Inspiration... part 2

Since Vogue Knitting Live I've been so busy that I just finished today's blog.

"When knitting becomes a career" from women who know
Vogue Knitting Live's final Panel was strong food for thought. Entitled "When Knitting Becomes a Career", the message was really transferable to other kinds of businesses. Industry executives like the Editor in Chief of Vogue Knitting, Trisha Malcolm** (3rd from the right) and Laura Zander (far right), owner of Jimmy Beans Wool  plus several other incredibly successful professionals shared how they began in the industry and their experiences. At least one panelist admitted that she simply doesn't enjoy knitting anymore because it had become a duty, not a labor of love. Debbie Stoller (far left), author of the famous (at least in the knitting world) book series "Stitch and Bitch" claimed that she actually finds the writing process arduous and hinted that she misses deadlines. Her books (like Fiona Ellis' work) are a fun read even if you don't knit.

Of course panelists discussed a common predicament the world over: achieving the holy grail of work-life balance. Only two of the panelists admitted to having it.  Erin Slonaker, the Editor in Chief of Yarn Market News (an industry publication) glanced at her counterpart at Vogue Knitting magazine as she stated that she works normal business hours, and few weekends or evenings (although this panel took place at 3pm on Sunday). Ms. Malcolm replied something like "I know, and I can't believe it. I'll go on Facebook and your status says "I just baked a pie" and I wonder 'how does she find the time?'" 

Ms. Malcolm's advice to women wanting to launch a business was to "hire a house cleaner". It must go far beyond that... her 12-hour workdays would lead me to outsource everything. Cleaning is the easiest part. It's driving the kids to activities every day, sometimes beginning at 4 pm and helping with homework that is time consuming.

The one common quality among them (even the pie-baking one) was a strong work-ethic. They had a drive to be successful. Only one of them had planned to make a career of a hobby. Yet somehow they all combined what their interest with a paycheck. Beyond some who launched businesses and needed it to be successful to stave off financial ruin, no one really talked money as a goal. Ms. Zander admitted to making mistakes and near-daily tears. Yet they all had rewarding interactions with people in the industry and LYSs (local yarn shops). They saw a bright future for everyone: brick and mortar stores, online enterprises, a growth for designers, yarn-makers and knitters. Did you know that more people know how to knit in the US than play golf?

As I watched these well-spoken women I thought to myself, each one of them could be someone I know. They were all smart, creative and funny. I realize that success is something we define for ourselves, but they had a common way to achieve it:

Hard work. There's no substitute. It's like losing weight: Eat less, exercise more. Easier said than done.

Oh and if you are wondering about career choices and educational backgrounds? It doesn't matter - most of them had higher degrees... in something completely unrelated to knitting!! I guess I'm on my way then.

The women spoke positively in their outlook for the industry. They encouraged the audience to start a yarn shop even in this economy (my big dream, but not in the cards now)....  But according to Ms. Zander if you are serious about starting a new business, perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is take an accounting class!

Talent, intelligence and practical. My kind of women! Congratulations on a great panel and fantastic weekend. I'm fortunate to have been part of it!

**I wish I could have included all eight panelists in the blog today, but then it was simply too long. When I saw the poster for the panel I commented to KK "with eight panelists, how will everyone get a chance to talk". The only complaint I'd have was that with so many people it was hard for the audience to retain the information and some speakers took more of the spotlight than others. If I could have, I would have liked to have met Kirsten Kapur. She is a local designer and I only discovered her work last month when looking for a locally-produced pattern. A bit serendipitous that she would be on a panel when I'd just bought her work. I wish I could include ALL the panelists in today's blog. Apologies to those talented women who didn't get "a shout out". All the panelists made a contribution to my leaving Vogue Knitting Live inspired and impressed.  Pam also blogged about Sunday, including the Panel. You can read her impression of the day here


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