Two women, Mavis and Olga, are the masterminds behind ‘knittles
’, a line of chic woolwear for everyone who wants to be both warm and fashionable, whether you are a child or a senior. After marrying brothers, Olga and Mavis got to know each other when the two couples shared a house for some time. “You do get to know someone after a while in a situation like that!”, Mavis explained.
Luckily, both women soon discovered that they not only got along great, they had a similar passion – knitting! After this mutual interest grew from a hobby to a business, Mavis and Olga soon found themselves buried in wool and with clients around the world. We can’t help but love their cozy and creative designs, so we decided to find out more about Mavis and Olga and how their line Knittles came to be.
Lyra Pappin: Why did you start working together?
Mavis: What started as an interest (knitting) soon became an obsession, and then before I knew it, I had made hats for every man, woman, and child that I knew. With the mess of ownerless hats that were soon overtaking the house, Olga had the idea to try her hand at selling them online. Thus are the humble beginnings of knittles.
In hindsight, our talents and fascinations actually complement each other very well. I'm an interior designer, while Olga has a background in graphic design and now works in marketing. But you see, the catch was that with our tactile personalities, our day jobs just weren’t quite fulfilling that need we have for really making something with our very own hands. Knittles fulfills this need and then some.
Olga: The original idea was that I'd take photos and work with everything related to online maintenance. Then less than 2 months in, I was knitting away and the next thing I know, my house was covered in bags of yarn.
LP: What have been the highlights of owning your own business?
M: It's most gratifying knowing that a design and item handmade by me is loved and cherished by someone out there in the world. It feels good to know that there are people in Italy, UK, Netherlands, Thailand and in New York who are being kept warm by wearing our designs.
O: Being able to do all those things I love in the creative process - starting from finding the perfect yarn, creating, taking photos, and finally turning the finished creation into a popular product.
LP: What are the challenges?
M: Finding enough time in the day to take the all the designs that are stewing in my head, and actually making them. January will be a nice break to experiment with new designs and techniques. Another challenge is the toll that knitting & crocheting is having on my wrists. We are eagerly awaiting the invention of a robotic arm.
O: Pretty much the same - there is just not enough time to realize all the ideas that we have. Sometimes I have to make myself back away from the yarn so my family is not completely abandoned.
LP: If you could have any other job, what would it be?
M: In another life I’d be a doctor working with Medicins Sans Frontieres.
O: Right now "no job" would be the best! But in all seriousness, I am quite happy where I am right now and can't think of any other job to have. Travel the world in search of new designs and photograph every moment, if that counts.
LP: How do you balance your time between work and play?
M: We do lots of playing in the warmer months, and lots of working from September to March, our busiest season.
O: Plan ahead and be ready for the "hard work" knowing that "play" will come after as a greater reward.
LP: Are you into the business side of it? Do you have any marketing/promotional tips and tactics to share?
M: Always carry your business cards around, and wear your designs. You never know when someone will approach you asking where'd you get your hat/neckwarmer. It's free advertising.
O: Between the two of us, I am probably the one who is more into the business side of it, but both of us are so good at deviation from the original business plan. As far as tips – use all the free tools the web gives you.
Rapid Answers with Mavis!
Favourite designer? Rebecca Duyzer of Replicca fame
Favourite website? craftzine.com
Wine: red or white? Cranberry juice with soda (I’m allergic to alcohol)
Hats or Scarves? Hats
Travel destination: Paris or Rio de Janeiro? Rio
Weirdest place you found inspiration? Bakery
Guilty pleasure? Online shopping for handmade items
Rapid Answers with Olga!
Favourite designer? If I have to name one - Stella McCartney
Favourite website? Google
Wine: red or white? White, Chardonnay
Hats or Scarves? Scarves
Travel destination: Paris or Rio de Janeiro? Paris
Weirdest place you found inspiration? While camping
Guilty pleasure? Expensive yarn