So I Quit My Day Job

I don’t know when I first thought about having a handmade business. The earliest record I can find of it is from an old blogpost I wrote - apparently mid 2011 was when I started working on branding, and I finalised my name and drew up my logo a few months later.

I opened my first Etsy shop the next year. I wanted to sell crafty items, but at the time it seemed like selling knitting was infeasible. I knit slower then than I do now, and the idea of paying myself a few dollars an hour didn’t make sense. So I busted out my mum’s old sewing machine and whipped up some zipper pouches and cushion covers. I never did sell anything through Etsy, but I had a good number of friends order items.

Emilia and me and the hilarious flower crown I crocheted for her.

The store petered out as I got busy and life got in the way, but in 2016 I moved to New York and I really began investing time in my knitting and my Etsy shop. The rest, as they say, is history. Over the last few years I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve put into my little business, learning not just how to write patterns but also how to grow an audience, take better photos, research trends and all the other myriad things I’ve learned along the way. I’ve also loved all the friends I’ve made, both in person in NYC and online - finding other awesome people who are just as passionate about knitting as me has been one of my favourite things about the whole process.

Late last year Wes and I decided that we’d move back to Sydney. The plan was that I’d go on maternity leave, then transfer to my employer’s Sydney office. My boss was fully on board with it, but I had to find a new role there. While I was on leave, though, that plan began to look less and less appealing. The idea of moving back to Sydney and putting Emilia into daycare was a bit too sad and stressful to contemplate. Hanging out with her every day is sometimes frustrating but it’s always amazing. And I realised my heart wasn’t quite in my job anymore - the idea of finding a new role, settling into a new team and maybe working towards a promotion was interesting but also sounded like a lot of effort I’d rather spend on my family.

At the same time, I still found time to work on Oliphant Kat. I set up my new website. I released a pattern. I finally got the hang of crochet. I found myself sneaking in rows of knitting every time Emilia was asleep, or when she was just happily chilling in her bouncer. And I decided that if there was ever a time to start this business properly, it was now.

So last week I quit my job. Today is my first official day as a self employed fibre artist! I have so many plans to make and ideas to flesh out, and there are a lot of practicalities I still need to work on, but the scariest step is done - I’m in this now.

I’m going to be as transparent as I can about how this whole process is going, in case anyone is interested and wants to know what starting a fibre business really looks like. For the last week and a half I’ve been posting short daily updates on what I’ve been working on for the day, and I’m planning on keeping those up. I’ll also be writing longer posts along the way - the next few will be about the different streams of work I’m considering and what my financial situation is actually like going into all of this. If you’d like to follow along on my journey, the best way to stay updated is to follow me on Instagram or sign up to my newsletter.

I’m so incredibly excited - here’s to bigger and better and craftier things!

Katrina WalserComment