What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I’m a self-taught knitter. I love how knitting has made such a comback in the recent years and how it is being adapted to fit in with new styles.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I started knitting through a job I was working at a local Boys and Girls Club. Another girl and I started a yarn club for the kids, which gave me an excuse to finally give it a try. I bought a pair of needles, a cheap-o skein of yarn and hit up youtube with a fiery determination to learn. I learned the basics, but it kinda went to the back burner after a few months. About 8 months later, my husband and I had just moved to a new state, and since I was doing the whole job search thing, I decided to dive back in headfirst since I had so much free time. For some reason, everything was very easy for me to learn, and I just took off from there. The whole process started about 2 years ago.
Before I started knitting, my main hobby was making jewelry. My best friend in college taught me how, and we spent lots of time doing that together. However, knitting is the first craft that I’ve done for “work” (I feel weird calling it work since I love it so much!).
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
My maiden name is Kelley, and throughout high school and college all my friends called me JK – so I expanded that to “jaykay”. It’s funny because most people who read my shop name think that my name is either Jay or Kay, so I get messages all the time addressed to either of those names.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I work totally by myself. I’ve tried to get my husband to join in on all the fun, but he opts to stick with his own hobbies :) He is, however, my main support source, and I always run my new ideas by him – his opinion is very important to me!
My knitting is a part time job – I work full time in Special Education, so I really get to make my own schedule. If all my orders are complete and I don’t feel like knitting – I don’t have to! Also, knitting is definitely one of those crafts that is portable, so I take it everywhere I go! It’s a guarantee that if you open up my Timbuktu bag, there will be at least 2 different knitting projects in there at any given time!
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I sell mainly online (jaykayknits.etsy.com), and at craft fairs. I do a few consignment stores now and then, and do a lot of local work through word of mouth.
I enjoy meeting the people I sell to, so I enjoy that aspect of in-person selling. I also like that people who are buying in person are completely aware of the product they’re buying – they can touch it, try it on – which is not something online buyers can do. Online selling also has its advantages, so it’s hard for me to pick one over the other.
Do you have a favorite handmade shop or seller?
Absolutely! SpringTreeRoad. Maya creates the most incredible yarns! And she’s a very talented photographer as well!
What inspires and motivates you?
The things that inspire me the most are the simple things I find around me – I’m an outdoors kinda girl, so I am very inspired by mother nature. She offers us all types of beauty – the kind that can never be re-created through manmade objects.
Thank you Jennifer! And if you want to be interviewed on Try Handmade, just check out DIY Interview.