As often happens, I've had one of those weeks that resulted in what I call "a creative hangover". This happens when you put lots of smart, creative women together and talk about ideas and inspirations; you find yourself hopping with ideas and unable to concentrate the next morning. Working in the fibre industry puts me in touch with such inspirational women and sometimes I am a tingle with thoughts and ideas and so it was only fitting that when Linda from Kettle Yarn Co tagged me in the Creative Blog Hop, I jumped on the train because some of these posts are exactly what I'm talking about when I talk about smart and inspiring ideas. I'm grateful for Linda for both the nomination but also being exactly the kind of person that makes me all a twitter with creative inspiration. She's such a talented lady!
So here goes, four questions to answer about my role in such a creative industry....
What am I working on?
At any given moment I can be working on 7 different projects so I'll focus on what this week looked like. This week I've been liaising with a dyer about a photoshoot for upcoming patterns that I will be plotting the strategic release for, brainstorming ideas for the best way to develop a knitting event to include even more collaborations and writing endless emails to set up new sponsorship and prizes for the blog and podcast for the next 2 months. Of course, peppered in between all this has been creating calenders with on line task managers, invoicing, budgeting and an awful lot of copy and pasting news updates in various places for various people!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think I am pretty unique in that I came into this role within the industry as a story teller. At the heart of what I do is telling Creatives story in a way that makes them able to define and develop their business and tell a growing audience all about it. I do this in many ways and some are more traditional like press releases and social media management. Other routes of promotion are more discreet such as plotting a coverage across a number of months that reveals new projects alongside revisiting previous work so that knitters continuously find inspiration and develop a meaningful relationship with that person's work.
I also turn my hand to less grand jobs such as generating newsletters, managing email and providing blog content. It really does depend on what is needed by each person and that in itself can be quite unique as I have a flexibility that means my role can be hard to define in a neat sentence (as clearly demonstrated above!)
Why do I write/create what I do?
I love craft and what really gives me a kick is seeing something special work for both knitters and the independents behind it. It can take months to develop a pattern collection or work with mills to develop a new line of yarns and thinking about the best way to put all that time to good use when it launches is what makes me tick. Helping plan out a launch in a way that is manageable for everyone involved but makes the kind of splash necessary for them is thrilling. I love it the most when I suggest reaching out and getting someone else involved and all of a sudden you have an inbox full of excited and inspiring chatter. Then you launch and knitters and crafters are excited too and you see projects and more collaborations as the inspiration keeps going. It's thrilling. It really is.
I use the podcast and blog to keep my own creative juices going and try to maintain a boundary between work, blogging and podcasting. They're linked, of course and on posts like this the work aspect of what I do starts to show more. The reason is obvious: I am really passionate about what I do because I love knitting and seeing women empowered by their work. I find the fibre industry consists of a lot of women who are self employed and part of my passion is seeing them thrive both as a creative person but also as a business owner, getting paid what they're worth. I don't think it's a coincidence that the mainstream media trivialises us as a 'hobby industry' and that women working within it can feel apologetic for making money at what they do. I'm thrilled to see that stereotype is changing as the rest of the world recognise the fibre industry as a strong contender for growth in an increasingly creative and practical market. It's very empowering for women to be seen as entrepreneurs because they really are and deserve for their work to be respected not downplayed because it's a craft related one.
How does my writing/creating process work?
Hmmmm slightly tricky as I work in so many different ways from writing web copy to commissioning new pattern collections and creating mood boards to writing up a strategic calendar! Let's think about how I typically start with a new project.
Often I'm contacted by someone who is aware that they need help to keep up with everything but they're not entirely sure what that help might look like. I will research and look around at their existing work before we meet (often on line) and chat about all their hopes, achievements, upcoming projects and of course, frustrations. I'll then plot some ideas about ways they can change the way they're working currently to make things a little easier for them, be more focussed and then map out some key areas we could develop together. Once that's done, we have a shared understanding of what they see as a priority and we're off! I'll then do anything from project managing a book release 12 months ahead to being a critical friend each month that reviews what went well and helps them get the next month in order. Of course, I also get approached with a very specific project in mind so this process is condensed into a much shorter amount of time as I'm essentially given the brief from the outset.
As for my own writing and process, I ruminate for days before I write. I will read things I think might be relevant, focus on key words, perhaps throw a quick draft down and leave it a little while before I actually COMMIT to the blog post, press release, podcast or article. I like to get everything down first before I come back and edit and tweak. This process means that I often can't type fast enough as I start developing themes that I realise I want link back to later on in the piece! Editing can vary from 'that's it! Don't touch it!' to today's post that was edited several times across the morning!
So that's me and my process. I'm now going to nominate two fabulous people working within this wonderful fibre world and who I personally find very exciting whenever I see their latest news.
First I nominate Julie Asselin, a phenomenally talented hand dyer who somehow manages it all: dyeing, designing, developing relationships with other designers, wholesaling, attending events, blogging and is really lovely on top of it all. Go check her out!
Second is the no less impressive Clare Devine of Yarn and Pointy Sticks. Not only is she producing brilliantly designs that are perfectly presented for herself but she is also supporting designers do the same with her eye for numbers and ability to handle white space. Smart doesn't even begin to describe her.