If I had nothing but a pair of chopsticks and knitting needles, I would be hungry (hangry?) and – if my wardrobe depended on it – quite possibly rocking my birthday suit. I have never been coordinated in a way that would warrant mastering either skill, but in the event I find myself at a knit-your-own-clothing-and-eat-sushi camp, perhaps I should invest some time in learning. If this hypothetical sounds weird to you, that makes two of us. While I can’t vouch for her chopsticking skills, one young entrepreneur absolutely shines when it comes to knitting up cozy cuteness. Josie Gaido took her talent to the next level when she launched her Etsy shop, Peony Knits, nearly two years ago and everything in her collection has me pining for the cold (I’m totally over summer).
Tell me a bit about your shop. What inspired you to start knitting such lovely coziness? I sell chunky hand knit scarves and accessories in Peony Knits. My mom taught me how to knit at a very young age but it wasn’t until college that I became an avid knitter. Seeing that I was always knitting, my sister-in-law encouraged me to sell my pieces online and introduced me to Etsy for the first time. I am so grateful she did – I have loved it ever since.
I haven’t attempted knitting before. As I can barely use chopsticks, I find knitting needles incredibly intimidating. That said, I do crochet and love yarn shops & the variety they offer. My personal favorite is really thick, variegated yarn. What is your favorite? What yarn advice do you have for novice knitters? I love chunky thick yarn and believe it makes for the coziest scarves. I always suggest a wool or wool blend yarn for beginners. In addition, I think it helps for the yarn to be a lighter color in order to better see what you’re doing while you’re learning. For those with little patience; larger needles and thicker yarn makes for faster completion.
You knit, model, photograph & package your collection on your own. Wonder woman! What made you decide to take on these tasks yourself? I love all aspects of running my shop. Though I will admit, every once in a while I sweet talk my husband into shooting some photos. Although I am not a perfectionist, I definitely like having control over each step of my business. Peony Knits is a reflection of myself and my passion for knitting.
How did you get the word out about your shop when you first opened? How have you handled marketing since? When I first opened Peony Knits, I didn’t do any advertising or marketing. I didn’t even have business cards for the first several months! Today, I mainly use social media; including Facebook and Twitter (@peonyknitsetsy), but my favorite being Instagram (@peonyknits), to market my pieces.
What has been the highlight of Peony Knits to date? Each year I make a list of goals to achieve by my next birthday. In 2013 my “25 by 25” list included “500 sales in Peony Knits”. By the time I turned 25 I had more than doubled that goal : )
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since opening your shop & developing your brand? Through Peony Knits, I have learned to believe in myself and my goals. I have never been so busy, but so grateful, in my entire life. I have also learned that sometimes being successful means sacrificing your entire house for yarn storage!
Let’s go back back in time a few years. What advice would you give yourself on the topic of entrepreneurship? If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to purchase a DSLR sooner, buy all packaging materials in bulk, and never miss a good yarn sale. Having a better camera is key to better pictures, and it’s never good to run short on shipping supplies and yarn.
Fast-forward five years. Where do hope to see yourself? In five years, I hope to be running and growing Peony Knits full-time while surrounded by babies! That would be a dream come true!
Guilty pleasure? ALL desserts and The Real Housewives.
Favorite animated movie? How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Cake or pie? Cake AND pie. AND ice cream.
Spirit animal? Kittens? Cats?
Special talent? Juggling : )