tell us some of the partners you have made? Retail stores where we can find your product?
A: I love partnerships! Working with others is an amazing way to grow your business and learn about new opportunities.
This year I taught Kids' Knitting 101 at Holly's Heart by Hand in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and sold in person at Woods Grove (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn) via Roadshows. I've also connected with several bloggers to create custom order giveaways (this was my favorite) and continue to enjoy those opportunities.
Where you can find me next!
- Planet Cute Shop in Park Slope Brooklyn through Christmas (also online!)
- Etsy NY Handmade Cavalcade, Dec 5 & 6 at Chelsea Market in NYC
Q: As many artisans look to grow and further develop their businesses, do you have some advice that you can share with fellow artisans?
A: My biggest advice if you're thinking about opening a shop is....just do it! I read the Etsy Seller Handbook for a couple months before I opened and then I dove in. I learned a lot on the way and it's been so amazing to see the support from my friends, family and even strangers. I am so grateful for their energy and excitement!
Patience is another key. Nothing happens overnight. If you want success, you have to be willing to put in the time and energy (and sometimes money) to get great pictures, a sellable product and a community to purchase your items. If you believe in what you make with total confidence, you can't be stopped! Just give yourself (and everyone else) some patience to come on board.
Never stop learning and growing either--take classes, ask for feedback and advice, join a team of entrepreneurs.
Also, always give back. Don't be afraid to offer someone advice, a compliment, a like or follow or some mentorship because you think it might detract from your success. I really believe that what you give is (more often than not) what you get, and the times when I have been able to give back have always been so rewarding. I am immensely grateful to all of my Etsy NY Team members for their openness, opinions and opportunity and am positive that I would not be where I am with my shop without them. :)
Did you know it's #GivingTuesday? All week long a portion of sales made on Slope Girl Knits will go to iMentor, an amazing organization which connects NYC high school students with local professionals to provide one on one mentorship and college prep support. Being a mentor for the last year has changed my life in so many ways, and I am grateful to iMentor for allowing me the opportunity to make a difference in a young adult's life. Every time you make a purchase this week at SGK, you'll be helping to make another mentorship relationship (and amazing difference) in a deserving student's life.
Custom request, teaching and press inquiries can be emailed to Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org
Special thanks to Emily for sharing with us. You can find her products showcased on her Etsy shop at www.slopegirlknits.etsy.com. And, details of her special product GIVEAWAY are below, as well as directions on how to enter!
Emily is generously giving away her signature The Candleknit Scarf. (Valued at $30!) Shine bright with this limited edition, one of a kind hand knit scarf--the very last one that will be made...ever! Designed with the holidays in mind, its festive colors will bring cheer to any outfit. Wrap around twice for style, or three times for extra comfort. Handmade to order exclusively by Slope Girl Knits in Brooklyn, NY, in a smoke/pet free environment. Don't miss out on this exclusive knit prize!
Entry period ends at 11:59pm on Tuesday, December 15th!
As an added bonus, every person that enters the giveaway will receive a special, exclusive discount to the Slope Girl Knits Etsy store so don't miss out because everyone is a winner! Details will be sent to all entrants via email after giveaway has ended.