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Today I want to share with you another Etsy Top seller interview. You can read the others here: Etsy bestsellers Interview.
Do you know Natalia Kononova from Philadelphia, United States? Maybe not, but I am sure you have heard about her crochet pattern store on Etsy and Ravelry – Outstanding Crochet. Or perhaps you know her YouTube channel – Outstanding Crochet.
She has 135 fascinating patterns in her shops; you can find crochet and knitting patterns for clothes (sweaters, dresses, tops, skirts), hats and scarves, bags and belts, jewelry, and even home decor. There is something for everyone.
You can visit her Etsy store here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/OutstandingCrochet.
Make sure you read her interview until the end because Natalia shared with me some great advice for other sellers and the new pattern she is working on right now.
Here is her story:
Hey there! I’m Natalia, a designer settled in Pennsylvania with a husband and son. Originally from Russia, I was 7 when my mom first taught me basic knitting and crochet stitches. From then on, an immense knitting passion was embedded in my life.
It truly took form around the age of 34, when I decided to refresh my crochet skills, and got hooked. Crochet has become a daily sustenance of my life since then, driving me to start a blog and become an ambassador for wearable crochet. I eventually turned this outlet into my full-time designing business in 2015 by setting up outstandingcrochet.com – a storefront where I showcase how to make beautiful crochet clothing, bags, and jewelry, along with the occasional knitted projects.
I continue to work every day creating new designs, and the love just doesn’t seem to fade!
What inspires you?
Natalia shared with us her first attempt of two colors embossed crochet project, in the picture below you can see her current work in progress and the new pattern, that will be available soon in her shop.
How does your every day look like?
I wake up at 5.45, we have breakfast, then I see my husband and son go to work and school. First thing I do after that is thinking of and preparing what I am going to post on social accounts that day.
It might sound surprising, but a crochet designer does more computer work than crocheting. It’s best done by small batches throughout the day, with most complicated parts in the morning on a fresh mind.
I write instructions, draw charts and graphics, and take step-by-step pictures or videos and edit them. Sometimes I model finished items and take pictures by setting a camera on a tripod and on interval shooting.
I have lunch at 12 and take a walk. After working a bit more on a computer, I do my housework and cook dinner, but strike both out if the weather is nice. Housework can be done on another day, and dinner turns into something simple because we go to play tennis.
Watching TV shows with my husband is a past-dinner activity and that’s when I multitask by crocheting at the same time. Another favorite place to crochet is in the car during long drives to the beach, or camping every weekend in the summer. I also love to crochet at the beach when it’s hot and we can’t hike. That’s when I record short videos for my social media followers.
I like to think that public crocheting makes other people feel comfortable doing the same or get interested in what I am doing with that stick and yarn so fast.
Finishing every day with a good read is something that I always look forward to. My favorite subjects are science, psychology, and adventures.
What is your favorite yarn?
I like natural fiber: wool, cotton, but my favorite is linen. It looks better with every wash, never shrinks or stretches, is super durable, and has an amazing draping quality.
Some people find it rough to crochet with, but not me. Natural fiber is the best choice if we want to be conscious about fast fashion these days and how much waste it creates. Natural fibers disintegrate in soil within 12 months, while synthetic fibers take 30–40 years to decompose.
On the other hand, cotton is a very pesticide-intensive crop and requires a lot of water to produce, which causes soil fertility degradation.
Linen is made from flax plant, every part of which is used to create some product, is very resilient, grows in poor soil, and uses far less water than cotton and times less pesticides than potatoes, for example.
So, 100% wool, organic cotton (water used in the production of which is recycled), and linen are my top picks.
Do you have any advice for other sellers?
I can only speak from an independent designer’s point of view. Independent designer performs all the tasks associated with publishing his or her patterns or hires somebody for help, compared to publishing in magazines, writing books, or working with yarn manufacturers.
Be ready to pick up a few new professions:
- A graphic designer to draw charts, schematics, and other graphics in a vector editing software, and to put together your digital patterns.
- A photographer because professional looking images are something you shouldn’t even start an online business without.
- A marketing specialist to drive traffic to your online shops.
- A website designer/administrator to maintain your website.
- Maybe even a model since many independent designers model their own creations.
Be ready to do and preferably enjoy a lot besides actual crocheting or knitting. 90% of businesses fail because people that are good at their craft fail to promote and manage their businesses. It’s probably easier to work with publishers, though it has its own downsides.
I don’t run sales in my shops except for the Ravelry gift-a-long at the end of November each year. You can subscribe to my newsletter, which I send once in 3-4 weeks and receive a 20% off coupon for your first purchase. After that, you get a 20% week-long discount on every new pattern as a subscriber. You can subscribe, follow my social media accounts, and see some free tutorials at https://www.outstandingcrochet.com/.
Pin this interview for later here:
I am so grateful Natalia took the time and answered my questions. Her interview is so intriguing. She is such an inspiring woman. She took her hobby of knitting and crocheting, and turned it into a business and became an ambassador for wearable crochet. I am thrilled that I got to know her and that I can introduce her shop on my blog.
Every one of her patterns is a head-turner. Which Outstanding Crochet pattern do you like the best? You can tell me in the comments below.
Thank you for reading, and make sure you check the Outstanding Crochet shop.
Enjoy crocheting. I am sure you have a lot of new projects on your to-do list now. I know I do.
Have a beautiful day.